All the must-dos in life got packed into August. With so much being canceled in prior months, it seemed like August was full of catching up on appointments. We also started our homeschool so it became more difficult to start my day with reading and exercise. In a matter of weeks, my clear perspective became clouded with distractions.
I quickly realized that I was losing ground when it came to staying positive and my physical health. I am always surprised how easy it is to prioritize other things over healthy habits. It takes me a few weeks to see the impact of neglecting self-care to decide it is time to change and implement healthy habits once again.
I am a firm believer that if I am not working on improving myself, then the natural tendency of life is entropy. Entropy is the gradual decline into disorder. In areas of relationships, physical health, and mental growth the effort I put in impacts my level of satisfaction in life.
This post is a reminder to me why healthy habits are essential to mental, physical, and relational health. It is worth the time to daily push myself to be a better person and not just coast through life.
1. Get outside
A few weeks ago, we had our family vacation out west. It was relaxing to drive away from the big city and see many of the pressures of the day fade into the background. We drove 1500 miles to get to Glacier National Park which gave me plenty of time to reflect on what is working well and what needs to be improved in my daily life.
Standing in the midst of mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls, it becomes clear that there are a lot of things in the American life that are out of my control and plenty more that do not need my energy. I felt very small, in a great way, among the grandeur of creation.
Getting outside helps me think clearer and allows me to evaluate what I want to invest my energy into most in life. There are a multitude of distractions but at the end of the day, I want those that God has entrusted to me to see Him glorified. It is the simple moments that happen around the dinner table, at the school table, or in the car that builds into my girls’ worldview.
I want to continue to seek places where I can see how large the world to be present with those in my sphere of influence. Hikes, bike rides, and enjoying nature is a way for me to have a clear perspective on my life values.
2. Unplug from social Media
Since I started out on this blogging journey, I have become much more active on social media. Using social media to show more of what goes on in my daily life does not come naturally to me. I am a private person, an introvert, and tend to keep just a few close friends.
It is encouraging to see how others spend time with their family, decorate, prepare food, and live life. I enjoy connecting with people over Instagram and expanding my circle of acquaintances in the Chicago area.
Posting daily to Instagram and blogging weekly has also taken more energy than I expected. Trying to be authentic but not overly transparent to the general public is exhausting to an introvert.
I enjoy the creative part of writing a post, researching ideas, and the time I spend with my mom + girls designing the perfect photoshoot. Simply Cultivate on Instagram has been a fun, creative outlet.
With social media being at my fingertips all day long, I had to put up boundaries so that I am present with my family and not sucked into just scrolling. Taking a ten-day break from all social media was refreshing and allowed me to rethink how I consume social media. Some of my takeaways are:
- Use time limits to control screen time
- In the morning, exercise and read before using technology
- Do not carry my phone around, just keep it plugged in away from my work area
- Do not feel obligated to check in every day
The world can get really small and feel like an echo chamber online so I want to make sure that my use of social media is intentional, not just a boredom buster. Minding what I consume helps me gain a clear perspective and be present.
3. Physical Health
Our family enjoys staying active together. Hiking, biking, kayaking, and swimming are fun ways for us to spend quality time together. Mike and I like to choose vacation destinations where we can get outside an explore nature.
I wish that I could put my physical health on autopilot but I am continually adjusting my activity level, food intake, and sleep schedule to optimize my health. In the summer, it was easier to have a consistent workout schedule since my time didn’t have as many demands.
I am a morning person so waking up and having time to exercise is vital for managing stress and staying positive. When I am in a funk, it usually means I have not been working out regularly or eating well. It is surprising what a long walk or a quick workout class will do to gain a clear perspective on life.
Setting aside at least three mornings a week for a workout is essential to keeping a positive outlook and a clear perspective on life. At times I drag my feet to get started, but after I exercise, I am ready to get things done.
After reading Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World by Emily P. Freeman, I was challenged to rethink what I put my time and energy into. It is the small things in life that make the biggest impact. I needed to gain a clear perspective and get out of the constant cycle of reading bad news, scrolling social media, and giving power to negativity.
Thankfully, time away from city life with my family was just what my heart needed to recharge. I feel refreshed + ready to teach my daughters, bring more creativity into our life, and make our home cozy going into this fall.
What do you do to gain a clear perspective on what matters most in life?
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