Have you heard the buzzwords being thrown around a lot lately? They are #hashtagged on Instagram. Vented about on Facebook. Tweeted, Shared, Liked and Sent. You’ve probably thrown them around in a conversation or two yourself recently. I know I have; so much so that I’m sick and tired of hearing them come out of my mouth. What are they?
Busy. Exhausted. Overwhelmed.
Most of us feel it. And Hate it. And Complain about it. And then we continue to choose it.
For months I have said, “Things will settle down after…” or “I know things are crazy but it’s only until…” and “If I can just get past…” and then I explain why there is no other alternative and every single thing I have committed myself to NEEDS me.
And the problem is that you have to choose to stop the madness because in the day and age we live in busy is the new black and the world will tell you that your value and importance is in direct relation to the volume of your to-do list. Have you ever had a slow day and when asked how your day was you felt guilt or shame at the thought of saying that you took it easy and didn’t really do much. Maybe you couldn’t even bring yourself to say it and instead focused on the things that you did accomplish to validate yourself in that moment. I know this because I do it. All. The. Time.
In our house things have gotten dangerously busy. It’s time to say enough is enough and to actually DO something about our chronic busyness. Our schedule is dangerously full. Our heads are dangerously full. And what hangs in the balance is our physical health, our intimacy in marriage, our closeness to our children, our compassion toward others and the peace and joy that comes from walking closely with God.
I do not want busy to be my family’s “normal.”
I think it makes me less effective at every role and opportunity that I am given. Every specific “good work” that God has prepared in advance for me. Every relationship that he has entrusted me with.
Stopping busy is hard. So hard that we usually don’t even really try to stop it. Because it means saying no…something my people-pleasing heart struggles with. Often times it means saying no to really really good things. Things you are good at. Things you enjoy. Things you are expected to do.
I truly hope that as this “busy” holiday season approaches, you and I are both willing to take an honest look at our lives and have the necessary conversations with our spouses and friends about the quality of life that we are choosing. I don’t want to sprinkle myself out into the world. I want to pour deeply into the few truly valuable things in this life. Who’s with me?
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Happy first week of Spring! I was so happy to see that the 1st Spring Reset was a blessing to so many hearts and I’m glad to know that I am not alone in feeling like I have to do something to keep my pace of life from spiraling out of control right now! If you are just now reading about the Spring Reset for the first time then start here and go at your own pace! The point is just to take baby steps to hit the reset button on the year now that we find ourselves close to April with things maybe not going quite the way that we had hoped when we envisioned the new year (anyone? anyone?).
This week’s Spring Reset is a simple but profoundly helpful one and is something that I make a habit of doing every few months. We’re going to call it your Instagram assessment and there are two parts to it!
Spring Reset #2: Instagram (social media) assessment. Who are you allowing to be an influence and interruption in your day?
Step 1: The Instagram purge.
If you are like me then you set out to be selective about who you follow on Instagram. But over the course of a few months and with the help of enticing giveaways and “follow me” promos your feed gets a bit, well, diluted. Each person that you are following on Instagram is someone that you are allowing to speak into your life. Don’t believe me? Pay close attention to your internal monologue while scrolling innocently through your feed. “Ooo thats pretty. I wish I had that. I would never let my kid do that. Look at how many people “like” her? Ugh, I wish I were on that vacation. Her house is so clean. Ew, her house is so messy. She always looks so perfect. I need that new ______. I wish my husband would do that for me! Yea, if I didn’t have kids I would have that body too. She is so much better then me at ________ . She is so successful. I could never cook like that. Design like that, photograph like that. Dress like that. Travel like that. They never seem to fight. I wish we could go on a date night…”
Maybe its just me, but Instagram breeds jealousy and discontentment in my heart if I am not very careful about who I follow. Who I allow to “speak” into my day. So here is what I do every few months and what I am going to do again today. An Instagram purge.
My general and intentional criteria for who I follow goes something like this:
1. Do they inspire me creatively, spiritually, emotionally, physically (as opposed to making me feel not good enough). If so, keep following!
2. Does following them tend to cause discontent in my heart. (Not necessarily their fault – its my own heart issue.) If so, its time to unfollow!
3. Do I tend to constantly compare myself to them in a negative way? If so, I should probably unfollow!
4. Are they a close friend or family that I want to be actively involved in their life and maintain a friendship? If so, keep following!
5. Does following them encourage/challenge me to grow (spiritually, emotionally, as a mom, as a wife. as a friend)? If so, keep following!
6. Are they someone in my same industry who I find myself trying to one-up, or compete with? If so, I’m going to do myself a favor and unfollow! As a general rule, I don’t usually follow other people in my industry. This helps me to create from a place of authenticity and not from a reactionary position as it related to the work that I see them creating.
7. If I see them in my feed and I don’t immediately know who they are or why I specifically follow them then I unfollow them. haha I want to be able to go through my entire feed and verbalize exactly why I follow them.
This may all sound a little but intense to you but it has worked wonders for helping me to be fully present where I am, create from a place of authenticity, and grow as an artist and person. I fight to guard my heart.
“Above all else, guard your heart. For everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23
Step 2: Enough already with those darn push notifications!!
