tips

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This ‘late in the day’ post couldn’t have been more perfect the purposes of the post itself, which is about the struggle to balance your passions with daily life.

Why am I posting late? Because I just finished a 60 hour work week and slept through my alarm because I was exhausted. And although today was my day off, I was back at work chairing a committee I feel passionate about, so I’m just getting my butt in my computer chair. Also, I made a promise to myself to post on Mondays, so this is my way of keeping with it.

In order to retain sanity, we humans need creative outlets devoted to non-work activities we feel passionate about. I write. For others it could be video games, binge-watching your favorite shows, taking the kids to the park, painting, or building robots you hope to one day use to take over the world. No matter it is, you need to actively pursue these outlets so you don’t feel like your life consists of working to pay bills. Even if you’re passionate about your job, there still needs to be something outside of it that speaks to another part of your soul, to decompress, and gain a sense of wholeness.

Here are some tips that help me devote my free time to my passion.

1. Plan ahead – You know what your work week looks like and what hours you realistically have as free time. If you plan ahead, you can look

My beautiful lifesaver

My beautiful lifesaver

forward to the activity you’d like to do and that drive will ensure you put aside time to make it happen. I had to go as far as buying an agenda just to wrap my brain around it. That might not be necessary for your needs, but if it is, get out there and purchase one. Mine’s cute as hell and I’ll use just about any excuse to use it. Our lives are busy. If you wait for the “perfect time” to dive into that project you always wanted to do, the universe will sit back and belly laugh while throwing another obstacle in your way. There’s never a perfect time. You must create with that mindset. If you feel guilty, get some chores done first 🙂

2. Communicate the importance to those you love – Don’t assume the people around you understand how important your passion and free time is to you. Even if you’re shy about making it known, build some personal boundaries you promise to yourself cannot be broken, unless in an emergency. Clearly if your child breaks their arm, you won’t make them wait to finish the last chapter of the book your reading before driving them to the hospital. But if your kid(s) are at the age of understanding, they should be included in those conversations. I know single mothers who do it. It is possible, but you need to make it known. This could also mean to communicate it to the ones that will get in your way. I’m all for helping people, but you have your needs as well, so consider they may be zapping precious energy. Tell them when you’re available to talk and expect respect.

3. Sacrifice sleep – To a healthy extent, of course, this is necessary. I love sleep. Me and sleep have been besties since the womb and when I’m without 10 hours of it, I feel the loss. However, if you were going to spend an hour tossing and turning in bed anyway, use that hour for your passion. Even if it’s only to plan what you need to do the next time you get a larger block of free time to get more done. Then when that time comes, you’ll be ready to get into the thick of it instead of wasting time. Get up early on your days off. Sacrifice your afternoon nap. Sometimes it’s necessary, and while you might be a bit tired, think of how exhausted with life you’d be without tapping into that outlet. I found the trade-off worth it.

4. Find the right space – If your passion is something active where you’re on a team or are out of the house, this won’t apply, but if it’s in-house, you need to create a space that allows you to concentrate on your goal. An office, a back room studio, the bedroom when no one else is in there. Sometimes this means doing things with others around you, but you have things that help you get into the zone. Headphones for music, anything to drown out distraction. Distractions are your worst enemy and steal momentum. The right space will foster creativity and become a priceless ally.

5. Give social media the finger – Blasphemous! I know, but just for a bit. I’m amongst those perpetually online whether on my phone or my computer, but this creates a sense of ADD and your productivity goes out the window. Do whatever it is you do for an hour and then check into your Facebook, or whatever other platform that grabs your attention, for no longer than 10 minutes. You need to enforce this boundary on yourself. The easier social media is to access, the easier it is to wander into the realm of posts and comments and cat videos, and next thing you know, an hour is wasted and you lost precious time you won’t get back. This is my #1 time stealer. If you need to unplug the internet or turn of your phone, do it!

