April 2020 – 4 challenges

How fast things have changed.

A month ago we were living life, working, dreaming, planning, cooking and cleaning and raising the girls.

Then corona swept across our planet and from midnight on 26 March South Africa went into lockdown for 3 weeks. So we are spending all our time at home, together.

I have been trying to write about this enforced pause and how it is delivering a life of simplicity wanted or not… but the words keep getting stuck, as the news changes so fast and there is so much to process.

So I have decided to simplify and set out next month’s challenges instead. I have always been a person who feels better once I have an ordered space and a plan. So here goes:

A few years ago I decided to follow the basics of Minimalism.

I made a decision to do this. I decided to try to create a more intentional life for me, and like ripples in a pond, for my family too. I wanted to change my life from living on autopilot to living more consciously.

I have found that I am productive when I set myself – or join – challenges. It’s like my version of a to do list, which helps me commit, see change, and hold myself accountable. Challenges are for me the place where I can more easily change my habits.

And because I am trying to make life changes, I need a list from which to work. Challenges help me work down my “life list.”

This April is a bit different as we will be housebound for most if not all of it, and possibly beyond….

But I am still testing different areas of my life with 4 self-imposed challenges.

These all support the my chosen creation of a simple and beautiful life, based on those basic principles of Minimalism:

  1. Daily wellness:
    1. meditation – spirituality
    2. sun salutations – health
    3. glass of water morning and evening at least – health
  2. Daily learning:
    1. French – minimum 5 minutes
    2. online business course – minimum 1 hour
  3. No nail biting – so challenging at the moment!
  4. Practise Letting It Go – unless it really matters

Daily wellness

As we get ready to spend almost a month if not more at home – it is of utmost importance that we keep our bodies active and our minds at ease. I will be inviting my girls to join me in my yoga and meditation for this month.

Meditation – These days I meditate daily, although recently my practice was shaken to a standstill – just when I needed it most. So I am getting back on track with a 21 day Hope in Uncertain Times challenge from Oprah and Chopra. As always love and thanks to my WhatsApp meditation accountability group.

Sun Salutations – I now have the habit of doing these daily, and touch wood I have had no recent back issues. 4 adapted sun salutations with some simple core strengthening exercises added. With 3 weeks, if not more, to be spent at home, there is no more pressing time to be exercising at home – for body and mental health. So this will be the minimum I do, and with my kiddies.

Water – I now am in the habit of drinking water every day, and the more I drink, the more I want to drink. So I am committing again to drinking at least 1 glass of water each day.

Daily learning

I am already a great fan of online learning and am forever signing up for short courses, but as we enter a period of uncertainty, at home, I believe it is vital to keep our minds active.

French – the importance of hobbies in a time like this, and any time. It is so important to do something for fun, with no money earning potential. I used to speak French and love the language and am committing to a minimum of 5 minutes a day through Duolingo.

Online business – Because corona has cancelled all events and we own a company which supplies flooring to the events world, we have lost that income. So I am pivoting my career, and have signed up for an online business course which I have been wanting to do for ages anyway. If this virus has taught us one thing already on a personal level, it is the courage to try, now, because why not.

Stop the nail biting

A habit of mine that I loathe, and try not to admit to, and one with which I battle especially when I fret. Perhaps in the midst of global chaos, fear and uncertainty, when we are advised not to touch our faces, one lass at the tip of Africa will stop biting her nails! Wish me luck.

Let it go

In the words made famous by Frozen (perhaps only if you have children of a certain age and gender) – Let It Go!

As we go into lockdown and prepare to spend all day and night at home in close quarters with my husband and 2 girls, this is something I have to try.

For me this time comes with such a gift – to clarity for ourselves what is really important. We have a real opportunity to prioritise our lives, which is really the whole point of Minimalism. I intend to work on letting a few things go:

  • to choose which battles to fight
  • to choose which snappy retorts to silence
  • which critical comments to silence
  • to consider if the house gets messy – can I deal with it gently
  • to consider if we eat cereal for lunch one day – can I let that go too
  • to be gentle, with everyone in my space, me too
  • to let go of guilt that I should be better – at my work, at homeschooling, as a marriage partner
  • to let go of guilt when I need to take some time alone for self care
  • to create a peaceful loving space in which to stay
  • to let go of fear and replace it with hope