At the beginning of the Summer I made a decision. I decided I wanted to spend more time with my kiddo, and really be involved with her this summer. As a somewhat obsessive blogger I had to figure out how that was going to work. I reorganized my work day (and week) and it turned into a mantra for me. #bloglesslivemore However, it didn’t take long for me to start pondering the whole idea of “live more”. Yes, it’s great to not be sitting in front of the computer all day, every day… but I started thinking there was more to it than just that.
My mind started moving into the space of being present, being mindful, and being at peace where I am… to really LIVE more. I started to see how the times I was completely engaged in the moment were the BEST moments… even if they were nothing all that special. I started craving those magical, mindful present moments. I started thinking about all the different ways I could start to live more, right now. Here’s what I came up with. I hope they help you too!
20 Ways to #LiveMore Starting Now
1. Play with your kids – Playing with your children feeds that sense of silliness and “letting go” that we all desire sometimes. Laughing, rolling around in the leaves, climbing the jungle gym or riding the sliding board can make you feel as free as a child with no worries. It’s also ok to find ways to play with your kids that feels good to you. That often means a game of cards, or a bike ride for me… not so much rolling on the ground. 😉
2. Connect with a friend – As a work at home mom, I don’t know what I’d do without my friends. Sometimes when I’m about to lose it a conversation, live or on the internet can bring me back to center and have me feeling good again in no time.
3. Combine activities – When you clean house, don’t look at it as a chore but a chance to let your hair down with no one watching. Pop in your favorite CD or pump up the iPod and listen to some jams that make you want to twist and shout while you are scrubbing and mopping. You’ll be amazed at how soon you finish the housework.
4. Craft as a family – Getting creative together is a great way to feel more alive. It doesn’t matter how the craft comes out… it’s the time spent together, using your imaginations that really counts.
5. Stay in the moment – This concept is much like compartmentalization. When you are at work, concentrate on your tasks. When you come home, spend time talking to the family. While making dinner, stay focused on that task, bringing all the flourish you want to it, even teaching your children to enjoy it as much as you do (if you enjoy cooking). Whatever you are involved in at the moment, practice getting totally involved with that activity to get the most out of the time spent. It also means letting go and giving yourself permission to be silly, and feel good in the moment (and maybe even in public.) 😉
6. Lower your expectations – In the case of motherhood, this isn’t a bad thing. Suspend society’s vision of the perfect mother and define it for yourself and your family. Making mistakes is alright and so is not having it all together every minute of the day. We are human (including mothers). Remember… you are perfect just the way you are.
7. Delegate – This isn’t a new idea but you can get creative with it. Instead of doing everything for your children (as many of us moms are prone to do), let them learn and then take it from there. Remember that saying about a man and a fish: If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. Show your kids how to do certain things and thereby encourage independence in them. They can help around the house all the time and not just when you are dog tired and stressed out. This one can backfire on you if you’re a perfectionist… let it go. Let them do it, even if it’s not quite the way you would do it. They will feel proud and you can feel good!
8. Spend time with friends…and their kids – While the kids play, you can reminisce about old times and brainstorm about new things you want to do in your lives.
9. Talk to your mother – You said you never wanted to turn into her but guess what? You have. And, it’s not a bad thing. Now that both of you are adults, share thoughts and feelings on motherhood that wouldn’t have been understood by you in any other situation. Glean hope from her as well as a few laughs and shattered myths when she confides that she was not always the perfect mother. Now that should feel good.
10. Help someone else – Volunteering is more than just a resume builder. Genuinely doing for others, because you want to, comes with its own reward. For one, you realize just how blessed you truly are in your life. Two, you take nothing for granted. Three, you feel amazing because your skills were useful to your fellow man with no strings attached.
11. Journaling – Use that little book to count your blessings by writing them down. List your dreams, as many as you can name. List your accomplishments and things that make you proud of who you are. Write out why you are a lovable person. Describe what makes you a super mom and wife.
12. Face a terrifying situation – Maybe you have a fear of eating out alone or are too shy to go anywhere alone. Take the big step and face that fear. You might find that you are stronger than you think. When one mountain is brought low, you’ll be ready to conquer them all.
13. Set a physical challenge – If you are a couch potato, challenge yourself to walking or bicycling a couple days a week. For adventurous people, try a more demanding sport like water skiing, rafting, ice skating, roller skating or rollerblading.
14. Set a mental challenge – Learn something new that is not easy but has been on your list of things you would like to try. Take piano lessons; learn to speak French or Spanish. Read a new book. Learn to scrapbook or to make a quilt. New activities create new synaptic pathways in the brain and keep those neurons thriving and surviving.
15. Make time for your spouse – Kids can push your spouse almost as far out of the picture as you. Make it a priority to nourish that relationship. Remember what you love about him and what brought you together in the first place and made you want to start a family. Talk about something other than the kids with each other. Go to bed early to spend intimate quality time together. Hold hands. Kiss in public. Nourish each other to become better parents to your children.
16. Pamper yourself in new ways – Everyone gets a massage or a mani-pedi. Try a mud bath or a full body exfoliating scrub. Get one of those fish pedicures where the little creatures eat the dead skin off your feet. Change your hair color or get a tattoo. A service that is just for you and caters to your wants is considered pampering.
17. Express your faith – Practice your faith. This could be through prayer or meditation or time spent in a Bible study class or in outreach ministry. Faith and spirituality are strong parts of who we are as human beings. They help us to discover a greater purpose for our lives than what we can see presently. It takes our eyes off of ourselves and places it on the needs of others.
18. Go to bed – The average adult of young children is at the age where they need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Depending on your kids, you may not even be getting close. No one can survive on four or five hours of sleep regularly for long. It simply isn’t healthy and doesn’t make you any more dedicated than any other parent. Do yourself a favor. Save your brain cells and rejuvenate your body with a good night’s rest. Get those kids to bed early and follow right on their heels.
19. Avoid comparison – This is a big no-no for moms. Don’t assume that the mother walking down the street with her hair neatly coiffed and that designer coat has got the parenting thing down to a science. She could be the nanny walking someone else’s baby. Your way of parenting is what works for you and your family and exemplifies your values and belief system. Smile politely at unsolicited advice but follow your own star when raising your family.
20. Speak positive affirmations into your family’s life – Want to raise positive, proactive and confident kids? It all begins with your speaking those things into your life. Acknowledge the negative things as a way of pointing out what needs to change, but totally celebrate successes and genuine effort on the part of your spouse and your kids. Never let a day go by without speaking life and well being into them. They will begin to do the same for you. I read an article not long ago saying the best thing you can say to your kid is this: I love watching you ______. I’ve started saying it for everything and it feels SO good… and my kiddo just beams every time.
We only get to go around once… hopefully these ideas will help you kick start your journey to live more and feel good. 🙂