Since my passion is something I’ve turned into a career, I take it seriously. If that’s not in your horizon, it doesn’t make it less important. Remember, your days are limited, your regrets are not. Find the time now and stretch it to your needs.

Now, I’m going to take my own advice and get to it. If you find these helpful, think I’m an idiot, or have other ideas to best utilize free time, send them my way. I’m an excellent listener and am always looking for best practices.

finding-your-passion-kristin-hannah

Alright. So last weeks confession was an addiction to journals. But lets be real, only one addiction is boring, so this week my confession involves a baby pyro within that no snuffer can extinguish. (See what I did there. I know…hilarious.)

Candles. I just love them. Yes, they’re ALL on my desk right now along with all the journals. It’s a freakin’ mess I tell ya.

I know, girly as Hell, but over the last year candles have become another obsession. The colours, the scents, the ambiance, the tension in my shoulders melts away as soon as I light them.

 

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See! Even Jack is enamoured.

 

 

An adorable Shepherd named Virgina we had for 10 years and her fluffy tail would knock everything over, stopping me from having them before. Drinks, table lamps, and candles if we dared, everything on the floor with a single wag, so they were a no go unless we wanted to give her a close hair cut and risk burning the house down.

Now that my life revolves around my desk, they’re out of the danger zone of the dogs and I get all the benefits of their glowy goodness.

Candles helps focus. As much as they are you for relaxing, I find having them lit helps to block out much of the visual stimulus around me. The 3 dogs, my husband and his video games to my right, my mother-in-law and her video games to my left (love you both), so I can keep my eyes on my screen and what needs to be done there. Maybe you’re reading, sewing, or studying, whatever it is there’s a million distractions out there waiting to stand in the way of progress.

Covering yucky smells is a bonus. With 3 dogs in the house, ones who are incredibly adorable but decide when they will and won’t listen to the ‘no pissing inside’ rule, I’m always afraid their scent will bleed into the walls and I’ll be so used to it I won’t know until the neighbours complain. An exaggeration, but my point stands. Animals, cooking, bathrooms, they come with smells no one wants lingering.

I buy mine from Bath & Body Works because the smells are divine and don’t dissipate while burnt.  I bolt for the fruity smells (cranberry, pomegranate, peaches, grapes/wine – I have a sangria one that makes my mouth water) but you can explore your personality through your scents and switch them out as you please.

Some promote good health, which surprises me, but I have to admit makes sense. Soy based candles won’t release bad toxins into the air, as some do, so read up on the ones you buy just in case. There’s enough harmful crap in our air, no need to add to it. Beeswax candles purify the air and are an amazing alternative if scented ones are too much but crave the ambiance. I’ve spent hours hugging mine and can’t wait to buy another (props to the Hubster for the great gift). He bought it from Green Earth and I’ll be paying them a visit soon.

 Scent zings our memories. During the holidays I choose different ones to create a mood in the house, ones that evoke childhood memories and gets me all giddy. During Halloween it was a few variations of pumpkin. For Christmas, I chose gingerbread, cinnamon, and baked apples, the smell so good I wanted to lick them, and did a great trick of getting me into the holiday spirit since I stay far away from the kitchen and any baking. Another bonus for me is the smell of apples. With a deathly allergy to them, the fresh scent of apples is as delightful as it is a tease. I miss eating applesauce like no no other.

Lighting them is a war of preference. Since many of mine are in glass containers, the BBQ lighter worked wonders. Until it ran out of fluid. Regular lighters are a burn hazard, so I now use matches. Am I the only one who loves the smell? Fess up now! You know it’s awesome. If you want to get deeper into the argument about the over-production of plastic lighters to that of wooden matches, you’ll see environmentalists have perfectly good arguments to make considering the waste we humans create.

No matter your reason for using candles, be safe, no burning down your place or setting yourself, pets, or children on fire by accident. Common sense is needed, though not a requirement to buy, so also consider who you’re gifting them to and how THEY might use them.

Just found out candles are on sale and my online shopping pre-addiction is whispering sweetness in my ear.

Burn and be merry.