Thursday, December 8, 2011

December Sanity Challenge




















It's December 8th. Do you know where your sanity is?

Mine flew out the door a long time ago, and I've only just begun to accept that this is simply the way I operate. I used to think, "When I'm not in school, I'll be more relaxed," or, "Once this cookbook is done, I'll stop stressing out," or how about this one? "Once I'm married and have kids, my life will be simple." Um...right. I see all you moms and dads out there with kids...your life is anything but simple. My parents were right when they said that life only gets more complicated the older you get. But I'm also realizing that I make things complicated. I was talking with The Assistant on the phone last night about my short-term life goals, and I could hear the sigh in his voice as he asked, "Wow. Is there room for me in there?" Mind you, I was baking bread even as we spoke, prompting his query of, "Are you beating something?" Why yes. Yes, I am. I'm beating this gluten-free, yeast-free, gum-free, vegan bread batter into submission.

Why? Because I like taking on too much. I mean, I must enjoy it, right? Because I do it all the time. Even as I'm telling people, "No, no, I need to simplify," I add on another task, job, or plan. I told The Assistant that once the cookbook was done, I would have a life again. And then I laughed and said, "Who am I kidding? I'll just find something else to take over my life." And you know what? I'm not complaining. It feels good to take on a project and tackle it full-force. Kind of like when I used to play rugby, except without the bruises. And my health has taken a little upswing lately, which means I'm no longer working constantly through the dense cloud of brain fog and fatigue.

But here's the caveat. Because I have a tendency to be Ms. Go-Go-Go, I can also be Ms. Stress-Stress-Stress. My new doctor called it at my recent appointment, when she said my stress test showed that despite my outward appearance of calm, I simply don't relax. I could have told her that. Right now, I'm in the final stretch of recipe testing for my cookbook. On Saturday, I fly to the East Coast where I'll be spending 5 days with my co-author, Brittany, baking up a storm for our book's photo shoot. Then off to NYC for a few days to see friends, then home for the holidays. My mind is a whirl and I wake up every morning wondering how I'm ever going to get everything done. By all rights, I should be a basket case. And don't get me wrong, I have my moments and plenty of them. But overall, I'm handling it all pretty well. And I have Cheryl Harris and her December Sanity Challenge to thank for that.

You were wondering where I was going with this, weren't you?

Cheryl, of Gluten Free Goodness, decided she didn't want to spend December being all "Ahhhhh!" so she came up with the idea of a Sanity Challenge. What is it? In Cheryl's words:

"The challenge—post on what you plan to do to make your holidays sane, happy and healthy.  Make it specific!  Not just “I’ll get more sleep," but “I’ll get at least 7 hours of sleep, 5 days a week”.  Not just “I won’t go crazy making desserts," but “I’ll make a maximum of XX desserts, and space them out over XX time”.  You know what you need to do to keep this doable, and writing it down will help you get there!" 

So here's what you do. Write a post on what your goals are for this month and link back to this post (or any of the co-hosts listed below). Leave a comment with your link. Make yourself accountable by putting it in writing! Anyone who joins in on the December Sanity Challenge will be entered into a giveaway for a $50 gift certificate to Nutsonline.com  (they are not sponsoring, Cheryl is just that awesome).

See what the other Sanity Challengers goals are:
Dec 1st Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness
Dec 15th Valerie of City Life Eats
Dec 22nd Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl

My goal? I kept it simple. Of course I wanted to make a whole list of goals. I will exercise for 30 minutes every day, I will meditate every day, I will eat tons of vegetables every day, and so on and so forth. But I decided to pick a goal that I would actually stick with. Something so easy and yet with a big payoff. I asked myself for 5 minutes a day. 5 minutes in which I set my timer, lie down, and breathe. That's all. I can't put music on, can't text or go on Facebook; I just lie there. I don't tell myself I'm meditating because then I'll give up in disgust when my mind jumps all over the place. I just tell myself I deserve 5 minutes a day of doing nothing. The rest of the day I can jump through my own hoops. But for those 5 minutes (and I seriously kept it that short because I knew I wouldn't stick with anything longer), I'm on vacation. Honestly, even giving up those few minutes is hard for me. Sometimes I lie there and think about everything I should be doing. And then I realize that that's exactly why I need to be lying there. Doing nothing.
When the timer goes off, I go about my day. But I like to think that those 5 minutes are making a difference. And I'd like to think that after December, I will continue to give myself a few minutes every day to simply be sane in this insane world.

