So, it's list time, ladies. :)
Get out a piece of paper, or your fancy cell phone, or open up a fresh Word document. Whatever you fancy. Now, make a list of ten things you know help you be the best woman you can, the things that help you feel good, look good, and act good. :)
Here I go:
1: Get quality sleep. My new goal is to be in bed, lights out, by 10:30 every weeknight and not to use the computer right before bed (which whacks me out).
2: Exercise each morning---even if I can only squeeze in 20 minutes. The best workout---an outdoor walk (because it doesn't feel like work). Additionally, I enjoy weight lifting, using my elliptical, and using the stair-climber at the gym.
3: Get with God. I know my day will be better when I feel that I'm focused on God's will and not mine, when I've prayed for myself, my husband, my kids, and my friends and family members, and when I've been divinely inspired and encouraged.
4: Play time. On the days when I get on the floor and play with my kids, I'm happier and their happier. Outdoor play is usually the most beneficial for all of us---sunshine, exercise, and laughter. But if that's not possible, bring on the Little People, dress up, and art supplies. Acting like a kid is fun and de-stressing.
5: Down time. This means time for myself (reading a magazine or book, browsing my favorite stores online, or watching one of my DVR'd shows) and with my kids (cuddling in bed with books).
6: Husband time. This means shutting off the tv, ignoring phone calls and texts, etc. and just focusing on my spouse. This is usually the area that I am the least persistent in; however, it's one of the most important areas. :)
7: Good food. I aim to always make healthy meals and snacks for my family. A lot of planning goes a long way. I know at the end of the day when I'm tired, hungry (and so are they), nothing helps like a wholesome meal.
8: Craftiness. Whether I'm putting recent photos in an album, creating a super easy birth banner for my girls (cut triangles of fabric and sew them to a strand of adorable ribbon), baking a new dessert, or making a hair bow for my daughters, getting crafty is satisfying and de-stressing.
9: Clean, purge, organize. Ok, I am one of those crazy people who likes to clean, purge, and organize. At least, I like the finished results. I get out my vinegar and go to town. :) I feel less stressed and more happy when my house is tidy. Now that Miss E is nearly three, she can help clean. She vacuums (the same spot over and over....), dusts, and unloads some of the dishes. She sets the table (who doesn't want three spoons with each meal?), too. I keep a box in my closet where I can toss in items to donate after I've organized a closet or drawer.
10: Say no. I was recently presented with two incredible opportunities. One was to co-facilitate an adoption ministry at my church of 1500 people, and the other was to teach two hours a week at a small, private school. Both would have been wonderful experiences, but realistically, between teaching two classes at the university, freelance writing, blogging, keeping up with the house, taking care of the girls (which includes Miss E starting preschool and tap/ballet in the same week!), and being a wife, I knew I couldn't do a great job. So I said no to both. It's ok to turn your cell to vibrate, not respond to e-mails right away, or take a vaca from Facebook (saying no to interruptions and distractions). I stopped DVRing crappy television---saying no to garbage that didn't enhance my life. Say no. Do it. You'll feel empowered.
(Miss E saying "no" to stress and reading her favorite book in bed).
After you've made your list, hang it somewhere visible. Review it often. When you start to feel yourself slipping into unhappiness, negativity, and stress, go back to your list and commit to revisit what you love and what you need. In doing so, you become the woman you want to be. :)