Working a full time day job as you know, leaves very little time for a personal/family life. And I used to agonize over it. I became obsessed with time, focusing on how much time I had left to enjoy my evening and what I could cram into it. I had so many things I enjoyed doing and so little time to enjoy them all. I found myself speeding through life and it only made me more obsessed with time and angry I didn’t have enough of it.

My nutritionist pointed out the benefit of mindful eating. Mindful eating is about paying attention to all your senses as you eat. Its about slowing down and savouring each bite. Mindfulness is about attention to your thoughts, feelings and actions in the present moment. Its about slowing down and focusing on the moment. After she told me about mindful eating and mindfulness, I started applying it to not only my eating habits but to the different aspects of my life. I sacrificed a few extra minutes of sleep to give myself more time to get ready for work in the morning, lowering my stress levels at the beginning of the day. I focused less on time, only paying attention when I really needed to. I set out a plan for my crafting projects and lowered the number I was allowed to commit myself to every year.

From there I’ve started to focus on one thing at a time in everything I do instead of multitasking. I still have a long way to go but I’ve already seen a huge improvement. I don’t get to do as much as I used to but I’ve traded quantity for quality. I get to savour each moment to its fullest.

Slow Mo

I fell off the wagon with my happiness project when NaNoWriMo happened and my novel writing took off. Seeing a nutritionist the past few months hasn’t helped getting me back into actively completing my happiness project. But that’s okay. These were amazing tasks to take on and when I decided to do it, I knew something would be put off to the side to make room. Now that I’m on my second draft of my novel, and I’ve settled into these changes I think its okay to get back into my happiness project. Only I’m going to take it slow.

The focus of May was supposed to be slowing down. And since I’ve been focusing on slowing down while eating with my nutritionist I figured it made sense to focus the rest of August and all of September on slowing down in general. The journey I’ve taken with my nutritionist has been amazing and I’ve learnt a few things about myself and my life. The most important thing is mindfulness.

I’m the type of person who loves doing a lot of things and I want to experience as much as possible. That usually leads me to sitting in front of the television after work and crocheting or reading or multitasking in some way. Which usually means I don’t end up paying attention to the show I’m watching.

I’m also not a morning person so I tend to roll out of bed at the last possible minute and then get ready for work. This usually means I’m either running out the door or missing the bus and being late for work. Likewise I’m always in a rush to get home, not wanting to waste my precious moments commuting. I’m only tired and cranky as a result of the rushing.

So as I’m learning to slow down with eating, I’m starting to learn to slow down in life in general and concentrate only on those things that matter most. Plus, if I give myself the time I need in the mornings and after work, and with everything I do in life, I won’t be quite as stressed.

So now its time to experience life in slow mo.

April Enthusiasm

March was a rough month. It seemed like winter would stay with us forever. But we’re finally in April. The daytime highs have reached the pluses and the mounds of snow are melting away. The rain we’ve received so far is a nice change.

March was all about lightening up and letting go. My goals were to quit complaining, let go, sing in the morning and laugh more. I complained less, let go of more things that bothered me, sang or hummed some of the mornings and laughed more. And while I didn’t stop complaining completely or laugh and sing every day I still feel that it was a success. And I do feel much lighter.

April is all about spirituality and focusing on meditating, thanking the universe daily, researching spirituality, and manifesting abundance. Its off to a slow start. I started meditating last night. I haven’t found the right meditation video or music yet but that will be part of the research and I’m hopeful I’ll discover it soon.

I’ve also joined Camp NaNoWriMo, an extension of the National Novel Writing Month which takes place in November. Its an online camp that writers can join in  April and July and work on any type of writing they want for the month. You can write a novel or a series of short stories or edit any previous work. You set your final word count goal (anywhere between 10,000 and 1,000,000 words) and then update your word count daily. The site keeps track of your statistics so you can see how you’re doing (average words per day, number of words written that day, how many more words you need to reach your goal etc.). You can read the forums or join a cabin and get support from other writers. I’ve been at it for three days and I’m stoked. I’ve written almost 4,000 words already. I haven’t written this much or this seriously in a long time.

April will be a busy month trying to fit in my writing, my happiness project and our day to day errands and obligations. But I am definitely up for the challenge!

March’s Resolution – Lighten Up

Update on February’s Resolution
Its hard to believe that February is already over. I had a few successes and a few failures. I started an indoor herb garden but the herbs have died. My husband thinks they were in the wrong spot. I only managed to add one recipe to my cookbook. I did have a second recipe from a friend but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, due to lack of ingredients. Even though I haven’t started up-cycling yet, I did watch videos on how to use my sewing machine. I hem pants but that’s about it and I never took the time to learn more about my sewing machine. I have done a lot of research too on up-cycling clothes and will do a little more before diving in to my bag of goodies. I also started working on a design for a crochet purse. I’ll be working on the design through out March.

I crochet/knit at work with some colleagues at lunchtime. We formed a knitting club last year. One of my colleagues and I got chatting at lunch one day while knitting and decided we were going to host a knitting/crocheting workshop to make squares for blankets. Our Social Committee sponsored it and its set for next week. Very excited!

March’s resolution
March is all about lightening up. With spring on its way (officially March 20 in Canada) I thought dedicating this month to lighten up was fitting. I complain a lot. More than I should or want to. I’ve let myself be negative for too long and to hold on to unnecessary stress. So my resolution for March includes: quit complaining, let go, sing in the morning and laugh more.

