"Spring break is a vacational period in early spring at universities and schools in various countries in the northern hemisphere." I read that from Wikipedia
From this day on I will start a blog spring break. It will NOT be a vacational period, but a period when I´m working for SaimaaLife blog renewal and forthcoming summer season.
I will publish my next post 10th of May, on the Mother´s Day.
Until then I welcome you to follow SaimaaLife on Facebook. There I´ll publish something daily!
This small blog break will be a way for me and my husband to keep the better balance in our family life and avoid getting exhausted over the work.
There is a danger that it may happen because during the next two months my job is not only to work for the blog renewal. I also have to work for my Sauna Yoga classes and other classes that I´m developing right now. Then my husband has his other job. Together we also need to do some spring time work, prepare our house for summer tenants and move away. Then we need to move for a month to our town home and prepare that for our own summer tenants. Then it´s our boat home and work for it so that it´s livable by the summer. Then of course vegetable garden needs to be done. And preparations for the next winter, like to get firewood to dry up till autumn.
So it´s time again to make some choices and this is the choice that we´ve decided to make now.
I wish you all good & sunny spring season before that!
Now I´ll just roll up my sleeves and start to work so that we´ll get all things done before it´s time to start my favorite season, boat life on Saimaa!
“According to Free Trait Theory, we are born and culturally endowed with certain personality traits—introversion, for example—but we can and do act out of character in the service of “core personal projects.” In other words, introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly. Free Trait Theory explains why an introvert might throw his extroverted wife a surprise party or join the PTA at his daughter’s school. It explains how it’s possible for an extroverted scientist to behave with reserve in her laboratory, for an agreeable person to act hard-nosed during a business negotiation, and for a cantankerous uncle to treat his niece tenderly when he takes her out for ice cream.”
Right after I had read that I realized that my family is MY core personal project.
For some it´s the desire to become an expert at her work, for another the desire to run a marathon. For me it´s the desire to do everything that I can to make our family members happy, together and separately.
Passion for this core personal project of mine has become the strongest motivator for myself to grow in life. It is meaningful for me in so many ways.
And "Quiet" is a book that has helped me to understand and accept myself more than any other book so far.
That´s why Quiet is in my TOP 3 books.
My CPP helps me to develop myself. Now, I'm going to use it again as my helper when stepping out of my comfort zone: I´m going to face my fear of putting myself out there. My fear of becoming rejected or embarrassed if I show who I really am.
For too long I´ve felt that there has been a big difference between what I feel I am inside compared to what I´m able to show of myself to the world. I want to get rid of that feeling. I see that in my daughter too. I want to help her to get over her fear of putting herself out there. So that she could show her beautiful personality and uniqueness to the world and feel good when doing so. I DO NOT want fear to limit her life like it has limited mine. How many times my fear has prevented me from opening my mouth and saying what I really want to say? How many times I´ve made myself anxious by letting my fear to rule my behaviour? Way too many!
I want to show to myself, my children and to you that it´s worth to work for to get over your fears and uncertainty. So that your unique personality could shine brighter and it would be easier for you to just be yourself in front of the others. That´s the way to bring wellbeing and happiness, not only for yourself, but also for people around you. And to make it easier for them to just be themselves too.
Our talented local actress Aino Mankonen has promised to help me in the beginning of my journey. I´m grateful for her help and excited about the process, but honestly, also quite terrified. I don´t really know what kind of a journey waits ahead of me...
I have a quite big stage fright. That is actually one reason why you haven´t seen more videos in this blog so far. (The other reason is that my husband simply haven´t had time to put up videos because of his other work). So I´ll use this core personal project of mine to overcome that fear too. I don't want my stage fright to be a burden for my blog. And I want that you could enjoy more diverse blog content in the future.
And when you do find it, use the power of it to make your life better.
You may not improve only the quality of your own life, but of all people around you.
I´ve experienced it already and that´s why I´m ready to challenge myself again!
