Easy Does It
Confession: this year I’m forgoing a resolution. Since January has packed quite the punch all on its own with a new job, new classes, and some very full days, I decided I was well in my right to take the easy way out on the whole “new year, new/better/healthier you” thing; especially since the end of December was spent tying up loose ends and preparing for a pretty major lifestyle shift. There were double-batches of freezer-friendly meals, a few extra midday yoga classes, and extended kitten cuddles, and while I’m thrilled to be back in a studio full-time I’m also reevaluating how to spend my time at home.
While I don’t often advocate for taking the easy way out, I’m all for making home life as easy as possible. I want my leisure time to be exactly that — leisurely! It’s what vacations, snow days, and comfy seating are made for. It’s what we daydream about during exceptionally demanding days and work for the weekends for, but in real life taking it easy hardly comes with ease. There are plenty of ways to make more work for yourself, but luckily plenty of other ways to trim a few corners and give yourself some well-deserved ease.
In the words of mothers everywhere (mine included): “don’t put it down, put it away”. If you want to talk about cutting out some unnecessary work for yourself cut to the chase and stop making more work for yourself! Shoes accumulate at the front door, clothes multiply when draped across furniture, and dishes pile up in the sink. They were all put down at some point when the closet or a hanger or the sponge felt too far away to do much good, and there they stayed. Suddenly that single sweater takes a few extra steps to get back to its rightful place, and the whole thing feels like more of a task that it ever needed to. Thinking about doing something means taking the time to live it in your mind first (and potentially relive it over and over again), whereas to do it in the moment means having completed it and being able to move on. There seem to be enough cliches that hold true to never think twice about doing today what could be procrastinated until tomorrow.
Somedays can feel longer than others (in particular those midweek days), so on the days I find myself with more time I start to plan for those days that run short. I always want to cook when I can, but I look at my time in the kitchen as an investment. To get the most out of it I practice the “cook once, eat twice” (or thrice) method. I’ve been known to take down some leftovers, but on a cold night after a long day having a freezer full of home-cooked food is even better than the first time around. I have the basics covered with no less than three different varieties of whole wheat pancakes (sweet potato-sour cream is the frontrunner so far), winter veggie stew, and my favorite teriyaki bean burgers. My little freezer-stash is a backup plan for the days I just cannot make it to the grocery store, or when there’s no way even the fastest one-skillet meal will come together in time, but they’re also part of that investment in my very precious “me” time when I’d rather take a long shower, or grab a drink with friends, than hurry home to start supper. They’re there when I need them, whatever the reason may be.
Other times are about not needing a reason to take it easy at all; when simply being at home is all I could ever ask for and wanting to celebrate those very comfortable, content moments in the little piece of the world I’ve set down roots in. The beauty of adding some ease back into my life is that more often I’m finding myself taking advantage of it. Without endless little tasks or loose ends hanging over my head I can indulge in mindful moments throughout my day that would otherwise be swept up in needing to catch up on tidying up or whipping up a meal. It means taking the time to enjoy a crossword puzzle or a cup of tea or some very decadent dessert with complete ease.
If you want to start practicing living on Easy Street you might as well start with dessert, like the extra tasty, extra easy Chocolate Cherry Chia Pudding.