Over the years, due to my mental illness, I have had to simplify my life so much.
I have tried working so many times and can’t; I’ve tried homeschooling (many times) and can’t.
These cause severe anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. Also, with my bipolar 2, I never know if I’m going to be able to function from one moment to the next. I haven’t been stable for more than a month at a time for years.
Because of this, I am working towards getting disability. I have a hearing soon and I’m using a lawyer.
Simple Schedule and Routine
Recently, I decided to get rid of a lot of things and truly simplify. I organized well in order to keep things easy to keep up with. I take one day at a time. I try not to over-plan because I know that that usually means anxiety.
The only things on my plate are:
- Time with family (though the kids are gone from 6:30 till 4:30 every day, so that means I’m alone a lot)
- Self care
- Bible study (personal daily and women’s once a week) and Church (a few times a month)
- AA (twice a week, at one hour each time)
- Counseling (sometimes) and kids’ counseling (every other week)
- Coffee with friends (when I can handle it)
- Cleaning (I have a daily routine that I keep up with so things don’t get out of control)
- Cook/make simple meals
- A few small hobbies as I can handle it (mostly blogging and baking)
Our kids also have very simple lives.
- Chores (daily they make their bed, fold and put away laundry, and clean up their rooms and living room if they leave things there)
- School (of course, they are gone a long time every day for school)
- Homework (very little… reading for 20-30 minutes and math and/or spelling)
- Play (they spend a lot of time outside and with friends)
- Play games and read
- Electronics, limited
Karis does choir (one hour a week), and Ethan does some mountain biking (a few races a year). No large amount of time doing sports or other extra curricular activities. This isn’t for everyone, but it’s best for our family.
I basically just sit down with my Happy Planner the night before or the morning of and plan my day. It tends to be a lot of the same each day and I’m good with that. Other than that, I go by my daily/weekly routine.
We typically eat a lot of the same things consistently. I try to mix it up sometimes, but pretty much every meal I do is simple. I use my instant pot a lot, and I usually make meals that don’t take very long.
I have a weekly routine to do some food prep so that things are simple through the week. I fill my veggie tray to pull out for lunches and sometimes for dinners. I sometimes make homemade Greek yogurt, but this time around I just bought some.
I try to buy some things that are convenience to be easy to use/eat. For example, I buy already cut broccoli and baby carrots. I buy some granola bars and peanut butter crackers. I LOVE buying pre-boiled and peeled boiled eggs (I hate boiling and peeling them). The boys just grab a bag and eat a few for snacks. And I eat them at lunches often. Sometimes I buy pre-made salads but they are much more expensive than buying leaf lettuce. So sometimes I buy leaf lettuce, tear/cut it, and add some bagged spinach to it. I have taken a break from salads for a while, though.
I meal plan each week so that we all know what we will be eating. It helps keep the guess work out of it, and I am able to do any prep ahead of time (like thawing meat, etc).
We also eat in the dining hall when we can because it’s free, and I don’t have to cook and clean up. Sometimes I can’t handle being in a loud dining hall, but I’m getting to where I can these days.
The Little Things
I try really hard to enjoy the little things each day. I have learned to be content with what we have and where we are in life. I am at peace with where we live and know that this is life from now on (unless God has us move on, but I highly doubt it to be honest). I light candles every day, and start out with a good cup of coffee. I have been slowly decorating our home (on a tight budget) because I want to enjoy being here. Having coffee with friends has helped me to grow closer to others here and it has given me a ministry (other than AA). I enjoy getting up in the morning now and watching the sun rise.
I love hiking and am so glad that we have the hiking trails right outside our door. We live on 1400 acres. We try to take family hikes on weekends as we can. It doesn’t always work out. This is basically the only form of exercise that I like :-).
I love our home. It’s not very big (about 1300 sq ft), but it’s perfect for us. The boys share a room, Karis has her own room (that is so fun and perfect for her), and our bedroom has a comfy love seat in it (that I got for $30 from a Thrift Store). I have an amazing “bonus room” with my office area, a couple of shelves with books, a chair with side table and books, my guitar (that my brother gave me and I want to learn how to play), curtains (that were $20 for 4 panels), a fun rug ($30 on Amazon), and a bunch of art that I already had or got for $1 at Dollar Tree. It’s my favorite room in the house. I also have a succulent plant on the windowsill by my desk :-).
Our living room is so great. The tree wall was here when we moved in.
I spent a lot of time working on the kids’ rooms recently and it’s so much easier to keep clean.
I love our kitchen and our food storage. It makes me happy. I spend a lot of time in there.
This is the view from our back windows/back porch.
My office and bedroom are my sanctuary. I just love them.
I just love life and feel at peace with where we are. I am also excited about our future and what that looks like.