The past few years for my family have been incredibly difficult, just as they have been for many other families. Between COVID, job changes, losing family and friends, and other life changes, there has been a lot to process and cope with.
For me, especially, the fact that life can be gone in an instant has really changed the way I view things.
Back in 2020, I became fixated on death. I was constantly paranoid that something was going to happen to me or my family. I panicked any time someone traveled or was sick. I constantly assumed the worst was going to happen. I would picture terrible things happening to my children and experience a full blown panic attack. This fear and obsession became such an issue for me, and my role as a mom and wife, that I sought out counseling. I remember my counselor at the time telling me, “How about instead of thinking of the worst case scenario, you try thinking of the good things taking place. Like, instead of thinking about your family wrecking on the way to the store, think of all of the fun memories you’re making while on a trip together.”
I slowly worked on reframing my mindset to focus on the good things instead of the possible calamities. Did I still have sudden negative thoughts? Yes, but I found myself better equipped now to shift my focus. 2022 brought more loss to our family and I began finding myself slipping into my old ways. Not only was I becoming paranoid and worried again, but I was filling my time with social media, movies, tv shows, and other entertainment. These things aren’t inherently negative, but I was beginning to notice that I had a shorter fuse with my husband and kids. I would retreat and distract myself with entertainment instead of facing issues head on and working to resolve them.
In 2022 we also started a homestead. As we researched, we fell in love with the slow living, homemade, homegrown way of life. It is everything we want from our family, and for most of the year, I thought that I was doing a pretty good job at embracing that lifestyle; however, towards the end of the year, after losing two family members, I began to think about my time. My attitude. My focus. My goals. And I began to wonder: are the things I’m doing and spending my time on reflecting what I value as important? Am I using what time I have with my friends and family wisely?
So now, with the new year in full swing, I’m beginning to evaluate my priorities. What changes can and should I make in order to be a better mom, wife, and friend? The idea of slow living doesn’t mean laziness or not doing anything. Instead, it means choosing wisely what we fill our days with. Will we fill them with screens, busyness, and endless tasks, never saying no? Or will we learn to say no to things that provide temporary pleasure?
This year, I have five small goals to help fill my days with intention.
These aren’t groundbreaking. They aren’t a fix-all. They aren’t anything extreme…but they’re small, obtainable goals to help me spend my time well. I choose one day a week to not work on anything that isn’t essential to the functioning of my home and family. I plan a craft/activity for each day on Sundays to do with my kids, not just to keep them busy while I work. I read for at least 30 minutes each night before bed. We eat every meal (when at home) at the table together as a family. We set designated times throughout the day that screens are allowed (both for me and my kids) and put them away outside of that window.