Monday, August 26, 2019

Making Changes Update


It's been about a year since I posted about MAKING BETTER CHOICES and being more intentional about my health and how I spend my time. I was working myself into exhaustion and I felt horrible. So I decided to focus on a few areas in my life and just be more aware of the choices I was making.

To be clear, I wasn't in a crisis, and I wasn't facing any dire circumstances, I just felt like I should take better care of myself. I had thrown myself into work when my nest became empty (something I still struggle with) and rather than stay so busy I couldn't think about how sad I was in regards to my empty nest, I chose to look at specific ways I could create better habits for caring for myself.

I am happy to report that I have been very successful in some areas! I have made minor progress in others, and I've come to a new awareness overall. These are the areas I chose to focus on...

Daily Routine

Rather than 'working' 24/7 and feeling the constant pressure to produce the next thing before the last one is even out in the world, I took a break this summer. I chose not to make any big decisions and to simply push those thoughts out of  my head. I scaled way back on work and quilting to focus on my family. I only have the kids home for a couple of months in the summer and I wanted to focus on that.

I've also scaled back on blogging and computer work to make more room in my day for things that I enjoy more. The quilting world is very 'one and done' and to remain marketable, it feels as though you must 'reinvent the wheel' every 5 minutes. I'm not interested in doing that. I want to make the quilts I enjoy and share them with the world at my own pace.

I'm thrilled that I will be traveling and teaching for the next two years (and beyond) and I plan to have some fun things to share. Teaching is so rewarding for me and I'm grateful to be able to do so. If you want me to visit your guild, please email me or go here for more information. Please keep in mind that I have decided to limit my travel schedule to 2 air travel trips per month, and 2 driving trips per month. I'm happy to combine groups, but I need to keep the pace that is healthy for me. I'm no good to anyone if I'm exhausted.

Work Routine

The process of writing my last book was brutal. Don't get me wrong! I loved making the quilts and writing the patterns and organizing the information with all of the tips and tricks. The creative process was so invigorating for me. However, the endless edits, and corrections needed once the information came back from the publisher was overwhelming. The hours of logging and cross referencing and corrections to illustrations, etc. left me exhausted. I put my heart into my work and I was left feeling like my heart had been stomped on more than once. I needed a serious re-focus and redirection.

I've done really well at defining my 'work hours' at home. I've spent more time creating new patterns (which I have total control over, unlike a book) and I've found myself feeling really excited about some new options to explore. I am NOT currently writing a book, but I am still creating and sewing and we will just have to wait and see where that leads.

I feel good about my work routine from a creative standpoint, and I have really been enjoying longarm quilting my own quilts and quilts for others. I would be happy to quilt for you! Just go here to see all the information about that. Or email me if you have any questions.

Diet

I've always tried to make healthy choices and mostly 'eat clean', avoiding processed foods and chemicals. I don't drink sodas or eat chips, etc. I have always been addicted to sugar though. I love baked goods and breads to the point of addiction. I still struggle with this.

I have added some additional vitamins and supplements to my daily routine, and I've found some foods (like yogurt) with no added sugar. I can feel the difference when I'm eating well and taking my supplements. But temptation still strikes, and I have not found the cure for it.

Exercise

Last year I started walking and hiking several times a week. Earlier this year, I joined a Club Pilates and go to a variety of classes 3-4 times a week. While I still resent having to spend so much time doing 'exercise' while I would rather be doing something else, I know it's making a difference. I feel stronger and I have more energy. Now to figure out a way not to torture myself by thinking about all the stuff I'm not doing while I'm exercising. I'm taking suggestions if you have any to offer!

General Activity

I get up and walk away from the computer much more frequently. I also don't sit down at the computer as often as I used to. This results in a much better mood, less eye fatigue and overall better feeling. I take more stairs and I am much more motivated by my step count on my apple watch. So I would consider this an ongoing improvement.

Reading

Reading has always been a passion. I could bury myself in a good book and forget the world around me. I have become much better at walking away from the to-do list and curling up with a good book. I have also become better at putting down my phone (scrolling social media) and picking up a book instead. I also keep several books on CD in my car and absolutely love listening to books while I travel. This feels like a reward and rather self indulgent at times, but it feeds my soul and is good for my emotional health. I share my book reviews at the end of the month (you can find them here) and I'm so glad I've been more intentional about making time to read for pleasure.

Social Engagement

Part of re-focusing how I spend my time is to allow for more time with friends. I am blessed with some of the most amazing friends. I find it hard to schedule time with them when I'm constantly working. I am happy to say that I have plans to make more time for my social life. I am at my best when I am connected to the amazing women that I am blessed to have in my life.

It also means that I am walking away from social events that aren't feeding my soul. Sometimes its so easy to fall into the trap of doing what we've always done. Looking at why we do those things and understanding if they are no longer a good fit, it's okay to move on. I'm moving on from a few things and it feels GREAT!

What's Next?

I plan to keep being intentional about my choices.
I plan to add some new physical challenges to my routine.
I will be more careful about scheduling my time and adding more 'fun' things to my calendar.
I'm looking forward to the Seeing Stars Sew Along!
I'm proud of my progress so far, but there's always room for improvement.

What are you going to do for yourself?

Diane

8 comments:

  1. Love this post! I too was working too hard, feeling like I had to get a quilt done every week, but for different reasons. While I love to quilt, it just became too much. I have allowed myself to take a break this summer and do some of the things I love to do and some other things that I had been neglecting. The self inflicted pressure is gone now and I feel so much better. I am working on the diet and exercise part, but I would much rather be doing something else. Congrats on improving your life and feeling better!

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  2. Fantastic Diane!! Keeping care of your self is part of being there for others. The pilates/classes are terrific but if it is feeling like a waste of time how about trying to changing it to something more enjoyable. Or look at it as an investment.

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  3. It’s so true that we need to maintain our own health and well-being in order to enjoy and support our families, friends and interest. I often find myself spread too thin, then have to step back and re-evaluate. Family and my own health first - and as we age, that becomes such a priority. Social media is insidious, so although I love it, I have to limit my time spent there. And, like you, I have a sweet tooth. I am a (lapsed Lifetime) member of Weight Watchers. I attend my weekly meeting/ support session. They’re my “tribe”. Although I’ve only just maintained my 30-pound loss for the last couple years (30 more to go), it keeps me focused on eating healthy and the importance of activity (not necessarily exercise), proper rest, etc.

    I always enjoy these annual posts you do, and applaud your mindfulness, good cheer and determination! Love you!

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  4. wonderful, keep up the great work!!! as for exercising, i also have a love\hate [or should i say hate and late less!] relationship to it! i try to allow myself to think about what i'm accomplishing when i do it and try to lock the door to all the thoughts about what i could be doing with this time......

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  5. I agree about bookings and travel, it is the hardest part for me. You have such great ideas for self care! wish we lived closer, we could walk together. I walk everyday with coco. I never hit on the perfect workout routine. I need to do more, maybe tomorrow

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  6. It's great to be reflective about how we spend our time. You have a great organized way to frame goals in those different areas. I know what you mean about spending time on the computer (social media).... I've also been thinking about setting a time limit. But, so many blogs.... ;).

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  7. You have already accomplished a lot! Good for you!

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