For this first update Cait's family have been settling back into the school routine and dispensing advice and care packages all over the neighbourhood. She has a focus on overall wellness this year and by all accounts is making progress in both the areas of awareness as well as physical results.Well knock me down with a feather. A focus on overall wellness this year. It is a perfect way to describe how I've approached this year, and yet until I read it, I didn't see that was what I was doing.
Yes, mind like a steel trap, me.
I stopped working March 2009, but then we had a very hard-scrabble year with hubs out of work (which happened a week after I left my work). The intense focus on money and keeping the house meant that we became afraid to look forward into the future - mostly because all we could see was a future with financial ruin in it - and when you are not looking forward, and are under high stress, things get wonkier and wonkier.
But, the crisis passed, hubs got a job, the outstanding bills got paid, Centrelink crossed us off their list, and things found an even keel. Finally I could start to focus on the things inside the house (rather than keeping it) the garden, my writing and how I was going to go forward into this next paid-work free stage of my life.
I could see so many areas my family was lacking;
- diet could be better
- fitness levels were not what they should be, and hubs and I were overweight
- dog had got fat
- house cluttered and always messy
- no organisation, things often lost or forgotten
- everyone overwhelmed, grouchy and tired
- finances better, but still had a really haphazard element to them
- home maintenance jobs being put off and put off
- cars needed better care taken of them
- television always seemed to be on
And so I decided it was time to change things. Some little, like getting a jar to keep the hair ties in so I wasn't forever rushing around trying to find them. Some medium, like keeping on top of the clean laundry avalanche, so I'm not fossicking through piles of clothing in the vain hope there might be a clean bra in there somewhere. And some big, like the War on Clutter.
Each change that I incorporated into our routine made life a bit easier, I have (very gradually) become less stressed - and hell, I'm not saying I don't get the urge to grab a baseball bat and smack the crap out of the idiot who just cut me up on the motorway - but the better organisation, led to less stress overall, and more time. More time led to having time to plan meals, look closely at our finances, cook more meals from scratch and make basics like stock and bread (cheaper and less chemical crap in them), spend more of our lives outside in the garden - with the added benefit of exercise - a lifestyle has evolved from these changes that is so much happier and calmer for all of us.
We still have a long, long way to go. It all falls apart frequently. We still eat way too much take-away, I can never find the kids school socks, just this evening I spent a good ten minutes trying to find Miss 4s school top (we've ascertained it must be at school somewhere) and another good ten minutes looking for Miss 6s jazz outfit, which, it was claimed was NOT in her sport bag, but in fact WAS in her sport bag. Sigh. It's a good thing I have wine.
But Belinda was right. There has been a real focus on wellness in my life this year, and its paid off. Really paid off.
The latest change around here has been television. As any regular reader knows, Miss 4 can be a challenging child, and lately I've begun to notice a correlation between her screaming tantrums and the tv. They got much worse when she'd been watching fast paced loud cartoons like Oggy and the Cockroaches. At the same time I was watching Masterchef at night, and was finding all the endless advertising completely overwhelming - it was just so in your face and noisy. So we've switched off. No TV at all at our house, except maybe an episode of Charlie and Lola after dinner as we put on pjs in front of the fire. The quiet is wonderful and I'm writing more than I have for ages. In the afternoon the kids and I do stuff inside including homework, then head outside for a go on the swings and playing in the garden and this often lasts for an hour or so, and then we go and cook dinner - Miss 6 made an omelette all by herself tonight - under very strict supervision of course - but she did most of the work. She'll be on Kids Masterchef next.