You probably thought that this was going to be a post about limiting the kids’ screen-time for the start of school, right? Or, maybe, you figured I was going to go all Puritan on you and suggest that parents turn off their cell phones and “lose” the wifi password just at the time when everybody is sharing their electronic schedules for the next 10 months? That’s not really what I’m after, here….
This is a post about me, and what I’m going to do about myself, and, perhaps, by proxy, what you are going to do about yourself, this September.
In a month of waning sunlight and waxing responsibilities, I want, more than anything, to take it easy. What I mean by a “September Unplugged” is that I want to slow things down, not to a grinding halt, but to an acceptable pace. In some ways, I’m actually hoping to get more done than ever before. But, in the process, I want to enjoy doing it. And, I want my kids to see me enjoying myself, too. How am I going to make this happen?
Here are 7 Ways to Take it Easy this Month
1. Trust your own memory!
Banning yourself from the internet is one thing. Not relying on your cellphone or tablet for the time, the weather, or, most importantly, the google-magic-eight-ball-of-universal-knowledge is quite another. Oddly enough, this month, I’m going to ask myself and my kids to “think twice before you look it up,” especially if you’re not looking it up in a book. And, to flex my own memory muscles, I’m going to memorize the two Chopin Nocturnes, Opus 27 #1 and #2, that I’ve been saying I should memorize forever. Finally, since September is generally a time to meet new people, I’m going to try that ages old method of repeating a new acquaintance’s name 10 times in my head after I’ve met them. On the flip side, if I forget someone’s name, instead of feeling crappy about it, I’m going to be as polite as possible and fess up.
2. Use social media wisely!
Okay, there’s at least one tiny, angry little Puritan lady in me somewhere, because I’ve outright banned myself from my personal account on Facebook for the month. I’m sure I’ll miss everyone’s back-to-cool invites and their pictures of the kids on the porch. But, I can spend the extra time taking better pictures of my own kids on the porch – and I can paint our front steps, too! [Actually, I already did that!] As for the rest of social media? I’m limiting Septmber LS posts to a maximum of two a week. And, I’m trying to check my other accounts just once a day. Of course, I’ll be keeping up with my 1-Instagram-a-day-for-a-year challenge that I set for myself on January 1st. But I certainly won’t be posting more than one photo a day this month. This September, I’m going to make it count! [And, yes, sometimes making it count involves really cute garden gnomes!]
3. Schedule stuff!
This one should be self-explanatory. At the beginning of the month, set a few goals for yourself. Then, take a blank piece of paper and draw some columns on it, or use one of these free printable weekly schedules I made for you [Leaves, Animals, Fall] and plan your average week. Share your schedule with family and friends. And, in return, have family members create their own schedules [even the little ones] and share them with you. Finally, schedule 5 minutes of scheduling time into each morning or evening so that you can work from a schedule for the rest of the day, scheduley-scheduleson. For me, the main goal will be to finish the final scenes of my novel in between freelancing work. And, the kids and I will be taking an accelerated theory class together at the Royal Conservatory, which promises to be…interesting. I’m also looking forward to adding some service or volunteer work into my week.
4. Buy stamps!
Spend at least one hour this month playing catch up with your correspondence, even if it’s only the length of a haiku. Send letters, cards, and thank you notes written in your own hand to people who matter to you. Hook yourself up with some pretty stationery, like these dreamy Penny Paper Co Mini Cards, or tear the kids’ summer artwork into pieces and fold them into cards, or buy cheapy post-cards at the dollar store. Grab a fancy pen [I’ve been obsessed with these Kikkerland Retro Pens for a while now], or that green plastic number you stole from the hotel this summer, or the most run-down pencil in the house. Whatevs. Get to it. Correspond! Then, buy yourself some pretty stamps and get those babies into the mailbox!
5. Take extra care of your body! Yeah, you!
Spa time is any time this month! And you can have the best of it for free! Dry your hair gently. Massage your neck. Do five minutes of stretching after your workout. Wash your feet. Soak in the big-ass-bathtub. Sing a song, or do a primal scream […might want to warn the neighbours first]. Eat clean. Lift Heavy. Chase the dog into the lake. And, accept and remember all the littles’ good night kisses. As for me, to complement the above, I’ll be following the Whole30® plan this month. [It’s free.] And, I’ll be completing Stages 4&5 of the New Rules of Lifting for Women program I started over the summer. [You can check out the book from the library! And you can make weights out of practically anything, from pantry items and laundry soap to basketballs and bags of sand! No excuses!]. Heck, I might even splurge and book my very first facial at my favourite local 10Spot.
6. Stop, drop, and play cards!
Solitaire or family poker night. Get out a deck of cards. [These black ones are super smooth. And, I know these Star Wards cards would make the kids go nuts!] Do the math. Make it happen. Look for next Monday’s card party post for more inspiration.
Think Basic Black with Pearls. Read old favourites, good books by poets and writers you already know and love: Austen, Milosz, Sayers, Richardson, Butler, Jeffers, Ferry, Tolstoy, Alcott. I’m sure you can come up with a super-long list in a flash. No shoulda-woulda-couldas…No taking a chance on this or that. Trust that you know what you love and keep on loving it. Nest with your favourite books. Save the fall reviews and the new releases for next month.
Note: This is not a sponsored post. The products or services recommended within the text of this column are just the things I genuinely like.
Here are image files of the free printable weekly schedules I posted above. Please feel free to copy and paste for your own personal use. Please refrain from monetizing them.