Video about me and Aino in the Savonlinna city theater coming up. Soon. Perhaps. I hope. It's almost done.
When I started this blog I made a decision that SaimaaLife would include both material and immaterial side of wellbeing.
The reason behind my decision was simple: I think wellbeing IS both. It comes from inside but also has its material side.
After writing my blog for some time it became clear to me that the main thing I'm talking in my blog is the things IN you. The mental, immaterial stuff in life.
So I questioned my decision of taking material stuff on board.
This winter I was there again. Pondering what I want SaimaaLife to be.
At the same time I found Sustainably Chic´s online shop for sustainable accessories. I fell in love with La Petite N-Kay´s organic wool headband and necklace and also this forest green organic chain and lace headband/bracelet.
I decided to make an order but the next question was: whether to post about my new accessories in my blog or not?
While working on my wellbeing I had lost my desire for "unneeded" material stuff in my life. Somehow naturally I had started to take steps towards a simpler way of life. Life where I only buy things that I really need or things that were in some other way particularly meaningful to me. I didn't need to get something new and pretty just to make me feel good because the sources of my wellbeing were something different. It felt good.
So what´s the point for that kind of a blogger to post about accessories?? Stuff that I think we all can agree that we can live without?
Because we all need material things E-V-E-R-Y S-I-N-G-L-E D-A-Y.
And what kind of stuff we live with DOES matter a lot for our physical and mental wellbeing.
So it IS worth to look for material things, like clothes, that support your wellbeing and help you to be your natural and relaxed self. I concluded.
When the mail brought me the package from Natalie and I wore this green headband and put Globe Hope´s white tunic and winter jacket and my mom´s handmade scarf on me... Well, I smiled.
This looks so me!! I screamed to my husband while standing in front of the mirror. "I´m again a step closer to look like the person I feel that I am inside! I feel so good in this outfit!!".
At that same moment I remembered my project to find a natural looking style for a +30 working mother. I´m getting there! I thought when we went to take these photos with my husband.
I definitely want to inspire my readers to beYOUtiful and find also material stuff that can help them to get this easy and happy feeling that I have now! I thought while standing in the sun after our photos had been taken.
I may not write typical product posts or reviews in SaimaaLife in the future but I DO want to post about brands and products that have helped me to feel good in my body and mind.
And yes, I may also post about accessories and other stuff that we can also live without. Because sometimes, many times actually, a thing that is meaningless to some is very meaningful for another.
And just because practical experience has taught me that extremes aren´t that good for your wellbeing and happiness.
Especially not when you´re looking for a sustainable and natural way to be well and happy.
I started the habit when I was 14 years old. It was my first summer job in the restaurant business. Because of my work I was on my feet 8 hours a day.
I told my mom about my tired feet and she told me to lift my legs up for a while. I did it and felt immediately relieved. After that it became something I did every day after work.
I worked 6 summers as a waitress during my school and university years. During that time I developed a pretty strong habit of my leg lifting ritual.
After graduation my work was not physically tiring anymore. But mentally it was. I soon realized that my habit is a good way to cool my overheated brains too.
Then I became a mother. Sleep debt and puffy eyes became my everyday companion. I noticed that I react to sleep debt also with my feet. One day I remembered what runs in our family; varicose veins. A thing that most women would like to avoid, just like cellulite. So do I. That´s why I kept on lifting my legs up on my maternity leave too.
My tired feet were also one reason why I started practicing headstand.
To keep my feet (and mind) light.
Then last autumn when I was planning my first yoga based stretching and relaxation classes I stumbled into a relaxation exercise almost identical to mine while going through a big pile of books for my class. The only difference was that I hadn't lifted my legs up TOTALLY up to rest against the wall. I had used pillows and such instead.
I did the exercise and almost straight away felt the magic of it: all the heaviness and tiredness started to fade away from my feet. The feeling was just heavenly!!
So after that I tweaked my habit a bit.
A small change, but a significant one if you ask me.
