Health, Minimalism, Simple Living, Work/Life Balance, Working Mom

The Bare Necessities

You wanna know the truth?

I went to bed at 8:45 the other night and at 7:30 the night before. In fact, I have only gone to bed past ten o’ clock maybe a handful of times in the last several weeks. The truth is, my body is really feeling the side effects of one of the medications I’ve been given for my autoimmune disease, and the level of exhaustion and nausea from the meds make me feel like I’m in the first trimester of pregnancy all over again.

Not fun.

However, I’m not writing this because I want pity or even to complain about it (not too much anyway). No–I want instead to talk about some realizations keeping me sane:

1. There was a talk given last month in General Conference (a worldwide convention held by my church twice a year) that reassured me that it’s okay that I’m just doing the bare minimum at the moment and counting it good.

The speaker talked about how he’d spoken to another leader in the church about how he handled all the responsibilities he had at the advanced age he was at. The other leader paused and said, “When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most.”

I have let a lot of things slide the past several months.

However, I have also learned to use those times when I actually have energy (and even sometimes when I don’t) extremely well, especially at work. I used to waste quite a bit of time at my job, dithering between tasks, taking my time to grade, re-planning lessons that were probably fine to begin with.

This year, I don’t have the luxury of dithering—if I don’t want to take home a bunch of work with me (which I really, really don’t), then I have to plan out my workdays and try not to waste even a single minute of my workday.

And you know what? Planning out each day and utilizing every minute has actually meant that not only am I keeping up better than I ever did in the past with the workload, but it also has meant that I’ve only had to bring home work one time (and even that one time wasn’t technically my fault since it was due to a disagreement over how we should be grading the tests, necessitating that I re-grade what I’d done earlier).

Because I cannot do what I did before (because of my health and because of our childcare arrangements for Raven), I only do what matters most.

And it’s really working well.

2. We recently got The Jungle Book with our Disney movie reward points, and a line from “The Bare Necessities” song really stuck out at me one of the times I was listening to it. The lyrics go, “When you find out you can live without it/ And go along not thinking about it/ I’ll tell you something true/ The bare necessities of life will come to you.”

There have been a lot of things that seemed like “necessities” before that I’ve gone along not thinking about lately because I simply just lack the time, energy, or motivation to worry about them anymore. And sure, there are some things I haven’t been thinking about lately that I hope to think a lot more about in the future (like whipping up new recipes in the kitchen or organizing our pantry shelves), but I have been forced to learn over the past couple months of being a full-time working mother (and one with a pesky autoimmune disease, at that) that I simply can’t do everything all the time or be everything to everyone.

And that’s got to be okay.

3. Because my time is so limited at home, I try to make the moments count. In order to get in some exercise for the day AND spend time with Raven, I’ve been taking a lot more walks lately. In order to get in some much-needed “me” time AND continue to improve my mind, I’ve been taking 30-60 minutes before sleeping to read in bed. Because I’ve had to consciously cut down my schedule to what matters the very most, there hasn’t been much room for anything else like surfing the Internet, checking social media feeds, and reading endless blogs. And while I sometimes wish I had more time to do those semi-mindless activities, I’ve found that, despite my hectic schedule, I’m actually feeling pretty balanced.

And THAT’S saying something.

Now if I could just find time to blog regularly again…

(pics taken on one of our more recent family walks)

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