February’s Resolution – Be Creative

January wasn’t as successful as I had hoped. I did read more and was doing some research but I didn’t write every day and I didn’t quite make it to blogging 2-3 times each week. Still, it got me started in the right direction and I’m reasonably happy. I do have two additional writing projects I’m working on that evolved from January’s resolution. I’m excited about both projects, although one will have more of my focus for the next little while. 

February’s resolution, as you’ve noted from this post’s title, is to be creative. I’m going to start an indoor herb garden, add a new recipe to my cookbook each week, and learn how to upcycle clothes. At Christmas I inherited an indoor glass greenhouse. I cleaned it this morning with glass cleaner and now its ready for some plants. The great thing about this greenhouse is that the cat’s won’t be able to get into it or knock it off the counter. Its much too heavy for them to move so the plants will be safe from my little munchers. Over the next few days I’ll be doing some research on what herb to start with – something easy to grow and maintain, that we’ll use in our cooking, and that’s cat friendly. I might even pick up a cat grass plant for the boys.

Do you have any favourite recipes, tips for growing herbs indoors, or any other creative ideas? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

January Resolutions Update

Its Saturday, mid-morning. I’m sitting at the dining room table with the laptop, listening to the washer in the basement spin, and the cats play fighting. I’ve already been pretty productive this morning. I enjoyed a cup of tea, built the cats a blanket fort to play in, started laundry and finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

My own happiness project has been going well so far. I’ve been working on my January resolutions. I haven’t been writing every day, but I have been writing more often – several times a week – and I expect this will improve to every day by the end of the month. I’ve been reading every day and I’ve been doing more research (natural home remedies for treating acne, hand exercises for crocheters, how to become a professional writer etc…). I’ve also been updating my blog twice a week.

I’m excited about reading again and I’m looking forward to getting back into my other book, Quiet by Susan Cain. I was halfway through when I picked up The Happiness Project. I have a very bad habit of reading multiple books.

Since starting my own happiness project, I have been generally excited about making positive changes in my life. And while I am planning to make this a year long project, I’m also eager to tackle my resolutions a lot sooner. In fact, its been tough not to start on all my resolutions now. But patience is a virtue and I need to learn to pace myself. I have a very bad habit of trying to do as much as I can as soon as I can and it always ends in disaster with me getting hurt and/or ending up in a foul mood.

An example of that is my love of crocheting. As soon as I figured out how to crochet and that I really enjoyed it, I immersed myself in it. I couldn’t get enough of it. The consequence of not pacing myself and not being aware of my body’s limitation was sore hands and aching joints. I’ve always had issues with aching joints but now when I crochet too much they ache more. I often forget to stretch out my fingers and I often don’t feel the ache until a few hours later. Today is one of those days. I crocheted a case for my crochet hooks last night. It was a simple design and all that’s remaining is to sew on a button for the flap. But my fingers are aching because I didn’t stretch my hands before I started, during, or after. I will be doing stretches today. In fact, I should get into the habit of doing them every day. 

There are a number of things that are not included in my resolutions that I know I’ll end up doing (or bad habits that I’ll end up breaking) as a result of my happiness project. This year is going to be a good year with lots of positive change and energy. 


January Resolutions – Write

For January I have decided to concentrate on my writing. So my resolutions for this month are:

Write every day
Blog 2 – 3 times a week
Read more
Do research every week

So I’m going to tackle a few online writing challenges and get a library card to borrow ebooks. I have two books to finish reading first but if I read a little bit every night before bed it shouldn’t take me long to finish them. I’ll do research primarily on writing related topics but also on other interesting things. And blogging about some of the interesting books and topics I come across will help keep my first two resolutions.

How can you build an atmosphere of growth—where you learn, explore, build, teach, help?

Part of the ‘My Happiness Project‘ series. 

Read Part 4:  What makes you feel right?

How can I build an atmosphere of growth – where I learn, explore, build, teach, help?

I love gardening, learning, reading and writing. So in terms of growth I want to increase the amount of time I spend in my garden, reading, and writing in 2014. Personally, I feel that my only atmosphere of growth at the moment is at home. So improving my environment at home and how much time I spend on the things I enjoy doing seems to be the way to go.

Work-wise, I fight between pushing myself to do better every year, and maintaining status quo to reduce stress levels. Its difficult because I like to see growth in myself but at the same time I am burning out from the stress. So this year will be about finding balance between the two.

What makes you feel right? What values do you want your life to reflect?

Part of the ‘My Happiness Project‘ series. 

Read Part 3 : What makes you feel bad?

What makes me feel right?

Career-wise I know what I’m doing now isn’t right for me. I think a carreer in writing is but getting there is a challenge. How to do it professionally is unclear to me at the moment. Location-wise, owning a house, in the same end of the city we are now, feels right. A small or medium-sized house with a nice backyard that has room for a garden. Currently we rent the house we’re in with two other people. I don’t really want to live in an apartment building so this is a good alternative. But the living situation is far from ideal.

Family-wise, I don’t know. My husband wants kids but I’m still not sure. Our current financial and living situations aren’t good for raising a family but maybe in a couple of years things will have changed and we’ll be in a better spot.

What values do I want my life to reflect?
I want my life to reflect balance, wisdom and strength. I want people to think I am confident, happy, grateful, and kind.