And this is the way I´m going to lift my legs up for the next 20 years to come!
I hate that feeling: the feeling of inadequacy as a parent.
Even though deep down in me I know that I am a pretty decent parent, there are moments when the voice inside my head is saying: You SHOULD be better.
I´d like to close my ears because it simply harms my wellbeing and prevents me from enjoying my parenthood wholeheartedly.
Life has taught me that it´s not that easy to be a working parent and balance between millions of things. So I´ve learned to be more merciful and compassionate towards myself and to remind myself that good enough is enough. It has helped me a lot.
But what I especially hate about the feeling of inadequacy is that it always comes back. It feels like never ending battle where there seems to be only temporary peace. It´s frustrating!
Couple of weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon it happened again.
Our girls were taking afternoon nap and my husband was having coffee on the couch and looked a bit sad. "Is there something bothering you?" I asked.
I feel like a bad father. I don´t play enough with the children. When Liilia asked me to play with her yesterday I answered I can´t because I need to work. I felt such a lousy father after that! He answered.
But you ARE a good father! I´ve seen what a great father you are! And you DO play with them too. Of course all parents could play more but hey, what´s enough? You have your job, you´re helping me with the blog and you do a lot of other things for our family. What more COULD you do with the time and energy you have?
I don´t know? But I feel that I SHOULD do more. I SHOULD play with them more.
I took a cup coffee too. I started to think how many times I had refused to play with our girls during that week.
Many. Because Mom needs to get this work done today. Because mom needs to do the laundry. Because it´s already late and mom is tired.
Then it happened. The feeling of guilt was there again. The feeling that I am not enough.
I have tried many ways to feel good about my parenthood and learned that adding reasoning to what you feel helps.
Why did I say no to my children? Did I make a reasonable choice?
More often than not I've noticed that I actually have quite good and valid reasons to say no. It is parents´ duty to do things so that family life can run smoothly. Everyone needs clean clothes, breakfast, dinner, evening snack, good night sleep and time outdoors. Everyone needs time to rest too.
Then I remembered the 80/20 rule again: If in the long run you're doing fine 80 % of the time, you don´t need to feel guilty for those 20 % when you're not at your best. I felt a bit better again.
I also remembered what I had concluded about a year ago when I was struggling with these same feelings of guilty and inadequacy: That children don´t need you to be with them all the time. All that they need is that you are there for them when they really need you.
That is still what I truly believe in.
I continued my thinking process and ended up making a confession to myself. I confessed that honestly I am not that good at playing with our children. At least indoors. Sometimes I even prefer working over playing with them.
First I felt bad but then I realized that I have my own things what I like to do with our children. I DO like to build things with them, like playing with legos. I also like to bake with our children. And what I especially like is to play outdoors with them.
But wait a minute! I did all those things with the girls during that week!
So maybe I shouldn´t feel guilty of saying no to some of their playing requests?
I have been learning mindfulness over the years and little by little become better at gently pushing away other thoughts when I want to concentrate on the most important thing of the moment. Like playing with our girls in this case.
For many years I had also worked for living less on autopilot on my everyday life, learned to seize the meaningful moments of life more and prioritize them in practice in my everyday life.
It has brought more quality to time spent with my family.
And I believe that it has brought more quality to our children´s and my husband´s life too, and helped me to be a better mom and wife.
So maybe it was not about minutes and hours. I HAD TRIED to give my children all my presence and attention when I had been with them during that week. All that I was able to be at that very moment.
Maybe that's enough.
After our conversation me and my husband decided to do something together as a family the next day. Something that we all would enjoy.
We went kick-sledging on the lake, did some ice-fishing and after that ate some warm sandwiches with tea by the fireplace.
When I went to bed that night the feeling of inadequacy was gone and the peace of mind was back again.
Before I fell asleep I still said to myself the words that had helped me many times before to feel good about myself:
All that you can do is to try your best.
Trying your best is enough.
YOU ARE ENOUGH.