This year has been one of asking myself “Why am I doing?” I know it’s an incomplete sentence, but it’s one that stuck with me from my Mission Prep class at BYU. Yeah, I took Mission Prep. All my buddies were going on missions and a small part of me thought I might in 3 years when I was old enough. Instead I celebrated my 21st birthday eating Reese’s and watching The Office with my boyfriend who I’d marry 8 months later so that was obviously a better choice for me.
My mission prep teacher said it was a question to ask yourself day in and day out. “Why am I doing?” Why am I doing whatever I’m doing? Why am I struggling through 3 hours of church with my uncooperative toddler? Why am I reading this book I don’t like? Why am I attending this social event? In an effort to stay HOME more, I ask myself the question a lot more. Why am I doing this thing instead of staying home? Why am I doing this instead of spending time with my family? Why am I doing this instead of finally finishing my laundry? Why am I finally finishing my laundry?
I was a little surprised to find early in the year that simply staying home more wasn’t necessarily decreasing my stress. But??? I was doing fewer things???? It’s just been recently that I’ve realized that quantifying the stress with numbers of items actually isn’t accurate. It’s not how many things I’m doing. It’s how many of those things I ~want to be doing.
A few weeks ago I had a really good week, and I looked back at it to try and figure out why. It wasn’t that I was home a lot, or had a lot of relaxing couch days. It wasn’t that I was partying with friends constantly or on vacation. It was that I was doing what came easy. After a rough week before it, I had found myself without a lot of steam or extra effort to expend on a growing to-do list of crap. But I still had a lot of things to do. I just simply did the things I ~wanted to do.
It’s a lesson I learned with my blog over the last few months – I can force myself to write posts that my heart isn’t in, or I can wait and write when I feel fired up. Suddenly those posts are flowing out of me, and I’m writing 2-3 in the time it would have taken to write one. I wrote what, and when, it came easy.
After my first HIGH class!
For YEARS I forced myself to get on a treadmill or elliptical at the gym. I told myself I liked it because I could study or read a great book. I told myself it was the way you did cardio and I needed to do it. I beat myself up when I stepped off after only 10 minutes or found an excuse not to go to the gym. Now, I do Zumba and I’m trying to get into HIGH fitness, and you know what? There’s no forcing there. If I feel tired or sick or something comes up, I feel a little sad about cancelling but not mad at myself. Because I *LIKE* it. It comes easy. I don’t have to force myself or talk myself into it. It’s fun or it involves friends, so it’s been coming easy to me to get up, get dressed, pack up the girls, and really give it good effort.
Unfortunately it’s why my book count has dropped, too. I found myself dreading reading certain books. I’d settle in to nurse or find myself awake before bed, and know that I ~should be pulling up that ebook on my phone but just. not. wanting. to. So I didn’t. I’m not saying you should just drop every book that hits a lull, because pushing through can be so so rewarding sometimes. But if I can’t reach some kind of flow with a book I’m into, I’m trying to give myself a little grace to not finish it.
Last week, some plans were cancelled, leaving me with a full free day. Suddenly, I felt so ready to just tackle huge piles of laundry, scrub my bathroom, and re-organize my office. They had been on my list for a week (or longer, yikes) and then that day I was just ready. I mean, don’t let your house get disgusting, obviously, but if there’s a day where it’s just NOT HAPPENING? That’s ok.
My planning class has been the biggest and best indicator of this. I would be so swamped with a mountain of freelance work, a list of errands, a sink full of dishes, and a toddler that desperately needed to get out of the house. I’d feel so overwhelmed, but then I’d see something or get a question from someone about planning stuff and suddenly I’d have this fire. I’d get a few things situated (Reese down for “quiet time” aka read books at full volume in her room time), and then I’d put my head down and just fly through planning class ideas and details and work. It came easy.
So what comes easy to you? If right now, suddenly, you found yourself with, say, 4 uninterrupted hours and no plans – what would you do? What do you lose yourself doing? I’ve been (slowly) reading this book called SuperBetter. It’s about game theory and she talks about the important state of ~flow. When we reach a state of flow we feel happy, productive, and amazing. That moment when you’re totally in sync, slamming whatever you’re doing, tackling obstacles in step? When do you feel that – or when do you want to feel that?
It’s just as important to realize what DOESN’T come easy. Do you find yourself absolutely battling to go to play group? Do you have to force yourself to clean your kitchen? What do you dread doing? This doesn’t mean you should just drop it like it’s hot. But it does mean you should take a look at it. Could you trade that responsibility with your spouse? Modify that task to be easier for you? Swap it with a more acceptable alternative? If it’s your job or side hustle – maybe it’s time to start looking for something else. It’s ok to say “This just doesn’t work for me/us/our family.” It’s ok to shoot for a better state of flow.
Do you LOVE to craft? Is your dream morning one where you can take a nice luxurious hour to do your makeup? Do you hate going to the gym but love hiking? Do you lose yourself for hours poring over recipes on blogs and in cookbooks? What is it for you? What comes easy?
For me – it’s planning, dance-style cardio, shopping, playdates with friends at new locations, posting as many instagrams as I want, and random marathon cleaning sessions when I feel like it, not when I have it scheduled. For me it’s allowing myself to say “not right now” or “not today” or “not ever,” no matter how much sense that thing may make.
For me it’s removing the items with too much resistance. It’s minimizing the resistance on the things I HAVE to do (like dishes). It’s making plenty of time for the things that come easy, the things that flow. Because Flow Danica is a better Danica. Flow Danica gets done probably 30% more than non-Flow Danica. Flow Danica is a happier mom, a more attentive wife, a more motivated person.
Find your flow.
This is starting to sound like a tampon commercial sorry bye