Spontaneity and Mindfulness

Scheduling spontaneity into your routine might sound like an oxymoron. How can you “plan” to be spontaneous? For type As and list-makers, this probably makes sense but for everyone else, it may seem counter intuitive.

I freely admit to making lists Рlost of lists. In fact, I may well be the Queen of Listmakers.  My days are broken in to five hour-long teaching periods and lunch duties, before school chores at home, after school meetings/marking/planning, picks ups and drops and meal making. And the weekends can be worse. Lists help me to prioritise my time and remind me what needs done.

This approach has seeped into my “holidays” as well. Half days catching up on school work, half days catching up on housework and then a few days of downtime. Rather than fight it, I’ve just embraced my penchant¬† for bullet points as a way of helping keep my brain quiet at night. And there is a sense of satisfaction when you check things off the list too.

But when I reflect back on a gruelling couple of months, I have to admit, it was the moments where I ditched the list that probably kept me sane.

Little things like picking up the phone, or doing some unneeded baking, downloading photos for printing, catching up with a friend for coffee or accepting an invitation for a walk/swim/movie brightened my days.

I suppose it’s about balance. Being organised enough to do what needs to be done and being wise enough to know when downtime is actually the priority not a hard-earned luxury.

Just ditching the housework and spending a few hours lying in the sun reading for pleasure, finding some new music for a playlist or calling a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while can balance out the more mundane miniature of day to day life.

Here’s a few other ideas that make me smile:

  • Like the views on your normal walking/running route? Find a vantage point to enjoy them while stationary.
  • Share baking with elderly neighbours or those living alone. A sense of community is invaluable to overall wellbeing.
  • Keen to check out a film festival visiting town or a guest speaker at the local Uni but can’t find anyone else keen/free? Just go! Don’t miss an experience for fear of what others might (or might not!) think.
  • Find a cheap and cheerful restaurant and ditch the meal planner. Mum’s choice!
  • Make time to catch up with friends face to face. Invite them over if money’s tight.
  • Eat outside or go for a walk in your lunch break.

Sometimes life can become a grind. When you’re working and raising children, some of the grind is unavoidable. But to stop it become overwhelming, don’t discount the satisfaction gleaned from seizing the moment and doing something off list.

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