Seriously, don’t even get me started here!! My mental space is too precious and limited and my heart already too divided every minute of the day to allow others to constantly and freely insert themselves into my day. I probably sound mean but just hear out me on this. We (ok , just me maybe?) crave constant validation and approval and getting Instagram pushes (or any pushes at all) to my phone only feed that beast and I want my heart to be as far away from that as possible. “Are people liking my pic? Did anyone comment? How many people commented? What does that e-mail say?” How many times have I been in the middle of work, or playing with my kids, or talking to my husband and I allow some e-mail push, Facebook push, Instagram push, Twitter push to barge right into the middle? I don’t care if you don’t open it up. It takes probably .0002 seconds to glance over and read it and BAM you have just allowed something else to take precedence over your priority in that moment. In general it might seem harmless but how many times have you gotten a frustrating e-mail or comment pushed to your phone and it has derailed your evening at home with the family. Like I said before…there is no perfect work/life “balance” where each gets equal but separate attention. There is only a minute by minute choosing of priorities. Not having ANY pushes to my phone helps me to be fully present and intentionally maintaining my priorities. If you don’t believe that the world will not stop if you turn off your push notifications then I dare you to just try it for a week and let us know how it goes!
Ok, I’m stepping off my soapbox. I LOVE Instagram. Like…LOVE it and I think that it has enhanced my family’s life in a lot of ways. But like everything, you can have too much of a good thing and in the fight to win back focus and presence and clarity in my life, Instagram is one of the first places that changes must me made for me.
I hope that you have a wonderful week! Please share your thoughts below and let us know about how your Spring Reset is going with the #SpringReset password (yes, the irony is not lost on me). I’m off to purge my Instagram feed and shut off those push notifications right now!
So, we are already 2/3 of the way through March and I would swear to you that we just toasted to the new year YESTERDAY. I’m still thinking up my New Years resolutions for goodness sake! I set out at the beginning of the year with the very best of intentions about intentionality in business and family and how this was going to be my “best year yet” (that phrase applies no pressure whatsoever right!?) and the only problem is that on January 1st REAL LIFE continued.
And not in the clean, scheduled, refreshed, predictable, tied-with-a-bow way that other people seem to be experiencing life (at least if we take Instagram’s word for it) but real life. Messy life. Full, wonderful, crazy, I need to nap (for a week straight) life. The kind of life where 50% of the time the kids are fighting and I’ve taken on more work then I have work days for, and the bathrooms haven’t been cleaned in weeks…okay maybe months (It’s ok you can gag if you need to. It’s gross.) I’m on my phone texting, e-mailing, Instagramming when I should be looking my family in the eyes, blur of multitasking, something is on the schedule most nights kind of life. Life as messy as that run on sentence just was. Anybody with me?
There has been a vacuum in the middle of my master bathroom since Friday. Let me explain. I cleaned out our horrendous master closet and was going to suck up all of the hair on my bathroom floor (Instagram THAT ladies) and I ran out of time that day to finish the job and so now it just sits there. Literally half of the hair on my head (I’m not even kidding you that I have googled “normal amount of hair loss”) and the vacuum. And we step over it. And it stares at me as I put my makeup on in the morning.
On a certain level I am ok with this. My identity is not in how clean my house is or how organized my week is. I don’t need this to be my “best year yet” and actually, I have NO idea what this year will hold and it is only by God’s grace that I will make it through another “awesome”, “awful” or “mediocre” year at all. I am however, more distracted and mentally busy then I set out to be when I color coordinated (ok not really but some of you do. You know who you are.) those new years resolutions. I do think that there is so much value in intentionality and for that reason I think that it is time for a little Spring reset, and I hope that you will join me.
Over the coming weeks I am going to be making a few small changes to life. One at a time. Baby steps. Little wins to reorient the ship that is threatening to keep charging forward whether I am on board or trying to keep my head above water in its wake. I will post one change a week here on the blog so that you can hold me accountable and cheer me on or just to entertain you with how not “insta-perfect” my life is. I hope that these little changes will open up the windows and let the fresh air back in to your life too if you choose to come along with me.
Reset #1: Go back to my set office hours
Starting tomorrow, I will go back to my regular office hours. Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30-3:30pm. Outside of those office hours I will not check or respond to work e-mail. I will not fit in little bits of work while the kids nap or play on the other days. I will instead use that time outside of work the way it was intended – doing something for myself or taking care of my mom/wife/homemaker responsibilities. I LOVE my job and that is why it has started to grow like a vine out of the planter box I created and up the walls of my life. It may not seem like a problem at first until the vines cover and suffocate the house. I feel them creeping up. I sense it when I am trying to listen to my husband tell me about his day and find my mind wandering back to my own endeavors. I feel it when I glance through my e-mail while at the playground with my kids. I don’t want to be that mom. I want to be fully present wherever I am.
I love my business but my business exists to serve my life and not the other way around.
My office looks like this 2% of the time.
My office looks like this 98% of the time.
So there you have it. One of the biggest questions that I hear from stay-at-home moms and small business owners is “How do you balance it all?” The answer to that question is unique to everyone but I would strongly argue that balance cannot happen unless you set specific intentional child-free office hours and stick to them. So for you the first step in this Reset may be to set office hours. You can do it! It is positively freeing!! Work on nailing them down this week and start on Monday if you have to.
You have to CHOOSE to let life and family win out over work. Especially when you love your job. There is no illusive “balance”…only day by day and minute by minute choosing of priorities. And I need to get back to mine…
Follow along on Instagram @shaycochrane and share your Spring Reset with #SpringReset
Busy busy busy busy day in the office today but the highlight is getting to look that these smiling faces that I am working on today!! I can’t help but hope that Chloe and Vera will have sweet sister-love pics like these from the Pugh’s family mini session some day! Happy Monday friends!
Spring portrait day is here again! Spring mini sessions can be used for any type of shoot from engagement sessions to family portraits to updating your children’s yearly photos [newborns not included]. I can generally fit multiple children into the same mini session. All sessions will take place in a beautiful Wesley Chapel, FL location this year.
There are 6 time slots available (see below) and spots are filled quickly on a first come first serve bases! E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your time slot! YAY!