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.