With the beginning of the New Year, I'm committing to a new special series here on the blog, dedicated to Self Care Sunday. Each week I'll share about what Real Self Care looks like in practice for me. And I'm starting off with something which may not actually seem like a self care practice: CLEANING HOUSE - LITERALLY.
One of my tips in 'A Rad Bitch's How to Guide to Life: From Post Break-Up Survival Mode, to Rocking at Life' is to "CREATE A BEAUTIFUL SPACE". This phrase has since featured on one of the most popular of my original Inspiration Cards, and I've been sent many a photo of a freshly revamped space with this bright pink card sitting proudly on display.
Given that I'm pretty proud of little apartment, this year, I'm committing to the next step: MAINTAINING a beautiful space. Now, like I said cleaning and keeping up with housework can feel really drab, laborious, and probably seems like the furthest goddamn thing from enjoyable.
But it is a reality in everyday life, and it's totally an essential element of Real Self Care. This is exactly why Marie Kondo's book, 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up' was fucking well EVERYWHERE last year. It wasn't that it was the latest trend, but because the results of decluttering are genuinely life changing.
Something I've been struggling with recently has been the total loss of my hard-won sleep pattern. After years of living with insomnia, regular good sleep is one of the things I'm most grateful for, and is not something I take for granted. This is why I often tell people that Bed is my favourite place in the world.
Just before Christmas, Melbourne was hit with an unusually early Summer heatwave, and with a string of days above 40 degrees in a row, our building had essentially become a pizza oven, and sleep was a near impossibility. This in turn led to sleep binges in an attempt to catch back up before we headed off on our Christmas road trip across the state. The sleep binges compounded the night time wakefulness, which meant that I ended up doing Christmas gift shopping and wrapping in the middle of the night, and wound up feeling really exhausted.
With Jordan working flat out up to and after Christmas, me keeping weird hours, and the fact that we share our apartment with three cheeky indoor cats, the housework was quickly starting to feel overwhelming. Unfolded laundry mounded up on overflowing baskets; dishes stacked waiting to be washed; an extra layer or three of cat hair floating across everything; and collections of books and random stuff piled around our bedroom. Not only was the sight of all that clutter exhausting, the knowledge that it would still be there waiting to face me in the morning was totally draining.
As it turned out, both the 30th of December and New Years Eve were stinking hot days above 40 degrees as well, so I decided it was best to just do what I could, accept that it was enough, and commit to tackling a big deep clean of the whole apartment after New Years.
So yesterday, after taking New Years Day off to relax and recover from turning Madonna's tour documentary into a drinking game with my Friend-Love, I was feeling fresh and emotionally equipped to face the task at hand.
Full of motivation and energy, I threw myself into one of the most INTENSE cleaning frenzies I've been on since we moved into this apartment and I scrubbed the gross tobacco stains left by the previous tenant from the ceilings with bleach. By the end of the day, I had our home looking and feeling as clean, tidy and fresh as it's ever going to get. It felt great, and I honestly slept so well last night as a result.
While I'm generally pretty good at doing the basics like a quick whip around with vacuum cleaner, and the essential mopping of the kitty litter area each day, I have a tendency to let the tasks I don't enjoy as much slide for longer than I should (Looking at you Dishes, and Folding the Laundry).
I've been making these tasks more enjoyable by listening to music or podcasts while I work, and I'm making an effort to remind myself of how much more relaxed I feel about being in the apartment, and getting Rad Bitch work done feels way easier when my mind isn't bogged down with thoughts of the dishes left in the sink from last night.
One of my commitments this year (because I'm not big on resolutions!) is to maintain this beautifully clean slate by tidying up as I go, to make things as easy as possible by keeping on top of them (Hello there, planning my days ahead with RB <3 HM Printables.), and maintaining my practice of the BIG clean each Saturday. Not only will this mean that I'll feel better and more productive during the week, it also means that I'll be able to truly make the most of my Self Care Sundays.
A few years back while I was still working full time and leaving my home at 6.30 in the morning and getting back around 7, I set an intention to create and implement some kind of actual system for organisation and routine so that my life actually felt structured. I feel like I'm getting pretty close to having what that looks like nailed now, and it feels great!
Next week, I'll be sharing about how creating a healthy sleep pattern has genuinely made my life better, and some of the steps I've been taking lately to get it back on track.