During the last month or so my daily routine has been a bit all over the place. There’s a few reasons for it like the sun waking Tigger earlier than it used to (and some days it has the same effect on me), T being back with the childminder and overall just generally having a few more things going on ‘at work’. We’ve also had a couple of short-stay trips away from home staying with parents/in-laws, and there’s nothing like being away from home, and your normal routines and stuff, to highlight which bits are important to you.
I know everyone’s different (and that’s what makes us wonderful creatures!) but as a stay-at-home/work-from-home/crafty sole-trader mum, here are my top things that I’ve realised I need to get me through the day. As you’ll see most of them are things that I can, of course, do without but if I have have/do these things in a day chances are by the end of it I’ll have had a good day. Heck, half of these things and I’ll think it’s been pretty great!
A Big Mug – Naturally a morning brew in a normal sized mug is still greeted with a smile and appreciation. But I have to confess I love how long a big mug of something lasts. It’s not because of the extra hydration, although that’s great too. And I do wonder if it’s because for as long as you’ve got something in there to drink you can stay in that moment for just a a bit longer. But, if I’m being honest, I think it’s because big mugs remind me of the massive ones you get in coffee shops, the ones that feel like a treat, and I love recreating that feeling. And part of that is imagining that I’m one of those cool and uber-stylish city-types that gets a ma-hoosive drink on their way to work from one of those places, especially as most of the time I’m very definitely not looking like that!
A Big Glass for water – my current favourite is a large pink plastic tumbler which I got really cheaply in Manchester yonks ago. I’ve always drunk alot of water, and most of the time I’m pretty good at reaching my 2 litres per day, often more. But on those days where I don’t drink much water I really do feel it on my energy levels, and hunger too. There’s obviously health benefits attached to it which is great, but when I was desk-bound I used to use getting up for water as a great excuse for a couple of minutes away from my desk and these days it still helps to keep me moving.
Green Smoothie – I’m aware that so far all I’m mentioning is drinks! But a day that starts with a green smoothie is a day when I’m likely to hit my fruit/veg count and that usually means I’m quite health-smug. Just like the water a good smoothie has a fantastic effect on my energy levels too, and I’ve been known to have 2 a day to fill me up. An afternoon smoothie with a cheeky coffee shot is also a great kick late afternoon when I’ve got a evening gym class or dinner’s going to be later than normal. I won’t go on much more about them because I already have – right here!
Notebook and pen – I’ve been sort-of bullet journalling since January and it really has made a massive difference to keeping my head, and the family/business/house, in some sort of order. I’ve always loved notebooks and stationery and had a notebook and pen near me somewhere for to-do-lists, shopping lists, packing lists, and any other sort of list you need. But the Bullet journal principles have really helped me separate things out and prioritise so I don’t get too overwhelmed by things. I strayed a bit from it end of April/May time and by the end of last month really did feel more than normally scatty. Having an evening to do some layouts for the month ahead in my notebook really has helped me focus on what’s coming up this month and what needs doing and was also a really relaxing way to unwind. And days where I can start with a drink in one hand, smoothie on the table, and my planner infront of me to mentally kickstart the day are perfect ones.
Music – Silence can be golden, but sometimes music with a good beat is just what you need to get you going, or even drown out the outside. I’m also a firm believer that life should have a soundtrack, however, I’m not always the best at deciding what that should be! So I do end up listening to the radio alot and 99.9% of the time it’s tuned into BBC 6Music, I’m a huge fan. Pretty much all their programmes are favourites and I love the laid-back mustic-driven ethos to the station. From rock or Motown classics, to introducing me to a wide range of new bands, their playlists are brilliantly varied. I should give a shout-out to podcasts too. I’m very new to podcasts, they never really grabbed me before, but I’ve really been enjoying the Blogtacular series (series 1 available online now and series 2 is coming later in the year) and Profit. Power. Pursuit. with Tara Gentile which are both inspiring, motivating and really informative too.
Camera Phone and photos – I don’t think there are many modern-parents who could do without it to take the wonderful sorts of photos that only parents love. I love looking back at them as they always make me smile, especially when T is being a little tantrumy. But I also find the photos really useful for thing like pics of lists I’ve made, or label details I need to take to a shop with me or even pics of works in progress. Somehow having that camera between me and a piece I’m working on removes me that one step and I can see it with a more critical eye.
News app– I’m taking it as a given that if I’ve got my phone on me I’ve had my Stalkbook/Instagram/Pinterest fix. And as much as I love flicking through seeing what people have been up to and what beautiful sites and things they’ve seen, it’s actually the news app that gives me the best dose of reality and perspective. It’s very easy to get swallowed up into the ideas around those picture-perfect moments that are shared, but the news doesn’t have that sort of filter. Yes, it can piss me right off if I read too much of certain articles (especially when it relates to sound-bite driven intellectually unsubstantiated political nonsense), but even that can help me get a grip when it feels like the world is ending because I’m running low on cheddar. Not that that isn’t a serious situation.
Fresh Air – I’m no big exercise fan, but my experience is that those experts seem to be sort-of right with the whole endorphin-release-mood-helper thing. That no scientific study has compared it (to my knowledge) with sitting at a sewing machine is a gap in science in my opinion, but a bit of fresh air really can be what a day needs to get some space in the day.
Afternoon break and a snack – Sometimes its a green smoothie (if I’ve not had one for brekkie, and sometimes even if I have!), and sometimes its a bit more substantial if I’m going to get a late dinner. But taking a break about 4pm ish, usually just as T is waking up from her nap, where I can have a drink, a munch, and take stock of how the day has gone so far is a must. Without it the afternoon and evening can get away from me. But really, and this took a bit of soul-searching, it’s because it’s nice to have an afternoon break with T, and one of the joys of being based at home is that if I’ve planned right there’s usually something nice to have.
That so many of these revolve around food/drink and my mobile phone is something I’ve only just realised. I suppose it could be seen as a statement about modern society but that is probably much deeper a thought that this post deserves! It’s also struck me that having so many little bits may be a plea to grapple some control over my day but, again, I think that might be reading too much into it! (Not that it’ll stop me thinking about it for the rest of the day!).
I’m sure I can’t be the only one who has lots of little things that help get me through the day – Am I? When you’re away what ‘normal’ thing do you miss the most?