Why I am giving up being "good."

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Hi, my friend! I love cozy days and it is especially cozy today because I'm currently drinking a cup of tea and enjoying the light rainfall outside my office window. I adore fall and its beautiful way of easing us into the quiet of winter. I've been reading Lara Casey's book "Cultivate What Matters" and I just read the section about seasons and how they represent the seasons of our lives.

Autumn is a reminder that there is beauty in letting go. This year I'm letting go of old hurts that I've been clinging to because they feel familiar. Growth is hard, and often painful, but so worth the work. Letting go of these old hurts is hard at first but I'm finding so much freedom and release in the letting go.

I'm also letting go of being "good." There is a quote by John Steinbeck: "Now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." It was made even better by adding this (I'm unsure of the author): "And now that you don't have to be good, you can be free."

This quote has been resonating very deeply within me. I have spent a lot of my life trying to be "good." This manifests in many ways: a good wife, a good teacher, a good person. But what is "good," and how is it measured? Instead of working to be good, I am now working to be free. Free of expectations put on by others. Living my best life by understanding my true desires and intentions to spread love and goodness (different than being "good") through whatever means I have at my fingertips. And today that means is this email. I hope this quote gives you some freedom in your life as well.

Which leads me to my final piece of love and encouragement for you today! Last year about this time I started a letter writing challenge called "Steeped In Gratitude." As a group we sent handwritten notes to our loved ones (and maybe ourselves) to practice gratitude. This year we're doing something a little different. I'm launching another challenge called "Steeped In Encouragement." It's very similar to last years challenge but we'll be working on sending encouragement to our fellow human beings!

I would love for you to be a part of this challenge. We begin on November 1st and I'll send a new prompt each Wednesday from the 1st until the 24th, the day before Thanksgiving. It's an opportunity to refocus as we enter a time of busy-ness and mental clutter. I believe intentionally supporting others through our handwritten notes helps keep us grounded and remind us to be kind to others and ourselves in all of the craziness of this particular season.

Go here: www.steepedinencouragement.com to sign up. The challenge is free and I'll be doing it alongside you!

I hope you join us! And I hope your day is cozy and your tea is hot!

With love & tea,

Sara

P.S. "Now that you don't have to be good, you can be free."

Breaking Up With Busy Week 4 - Self Care

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Welcome to the final week of "Breaking Up With Busy." One of the best ways to distance ourselves from busy is to create space for self-care. This is a super "buzzy" word right now, but it's so much bigger than the buzz.

My belief is that self-care is the active choice of prioritizing yourself, your needs, and your desires on a daily basis. This may sound simple but it is often something that either gets done, or doesn't, based on how much time we have.

So I've broken down self-care into 3 easy modes that are as easy to remember as they are to implement, and are based on my self-care mantra:

Be still. Breath deeply. Drink tea.

My 3 modes of self-care:

The first mode is: Be still. This mode is about awareness. It's the moment you realize your heart is racing, your hands are clenched, or you are getting frustrated with simple tasks.

This is the moment where being still and recognizing you are in need of a break is your best choice. Sometimes it is just as simple as pausing to get yourself back to balance.

The second mode is: Breathe deeply. This mode is about shifting your mindset. It is about recognizing when your belief is that you don't have time for yourself that is the moment that you need to choose yourself most. The moment you need to step away from your to do list and go for a walk or take a few deep breaths.

The third mode is: Drink tea. This mode is about permission to choose. To choose joy, choose rest, choose space. 

This is the moment you choose to play with your kiddo, instead of vacuum the house. The moment you cuddle with the cats & take a nap, instead of crossing "one more thing" off of your to-do list. The moment you recognize the joy you feel in choosing yourself over busy. It's a big moment. And it pairs perfectly with a cup of tea *wink*

Breaking Up With Busy Week 3 - Saying no!

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Today on "Breaking Up With Busy" we're talking about how sometimes "No" is the best answer you can give.

And last week that's what we talked about: boundaries. But sometimes those boundaries are hard to make happen when you struggle to say no.

No is a word we aren't often comfortable with. It's heavy, and final. So here is my tip on saying no with ease.

How to say no with ease:

Sometimes saying no begins by not saying yes. It may sound like the same thing, but it isn't.

It's about giving yourself the space to assess whether or not this project or activity is: a priority, something you have the time for, and something you would like to be involved in. 

We are often pressured in the moment to give hard yes or no answers, but it's important to be thoughtful about what you're adding to your schedule, no matter how "minor" it may seem. 

Here's an example:

The next time you are asked to be a part of a new project, or take on an extra activity, instead of feeling pressured to say a hard yes or no, you could say "My schedule is currently very full. Let me talk with my family, and let you know."

This allows you that space to do exactly that: look at your schedule, check with your partner, and consider if this project or activity aligns with how you want to spend your time, and/or if it takes away from any other important areas of your life.

Start by not saying yes!


Start by not saying yes and it will lead to: choosing the best yes, and saying no will be easier.

I hope this example helps you think about where you are saying yes and no in your life and gives you some room to consider how to best manage those situations.

You are empowered to choose how you spend your time. You are empowered to say no!

Please let me know how it goes this week to "break up with busy!" Next week we are talking a bit more about how self-care can help lessen the feeling of "busy."

Find me on Instagram (@earlgreyandpolkadots) and tell me how your journey is going!