Hello Housekeepers, welcome to the sixth week of the Better Me program -fifty two weeks of inspirational little somethings designed to help you live a life less ordinary... Ready to take on the Better Me Challenge all over again?
It is oh so very easy to get lazy about your reading habits and dedicate all your quiet time to comfort reading cosy mysteries, chick lit or un-challenging domestic fiction, and so I do believe there is only one way to stretch yourself when it comes to expanding your reading repertoire and that is to carve out just ten minutes a day to reading something you would ordinarily avoid even when the subject matter is something that either deeply interests you or could help move faster towards a better you.
And so today might I suggest you choose a book you have been longing to read but haven't had the energy to yet face, and sit down with a stopwatch set on your phone to dedicate just ten minutes to read it? Keep a notebook at your side and use an app like Bookling to track your progress through your book, and day by day you will work your way through to enlightenment without cutting in to your more relaxing reading time...
To my mind there are times in our week that neither lend themselves to day clothes, not indeed to pyjamas and thus call for an in-between times wardrobe of "lounge-wear": clothes that may never see the light of day but are more than suitable for receiving visitors and do not make you feel slouchy or so relaxed, sleep always seem to be on the horizon.
Today spend an hour creating your very own "lounging" wardrobe. Think yoga pants and pretty t-shirts. Lightweight linen dresses and cosy cardigans. Create a section in your closet or clear a drawer or two just for your lounging clothes and get out of the habit of wearing good clothes to do the housework or climbing in to your nightie the minute you walk through the door, so you don't find yourself constantly sartorially compromised, ruin clothes fit for any occasion or shifting in to night time mode at four o'clock in the afternoon...
Today take Leo Babutas' cue and commit to doing a monthly review of every aspect of your life.
Leo suggests taking ten minutes out of your day just once a month to look back at what you have achieved in the previous four weeks and indeed what you hope to achieve in the next four, and he suggests looking at the following areas of your life: work done, projects progressed, personal learning, health and fitness goals, major life events, things learned and hopes and dreams, to which I would add family goals, books read, commitment to personal routines and rituals and good housekeeping.
Just taking the time to note what we have achieved, absorbed, created and learned can only be an incentive to keep up the same momentum, or indeed to give us a short, sharp kick up the backside when we have a month of slacking for whatever reason there may be.
Today pick up your calendar and schedule in a monthly review, and remember that though Leo might suggest taking just ten minutes out of your day, your review can be as extravagant as you wish and could even include a small celebration when it is complete. Any excuse m'dears!
Today try oil-pulling.
While it might seem like just the latest Pinterest fad, it has in fact got its roots in many hundreds of years of Ayurvedic medicine, and though the whole process might seem really, really weird at first, once you have tried oil-pulling, and more than that, experienced it's benefits you will probably become as addicted to it as I am!
For a thorough overview of the oil-pulling process, visit Common Sense Homesteading and then resolve to try it yourself as soon as possible. The benefits are numerous and nothing beats the clean feeling mouth you will enjoy afterwards.
Today implement a new cool-down hour ritual at home. Switch off all mobile devices, computers and even televisions one hour before you go to bed to give your mind, hot with the relentless influx of information we are all constantly absorbing, time to cool down before we ask it to switch off completely before sleep.
Use the time to experience late night silence in your living room. Open the windows and snuggle with your partner. Or sip a cup of chamomile. It at all possible do this outside of your bedroom. If you cannot persuade your family to become involved, nor persuade them of the benefits of a cool down hour then seek a cool-down space of your own somewhere beyond the living room. Perhaps on the back doorstep. At the kitchen table or in the literal cool of the conservatory.
Do it to re-connect with a loved one. Your home. And yourself.
Today start tracking each and every single penny you spend. I know. There is nothing remotely sexy about noting down the 70p you shoved in to the car park machine but I promise you that just one month of getting really particular about tracking your sending will reveal all kinds of dubious patterns you will hopefully train yourself not to repeat thereafter.
The already wonderful budgeting app You Need a Budget changed my life last year and has recently had an update that has made it even better, and the entire process of budgeting the YNAB way depends totally upon knowing EXACTLY where your money is going and thereafter directing your money only to the categories that help not hinder you on the path to a better you.
I really cannot recommend this one enough.
And finally today decide to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not taking that great job twenty years ago and drinking that can of coke today. Forgive yourself for snapping at your husband and not having the energy to do the laundry today. Forgive your taste in trashy TV and leopard-skin everything and forgive yourself for choosing to let the phone ring out when you knew it was your neediest friend.
Forgive it all. Just as recognizing what is important by practicing daily gratitude can change your life, so to can getting in to the practice of writing a weekly forgiveness list. Try it and week by week see what a difference it makes to your ability to like yourself more by recognizing that all those things you beat yourself up daily for, you would forgive on behalf of a friend in an instant...
Have a lovely week Housekeepers.x
(Download to follow)