As we move into a new month, it’s time to shift our focus away from “rebirth” and take on a new word, a new intention. Our featured Behaviorist for August is Kathryn, and she’s chosen “simplicity” as our Wellness Wednesday Word of the Month.
Before Kathryn shares her ever-evolving relationship with the word, we want to say thanks to Erin, who posted this #wellnessMB picture on Instagram. She’s been keeping cool this summer with my Water-Limoncello juice recipe.
We love being able to participate with you and cheer you on for each week’s challenge. Keep up the good work! Our newest challenge is at the bottom of this post. Now let’s hear what Kathryn has to say about simplicity!
Two and a half years ago, my husband had a career opportunity that required relocating to a rural part of our state. I’m a fast-paced city girl through and through, but I knew this was a good opportunity for him, so I encouraged him. Secretly, I thought I deserved a big “atta girl” for such sacrificial thinking, especially since I knew that small-town living would almost certainly halt my own career. I was pregnant with our second child at the time, and in my heart of hearts, I wanted to be home with our kids, but I was also easily tempted in the city by so many opportunities, all of which would require me to juggle a career with motherhood.
In the end, we made the move. A friend graciously offered to let us stay in their summer home while we looked for a house. As a result, we spent evenings of the first few months in our mountain locale cozied up by the fireplace with good books, nestled in chairs that faced each other.
Without the distraction of television or Internet, my husband and I were amazed at how we loved our time together. It seemed great for our marriage and for our brains. We truly decompressed. Our conversations became richer and more focused. It seemed good all around. So much so that when we moved into our new home, we started a tradition of disconnecting our Internet and television services each summer.
Since we are huge sports fans, summer seemed the most realistic time to go off the grid. This is our third summer to disconnect and less still seems to be more. We subscribe to two papers, and we have smartphones, which means we’re not totally out of the loop, but we no longer turn the TV on, wasting the evening flipping through random shows or surfing the web.
Small-town living has been good for me for other reasons, too. I’ve been home with our kids, and I love it. Since we have limited options on preschool here, I work with our kids at home. I’ve even turned down work opportunities because I value having so much time with my kids while they’re itty-bitty. I travel by jogging stroller instead of car most of the time, and aside from grocery shopping, we do not shop much (a major past-time when I lived in Phoenix).
Some of you may be thinking, “This woman’s life sounds terrible!” Ironically, I think a younger version of myself would think that, too, but I’ve come to find the richness in simplicity, in slowing down and doing one thing well instead of trying to squeeze another thing in, in embracing absolutes and focusing on my journey instead of getting lost in a sea of relativism and convoluted possibilities, in cherishing the moment and shutting other things out of the picture in order to do that.
This is why I chose “simplicity” as my word to focus on. It seems that the more I embrace simplicity, a new area of my life presents itself, screaming “please adopt the concept here too!” When life moves on, and we find ourselves transitioning yet again to a faster paced environment, I hope that I resist the temptation to fall into my old patterns and instead take with me my appreciation and steadfastness for simplicity. After all, when I look back on this chapter in life, I realize that, in light of what I’ve gained, I didn’t make any sacrifice. I understand the value of simplicity.
Who’s feeling inspired and ready to simplify? I sure am! That’s why for this week’s #wellnessMB challenge, we want you to take something away rather than adding anything to your already-busy schedule. For instance, being a new mom has automatically cut my day in half. I spend 12 hours out of 24 hours feeding Darlington, then (fingers crossed), I sleep for 4 to 6 hours, leaving me with 6-8 hours to eat, work, shower, work out, be a wife, be a mom, be a daughter, and be a person. So, this puts things into perspective. I’ve had to eliminate unhealthy relationships and unhealthy habits…like over-checking my social media. For this week’s challenge, I’ll limit my SM increments to 10 minutes or less.
You can adapt this challenge to your life. Do you spend a lot of time watching TV? Maybe limit yourself to two episodes, rather than binge-watching six in a row. Do you get sucked into Facebook for hours? Try going one day this week without. Share your version of the challenge in our comments and then post on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook using #wellnessMB when you meet the goal. (Because of course you will, you awesome person, you!)