On relaxing at home before everything is done

I'm savoring the chill weekends we've had here and there in between summer and the holidays. This past weekend we got to spend some good chunks of time just being in our house. Cleaning, re-arranging, switching my out-of-season clothes, but still felt pretty relaxing to be at home, during the day, doing what we want for several hours at a time.

Also over the weekend, I bought some new fabric and did some planning for the next few weekends - now till Thanksgiving, and even into December. I got excited about the things I want to do and make! But I also got overwhelmed. When am I going to have time to sew those new skirts, or experiment with that recipe idea, or whatever it is? (And when the heck am I going to have time to do the photographs in the daylight!?)

Of course there's always more to do, and usually it's not the fun stuff. There will always be phone calls to make, stuff to put away, something that needs to be cleaned, etc. etc. - and then it's probably time to make dinner again. But I realized two things over this nice, quiet weekend:

  1. I'm grateful to have things I'm excited to do. It makes me happy to have new projects on my mind, and to have fun things on my to-do list as well as the daily boring stuff. If I don't feel grateful, then the fun stuff will start feeling like work, too.
  2. Because there will always be more work to do... I need to give myself permission to do what feels good in the moment sometimes, rather than feel guilty for letting go and like a slave to my to-do list.
That second point was the impetus for this blog post.

Doing nothing when there's still stuff to do


I don't usually feel good when I have lots on my mind, projects to do, emails to send, all that--but because it's impossible to fix the problem by doing ALL the things, I need to learn to feel good even when the laundry is still sitting unfolded on the dresser. 

A couple weeks back I posted about the recent book Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time. I wrote a long post about it, but for now I'll just point to one part... toward the end of the book, after talking to/about busy working people who shuffle kids and home and work responsibilities and feel overwhelmed by it all, the author talked about how people who make time for play and vacation despite the busyness are happier. Often we feel like we don't deserve time off, or we can't take time for something non-essential when there's more to be done.

So, I could have gotten a lot more done this weekend, I guess. I know I could get more done on the weeknights when I get home from work and most of my evening is spent making dinner, eating dinner, watching a show, petting the cat, trying to get in bed early to read. But without those instances of (relative) downtime, when would I recharge?

So I'm thinking now about seizing the moments of unscheduled time I find here and there and using them for sitting around if I need to. 

Once not long ago when I got home from work, particularly tired out, I lay down on the bed and listened to the rain outside. I pet the cat and picked up a favorite book from my nightstand. It was a strange feeling, but so nice!

So when my photographer friend Aubrie came over to take photos of the house recently, I was happy to try to recreate those moments of peace.

Image Source: Stocksy

Photos by Aubrie LeGault.
Food & Editorial Business: Aubrie LeGault Photography
Twitter: @aubrielegault
Instagram: @aubrielegault

Somewhat ironically, that favorite book I grabbed was The Happiness Project, another important one that's taught me to slow down. I highly recommend it and Overwhelmed if you, too, have a hard time enjoying simple things and slowing down!

9 comments

  1. What a delightful photo shoot!!! The top photo is my very favorite.

    JJ
    www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

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  2. :) your kitty photos are darling. and i love this post - especially considering our entire conversation yesterday re: NOT ENOUGH TIME and being overwhelmed and dealing with that

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  3. That first and third photo looks like a perfect day, a book, on a bed, with a kitty!

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  4. Great photos, but love that top black and white one especially! And I've definitely learned that there is always time for everything you love in life if you make time, which also means making time for downtime to recharge and rest :)

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  5. I totally agree with you that having things on the to-do list that I actually enjoy is so rewarding and fun. And I like how you are focusing on enjoying the moments, even in the midst of busy-ness. I've tried to be more mindful of the moments that I'm in, too, not getting to caught up in the yesterday or tomorrow or craziness of schedules. And I too love to listen to the rain. :)

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  6. Loved it. Don't be a slave to the to-do list- check. :) We are blessed to have a to do list though, I liked that you pointed that out. Photos turned out well- you look gorgeous. :)

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  7. My husband tried to shut our window the other night while it was pouring. I was like... what are you doing? I love listening to the rain, it's so soothing. I'm lucky because I have a tin roof over my porch so it really sounds like rain pouring down.

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