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Making time for something fun

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In the comments section of my last post, B wrote “I love that you incorporate fun stuff into your days despite how busy you are. I think it’s so important…”. It was interesting that was commented on , as it is something I have been very conscious of recently. My ultimate downtime activities are sewing, crafting, blogging and baking, but they have had a tendency to fall by the wayside recently.

We all have barriers to finding time to ourselves, and it’s not so much a matter of whose are bigger, less surmountable, or more noble. Rather it is figuring out what yours are, and whether and how you want to overcome them. In a post that started me thinking about seeking creative time, J wrote about her disability hindered her feeling that she deserved time to be crafty (crafts also being J’s “me time”). Its different for all of us, but guilt and tiredness are my barriers.

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I get relatively little time with my son. If I get home at 6 and we have dinner until 6.30, it is just an hour to his bedtime. I realized that I experienced a certain amount of guilt every time I had non-work time and did not spend it with him. One evening I was sewing something on a deadline and I asked Wes to watch Sam. When I heard them giggling together I immediately felt like I had lost a bonding opportunity with my son and nearly stopped what I was doing. But something – perhaps J’s post – stopped me and I finished my project. My son still loved me, we still got quality time together, and I had done something fun.

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Me asleep at my desk at 11 pm – picture snapped by a bemused husband

Work guilt also holds me back – there is an ever growing to-do list in an ever harder funding climate as I become more and more senior with less and less funding (that’s the short and somewhat dramatic version). That’s not going to change, and I know I have to fight it. But I have learned that there is a limit of what I can give outside of 9-5; 3 evenings a week and one good weekend day stint, and I’m probably spent. Realizing this has helped me enjoy my non work time.

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Major tiredness contributor.

The other thing was tiredness – either physical (from my new fitness regime) or mental (see above picture for my working hours!). I used to think that I was only capable of zoning out into Facebook or TV. I’ve realized that a small craft project is just as relaxing, and that I feel much better afterwards. So, despite my Saturday morning gym routine, all Saturday afternoon and evening at work, and a 3-h drive to a rained out water park on Sunday, I still found time for the following ‘me’ activities this weekend:

Making Halloween packages to be posted to friends in Alabama:

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Making pumpkin spice cupcakes to celebrate my MS student submitting her first (first-author!) paper:

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And making a Thanksgiving onesie for Sam’s friend Hadley:

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Oh, and time for a blog post written in the bath with a glass of wine 😉

How about you? I loved all the feedback on my Facebook break-up and health kick. What are your ‘me time’ activities? Do you find it easy to find time for them? What are your barriers if not? Share your ‘me projects’ with me!

Purple Purse Campaign

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1 in 4 women will be affected by domestic violence. If this post is a little tl;dr for you, and you want to get straight to the charity part (good on you); please donate to raise awareness and help victims of domestic violence at http://purplepurse.com/celeb-style/.

Thank you

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I so need this weekend. I was sick most of this week, yet have been working 16+ hour days. I am exhausted! I will go to the office tomorrow afternoon, but I have fun planned still for the weekend. Last weekend, despite being ill, I managed to appliqué a Halloween T-shirt for Sam’s birth class buddy:

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And bake a British tea cake classic: Battenburg:

What it tastes like more important than how it looks!

What it tastes like more important than how it looks!

I was fairly pleased with the Battenburg. It was tasty, but a little dry. Next time I will use less batter and so not bake it for so long. I also was annoyed at having to shell out $6 for each packed of marzipan, and so got 1 less than I needed – this was a mistake as the marzipan is really important for holding the whole darn thing together. Still, 5 days later we have very little left, so I can’t complain too much! Here is the recipe I used:

BBC Good Food Battenburg Cake

to which I also added yellow food coloring to the yellow 1/2 of the cake. Remember, be generous with the marzipan!

All this in between feeling so ill my friend Heather had to come and help me on Saturday night while Wes was out camping (in fact, the cake was for her, until I remembered that she can’t eat nuts. #friendfail).

I am hoping this weekend will be equally as productive, I plan to make a Thanksgiving onesie for Sam’s friend Hadley, and bake Oatmeal and cinnamon cupcakes to take into work to celebrate my MS summer student submitting her first paper. Woo-hoo!

So, the weekend has started, I have kicked back with a glass of wine to the strains of Amy Winehouse (I put it on as Sam goes to sleep) and caught up with some blogs I read. My friend B had a post which alerted me to the #purplepurse campaign.

“FACT: domestic violence affects 1 in 4 women in her lifetime. Recognize it, talk about it, stop it. #purplepurse”

 

Purple Purse is a campaign run by All State to raise awareness for, and help victims of, domestic violence. By moving to social media, with the has tag #purplepurse (applied to a picture of you with… wait for it… a purple purse of a purple tassel on your purse) they are hoping to raise even more money and awareness.

I get it – you’re thinking “Another social media campaign? How many will there be?” Well… as many as there need to be to help those in need I guess. I know there are a lot of things people are raising awareness for: cancer, ALS, domestic violence, child abuse. But, isn’t it better that we are aware of people’s suffering, and what is going on in the world around us? I have heard people say “I am sick of this, soon there will be a campaign for me too!”. I find that view offensive; to not look around and realize how many cannot claim to be a healthy, employed, safe parent, with a support network that spans 3 continents would be a tragic dismissal of just how lucky I am. We all draw straws in life: sometime we can rig the pot, sometimes we get what is doled out to us. I always welcome reminders that many people don’t have it as blessed as I do.

And I understand that everyone is asking for money. (Of course, just raising awareness and visiting the website is a big help, and its free!). And I do get the frustration: I have stopped attending our church because so many sermons were a charity drive and I just found it hard to motivate myself to get up for it! I think I get asked to donate to charity 2-3 times a month or so. So as long as I agree with the cause, I give $10. It’s not a lot, but I think about: what if everyone gave $10 when they read about a campaign? How much help could we do? I usually take the money out of our alcohol and Starbucks budget, and I am quite happy to. $20-30 / month is manageable for me, and for that I also very grateful.

B wrote much more passionately about the campaign. I am just helping spread the word. Read B’s post here:

http://chicinacademia.com/2014/09/25/thrifty-thursdays-purple-purse-2014-and-the-celine-luggage-inspired-tote/

And visit the campaign website here:

https://www.crowdrise.com/PurplePurse-FVPS/fundraiser/familyviolencepreven2/1/return/success/success

Or, take a picture of yourself with a purple purse and post it on Facebook / instagram with the hashtag #purplepurse