I’ve been thinking this week that I need to get back into a routine that incorporates writing. This year has been a difficult one because we have so many new things going on at school, and I haven’t been able to quite get a handle on it, which has meant I don’t have much time when I am at home, and the time I do have, I have spent either in front of the television zoning out or asleep on the couch. These reforms have been exhausting to say the least.
I really miss writing for myself, though. I have been able to keep up a little bit at Care2 and Teaching Tolerance, but this space has been hit or miss. I have an entire Evernote notebook dedicated to blog post ideas that just keeps filling up, but I can’t tackle any of them because I’m just too exhausted.
So, this week, I took a look at my routine. I get up early, make breafast, shower, go to work, come home, cook dinner, and usually grade some papers or plan. On most days, I usually squeeze in some type of housework so I’m not so overwhelmed on the weekends, and I try to get to the gym at least three days a week. By the time I actually get to the weekends, I feel so mentally drained, I can’t even think about opening up my computer. Oh yea, and I like to spend time with my husband at some point to make me feel like we still have some semblance of a relationship. He’s going through the same thing, so we have to actually schedule time to hang out together.
My goal of looking at my routine was to see what I could eliminate. Last year, I worked really hard and had a great year, but I rarely took work home. I thought getting to school a little earlier could help, so I tried that. It did help a little, but just made me more tired. I decided to only take larger assignments – papers, tests, etc. – home, and try to do all of my other grading and planning at school. I’ve been sitting on some papers for a while now, but the students don’t seem to mind, so I’m not too worried. The housework is non-negotiable, unfortunately, because I am very particular about my environment. I do try to leave things go instead of take care of them immediately like I used to do in the apartment, but I do tend to clean every week because I like a clean house. Plus, we now have two dogs. Have you ever vacuumed after having two dogs hang out in your house for a week? I emptied that vacuum bin three times the last time I vacuumed.
There was no way I was giving up the gym, and I’m certainly not giving up my husband, so that left cooking.
If you have been around here for a while, you know that I love to cook. There’s just something calming and satisfying not only about making food, but about eating a good, home-cooked meal. More than that, I see cooking as a way to provide for my family, and also as a way to have a healthy relationship with food. For a long time, I counted calories like it was my job. When I finally figured out that even low-cal options are often super processed and, therefore, pretty unhealthy, I decided to give that all up in favor of listening to my body and finding really great and healthy foods to make. On top of all of that, dinner is often the only time Tim and I have to spend together during the week before we move our separate ways to work for the evening.
I seemed to be at an impasse. I couldn’t give up anything for the writing without giving up a little bit of myself. So what’s a girl to do?
I turned to Pinterest, obviously.
I had been pinning a bunch of slow cooker recipes to make on weekends, and, after testing out a few, I’ve decided that I really like them. I get to cook, they’re delicious, and while they are not always healthy, they’re just as healthy as the easy meals I tend to make like pasta with alfredo sauce or ravioli casserole. Even better, they cook without me having to stand over a stove.
This weekend, I decided to freeze a few meals ahead to make in the slow cooker during the week. I figured I could just dump a meal in, turn it on, and come home to a delicious meal.
Now, you’re talking to the girl who unplugs the toaster before she leaves in the morning, so leaving the slow cooker on all day was a bit of a feat, but now that I’m home and everything was safe and totally fine, allow me to extoll the virtues of my slow cooker for a minute here. Dinner is cooked and waiting for Tim to get home, the kitchen is already clean, and I had to do literally NO WORK. OK, not none. I did have to dump the meal into the slow cooker, plug it in, and turn it on. But I can hardly count that as work.
This has given me time to play with the dogs, enjoy a glass of wine, and… well… write this blog post. It’s not a very exciting one, but it IS exciting that I had the time to write it!
I was nervous about leaving the slow cooker on all day at first, but I definitely think that this will revolutionize the way I cook (and write) during the school year.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s dinner time.
Photo Credit: Joelk75