A mid-year pause and reflect
I can't believe that we are halfway through the year already. The hours of the days often go slowly but the days and weeks have been rushing past. I thought it would be good to spend some time going back through those aims that I set for this year way back in January; see which ones had fallen by the wayside, which had been completed and which are a work in progress.
My phrase for this year was "seeking simplicity"; I wanted to slow everything down a bit to really appreciate the important things. I was aiming to get back into shape post pregnancy and build in healthier eating with more seasonal and local recipes, reconnect with nature and declutter the house. Wasn't aiming for much was I?!
So here we are at the start of July and I'm looking at these ideas and feeling like they are familiar yet also a world away. I started the year with the idea of decluttering the house because it still didn't quite look like the home that we wanted it to. Instead of decluttering a couple of drawers I've found the concept of minimalism and the more I read about it the more I like it. Recently I've started reading "Spark Joy" by Marie Kondo and there are some ideas in there that really chime with me. I've taken a completely new and different look at my wardrobe thanks to the Capsule Wardrobe guide by Jessica Rose Williams and am now completely committed to living with a capsule wardrobe. We've started tackling areas of the house to bring order to the whole thing and to only have in it those possessions that are useful or that we love (or both). It's definitely a work in progress; everything needs to be juggled around our baby and other life commitments but the house is starting to feel like it's being shaped into a home.
Getting back into shape post pregnancy has been far harder than I thought it would be and is taking a lot longer too. I've lost a lot of weight but there's still so much to go. Finding the mental energy to stick with a diet over months is also hard work - some weeks are good, some are not so good but I'm learning to go with the flow a bit more. I'm trying to build a healthier relationship with food and not comfort eat. As a result, eating seasonally has taken a bit of a back seat as the focus has been on low calorie but filling food. My current aim is to get the last of the weight off by the time baby boy (BB) turns 1 and then after that I'll put my energy into more seasonal eating.
The last of my aims was to reconnect with nature and this has probably been the easiest one to work on. BB absolutely loves plants and being outside so every day (unless it's pouring with rain) we go out for a walk and try to find a little bit of nature. Even if it's just the trees along the pavement leading to our high street we try to stop and have a good look at them, watching the tiny changes that each season brings. I'm slowly filling the house with plants as well and I'm aiming to have them in as many rooms as possible. They just lift up the room and make it feel like a better space to be in. I'd highly recommend some greenery indoors if you don't have any.
All in all - not too bad progress so far and apart from a week or two where we have found ourselves squeezing so much into our time that we're literally running from one event to another (and wondering why we did it to ourselves), I do feel like I've slowed things down this year.
Now I'm looking to the rest of this year and thinking how I want to feel come December. I feel like there's quite a bit coming up during the rest of the year; we've got summer to embrace and enjoy, BB turns one (how does it go so quickly?!) and then I'll be returning to work. This is the real biggie for me personally and it's going to impact on my family too; BB will be going to nursery for most of the week and my husband is going to have to do the parenting part by himself on those evenings when my work piles up. I really don't want to undo all of the changes I've made this year so I'm thinking about how to retain that simplicity as much as possible as we head into Autumn. I think I'll be really focused on those minimalist ideas I've been learning:
- capsule wardrobe: keeping things simple and only having clothes I love is going to make those busy mornings that bit easier and will help me feeling good in my appearance each day;
- keeping the diary simple and filling it only with things that we want to do; family time is going to be at a premium so I want us to make the most of it. Not by filling it with hundreds of things like we used to but just having one or two things that we love doing and can experience to the full;
- building in rest time; this one is going to be absolutely key for the latter part of the year. When you have minimal free time and loads of things to do that look appealing it's so tempting to try to cram in as many as possible. It's enjoyable but you crash fast and then end up feeling annoyed that you're missing out on something you planned, bad if you have to turn someone down because you're too tired to make it or if you force yourself to keep going you stop enjoying any of it because you're too exhausted. I'm going to be blocking out time in the diary for those busy months to make sure that we have some rest days and to really embrace those rather than seeing them as "nothing happened" days.
- the house; I'm hoping that I'll have got the house in order before I'm back at work and by that I'm thinking about what I've been learning from Marie Kondo. I want everything in the house to be things that spark joy for us and for it all to have its rightful place in the house. That way even if things get messy during the week, tidying will be manageable as it can all go back to it's rightful place and each room will give us joy and a peaceful mind. There are rooms that I want to decorate but so long as they are tidy and organised, paint on the walls can always wait.
Did you set yourself aims at the start of the year and do you do a mid-year pause and reflect on these? I'd love to hear about your process if you do. This is the first year that I've really focused on how I'm spending my time and even thought about reflecting on it halfway through the year so it's a new process for me that I'll be working on in the years to come.