14 comments:

Cheryl Harris said...

I'm just that awesome? You're sweet.
I can totally relate--I tend to be extremely stressed and yet appear totally calm, and it absolutely takes its toll.
I LOVE your goal. 5 minutes of peace and quiet is such a beautiful gift!

Jonathan said...

Go Iris! And I don't mean "'Energizer Bunny' go." I mean, "Congratulations." You deserve those 5 minutes. And while it seems small on a daily basis, over weeks and months, those minutes will hopefully add up to a healthier, happier, saner, you.

aliw515 said...

Hi Iris-
My goal is to stop making everything into something to worry about! I want to meditate every day for 10 minutes (not just at yoga class) and really ask myself if what I am stressing out about needs to be THAT stressful! Great giveaway- I don't have a blog, but I linked this on my twitter feed @engincoach.

Claudine said...

Hi Iris,

Mine is to still stay fit and healthy. No gaining of weight despite the holiday food temptation. I love challenges! Happy holidays!

Ricki said...

I love this, because it is actually doable! And how did you know how my mind works? Were we sisters in another life, or something--?? ;-)

gfe--gluten free easily said...

You are simply the best ... frazzled, stressed, whatever way, but that is not the best state for you or for us, so I'm very, very glad you came up with this 5-minute plan! We can all do this, right? Five minutes of breathing and relaxation is powerful stuff. Awesome on flying to Brittany's to do the photo shoot for your books though. Love that!

And now I need to take 5 minutes to send you a promised email, but after that I'm taking 5 minutes for me---thanks to you, and to Cheryl!

xoxox,
Shirley

tpot said...

http://nourishingyourself.blogspot.com/

Here's my blog and my post. I posted that I want to stop eating grains (cause my doctor said I have to) except on a rare occasion (once a week) as a special treat. Seemslike it would be too hard? But I've done it before.

Jonathan said...

Here's how I hope to be healthier, happier, and more sane during the holidays. "Sane" is such a relative term.... :)

http://thecanaryfiles.blogspot.com/2011/12/challenge-of-sanity-during-holidays.html

Elise G said...

Hey - Just found your blog through the Home for the Holidays GF posts. 5 minutes a day is great! You sound just like my partner who is always taking on too much.

Once I had twins (kids 2 and 3), I realized (after many years of beating my head into the ground) that I actually need MORE time for myself/quiet time, but have to work harder to carve it out. Nevertheless, I found that those 5 minutes got easier and easier, and now I get up 15 minutes before everyone else just to have that 15 minutes of quiet before all h*** breaks loose.

Here's another quick think I found really helps. At the end of the day when you lie down in bed, instead of thinking about everything that needs to be done tomorrow (been there), find 3 great things that happened today - successes, happy moments, things that made you smile, people you connected with - and let those take over your mind and feelings as you go to sleep. Then say HELLO to restful sleep!

Good luck!

Iris said...

Thanks Elise. I love that idea, and since I'm just about to hop into bed, I think I'll do that tonight!

Diane said...

My favorite holiday dish is strawberry pretzel jello! I can't wait to try these cream cheese cookies. One question--what do you soak the raw cashews in--the vinegar and lemon juice that is used in the recipe??

Jill said...

My favourite holiday dish is shortbread cookies – they signal X-mas. Your grandma’s cream cheese cookies sound delicious!!

Jill said...

I have shared your post on Twitter.

Jill said...

I have also shared this post on Facebook. Yum-Yum!!

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