Too Thrifty Chicks


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Food for Thought Friday: Reflections on Self-Care

Last week, Reese shared with all of you the process she went through for reclaiming her time, setting boundaries and she shared several things about the necessity of self-care. To see what she said was necessary in her self-care process read her post.

Self-care is something we value greatly at the Thrifty Palace and we don’t think people talk about it enough. Self-care is just what it sounds like. It means doing whatever it is that makes you feel loved, fulfilled and well cared for. For the Thrifty Chicks that means starting the day with some quiet time and taking more of that quiet time as needed throughout the day. When we skip that step, there is a 75 percent chance that the day is going to go off the rails.

Self-care for us also means not taking on too much — a very hard task. Reese is writing a dissertation; working a part-time job in Baltimore; one-half of this blogging operation; collaborating with partners in food justice around the country; the chief architect in the thrifty travels; and the first person on the life-line list of many of the people who love her dearly. I am an entrepreneur; freelance writer; the other half of this blogging duo and chief finance coordinator for my mother who has Alzheimer’s. We’re both also active in our church and always looking for opportunities to be active in our community. We’ve clearly got a lot on our plates. We have mile-long To-Do lists just like you.

But somewhere along the way we discovered that we can’t do it all and, in fact, we don’t want to do it all.  Sure we make lists, and then we break them into bite size portions so that they are more manageable and accomplishable. We ask ourselves, “What can be accomplished this week?” We even go so far to say, “What do I want to accomplish today?” The Huffington Post’s  12 Things Successful Women Do Differently has a really good point about the To-Do list and 11 other helpful ideas.

We live in a society that values busyness. If you don’t fill every waking second — at work or at play — with some THING, you aren’t doing this THING we call LIFE, right. You’re not productive. You’re not an asset. You’re not adding value to your life or the lives of others.

We beg to differ.

One of our favorite seasoned saints at our church, Ms. Carolyn A.,  gave some valuable words of wisdom to a young man who is headed off to conservatory this fall. Reese and I were fortunate enough to be around when she was sharing and were blessed mightily by what she had to say. I share this adaption of what she said with you in hopes that her points will bless you real good. Here is my adaptation of Ms. Carolyn’s prescription for success at conservatory (and in life):

1) Find allies for your success. It is an act of self-care to ask for help. Whether it is help with your children, your finances, your parents, your education — whatever situation, circumstance or relationship that is stressing you out and making you crazy — find some allies. Allies help you weather the storms of life. Allies give you breathing room. Allies make your life work. You need them. Stop pretending you don’t.

2) Be nice, but firm. If there is something you need don’t be dissuaded, or even talk yourself out of asking for it. Need time alone? Be nice, but firm. Need a minute to cool off? Be nice, but firm. Need to have a difficult heart-to-heart talk with someone? Be nice, but firm.  You see how this works?

3) Schedule your time. Some days 24 hours does not seem like enough time, but how many of us really think about how we spend our time? In “The Simple Living Handbook: Discover the Joy of a De-Cluttered Life,” author/blogger Lorilee Lippincott of challenges readers to track how they spend their time. And if every second is jammed with stuff it is time to look for ways to simplify. Ms. Carolyn put it this way, “Schedule your time to sleep, to have fun, to study, etc.” Put you on your To-Do list and then don’t miss your appointments with yourself.

4) Know when to say “no.” This is another tough one, but it is the ultimate gateway to self-care. You are one person. The life that you are living right now is the only life you know that you have to give. If you believe in some form of reincarnation, would you want to come back to a life that is filled with demands? Do you want to come back to a life where every day you feel drained? Where you feel that everyone else’s needs come before yours? That is a recipe for resentment. Sometimes you need to say “no” to others and yourself. And if you’re a recovering “yes” addict, start by saying, “not now.” Not now to picking up the phone, when you don’t want to talk. Not now to answering email that can wait. Not now, when you are exhausted and can’t give your best.

There is one last self-care value at the Thrifty Palace and it’s pretty important: Make time to laugh and play. Silliness is a Too Thrifty Chick ministry. Seriously. We crack ourselves up constantly. Reese rollerblades even though she still can’t figure out how to stop because it makes her laugh. I dance across the kitchen floor in my socks like James Brown because I can’t help myself. We hang out with little kids because seeing life through a child’s eyes is the most fun you’ll ever have. We encourage you to make time for whatever you think is fun and makes you feel like a kid again. Laughter and fun is one of the best acts of self-care you can ever practice.

— Ricks

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Food for Thought Friday: Quiet Time

“We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly. . . spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.” -Susan Taylor

IMG_9515In our house, each of us has a quiet time space. Ricks has a yellow recliner chair that she thrifted, and I have the window bench I built at the beginning of the year. We wanted to have places designated for reading, journaling, etc., but the truth is, they hadn’t gotten much use until a few weeks ago.

It happened sort of spontaneously. Every morning, each of us got up –around 5:30-6am–went to our quiet time spaces, and started our respective quiet time rituals, which include thinking, reading, praying, and writing in silence for an hour or more. There’s never a specific agenda other than to have a deliberate, calm start to the day. Everything in the house is quiet until we’re both done. Neither of us interrupts the other….and though we do almost everything together and share so much, it’s not hard to respect that space, because we know the clarity and peace it offers and wouldn’t want to deprive the other of that.

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” -Edgar Allen Poe

We let our thoughts roam, our dreams take root, and our pens write as much as IMG_4451they’d like (I swear we’re each gonna go through 10 journals this year).  It isn’t an agressive time.  I just let myself be present, engaged, and open to whatever the universe wants to share. For me, that might mean listening to the birds sing to each other, paying attention to my visceral reactions to what I’m reading, or writing down my thoughts and feelings without judging them.

This week, we’ve been working hard on separate work projects and teaching vacation bible school at night, which has made it challenging to get up early to have that quiet time. And each of us has felt every bit of it. I missed how it slowed me down. I missed offering the praise and worship that has now become the first thing I want to do each day. I missed taking the time to journal thoughtfully and honestly at length about whatever BIG dreams and goals I have. It’s not that I didn’t do these things at other points in the day; but by the time I got around to them, they were competing for time with other thoughts, feelings, and responsibilities that seem to crowd the day as it wears on. The morning time when each of us first wakes up–before the sun rises for me, when the light hits the window for Ricks–is the golden time. For whatever reason, when Im sitting on my bench at 5:30am, looking out the window as I read, write, or think, I feel like I can accomplish anything.

How do you start your day?  Do you give yourself the opportunity to have a quiet time (no matter how long or what time of day) that you can spend however you want?