What's Keeping Me Sane Right Now (Winter Favorites)

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OK, here I go, kicking off the "new" blog like nothing at all happened (see the previous post if you're not quite sure what's going on).

I thought it might be fun to look around my life right now and find the good stuff. You know, the stuff that is life-saving between the every day rat race of work and homework assignments, trips to the grocery store, being on hold with the insurance company, scrolling through Instagram... Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, blink!, Monday... Wait! I want to enjoy my days! So here's a little list of the extras, the goodies that are saving my life right now. I'd love to know what's keeping you sane right now, too. 

Audio Books
I recently had to relearn what it means to be a reader. That sounds so incredible and hard to believe, but it's true. As much as I love books (not just the stories, but also the smell and the feel and having them around), I had sort of forgotten how to find time for books. That's another blog post in itself, but one of the big things to being a born-again reader was discovering audio books (and acknowledging that audio books are real books). I always thought I didn't like being read to. As it turns out, maybe one can't decide they don't like being read to because that one time it didn't work (or that you don't like zucchini because  you don't like it how your mom always made it). One day I gave Audible a try (there are free coupons floating all over the place online if you want to try them, too). My first book was Yes! Please! by Amy Poehler and it was fantastic and so much better than reading it on my own (there were, like, six different readers on the production including Amy's parents!). Listening to that book was a game-changer. Now, I will swear to you that audio books are the only way my house gets clean, that the dishes get done, that laundry gets folded. I actually look forward to time in the car. Now in addition to Audible I also use my local libraries (via the OverDrive app) to listen to books. Most recently I enjoyed Station Eleven and Fates and Furies on audio (the subhead for this blog comes from Station Eleven, in fact). Currently I'm deep in the Appalachian Trail with Stephen King. It's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, read by Anne Heche, which just makes the experience of the story that much more fun.

Bullet List Journaling
Now that I'm the ripe old age of 39, there are a few things I now for certain about myself. One is that in order to be as productive as possible during my work day, I need a really explicit to-do list. Not, like "invite contributors for 'LOVE'" but "invite so-n-so via email." Having a beautiful, bossy, explicit list that I actually enjoy looking at is key. If you're gonna tell me what to do on no uncertain terms, the least you can be is pretty, right? I have been creating weekly bullet lists in a turquoise Moleskin journal which I decorate with Japanese washi tape and colorful pens. It is surprisingly enjoyable to use, and a nice stress relieving to create the new page each week. (Release that inner 9-year-old and create something pretty!)

More Boredom
Of course we all know the hours in the day are finite. We only get 24. There is no way to get more and yet somehow we have more work than day, and require more sleep in that day than work/family allow. And somehow despite having so few hours for work, exercise, sleep, etc. we find time for scrolling through Facebook and the like. So I found away to slow time down and use it in a more healthy way *for me*: less phone. Yep, less phone, plain and simple. I heard a statistic once that collectively, we the people of the modern world, have not been bored since 2008. What happened in 2008? Smart phones. Ever since smart phones hit the scene we have ceased to be bored. I may never be bored but I'm certainly exhausted. Not being bored may sound like a good thing, but experts say we need a little space to be bored in order to let the creative juices flow, to provide the same our brains need to mull over problems and ideas. So, with some encouragement from the Bored and Brilliant Project, I have put myself on a phone diet, which means I have found more time in my day. Right now I'm trying to fill that extra time with weekending the old fashioned way: sleeping and reading, creating and cooking, movies and games, hikes and outdoor adventures, and just hanging out with my two favorite people on this blue marble (Joe and Nia, in case that wasn't obvious). I'm also giving myself strict rules about touching my phone during the week, too. I find myself much more sane when I try to do things, like cooking dinner, without trying to multi-task cooking, texting, Googling, Instagramming, etc. (Hint, getting sucked into a good audio book helps with this re-training.)

Outdoor Yoga
I recently discovered the redwood forest is the best yoga studio around. Think beautiful views, birdsong and creek sounds, and fresh air. Simple. Perfect. (Santa Cruz Nature Yoga can hook you up, local friends.)

So... what's keeping you sane right now?