I’m not sure if it was three or four years ago I found Dan Siegel’s healthy mind platter there are so many good things to do in a day that it became very overwhelming. I was overwhelmed by good and healthy options, it sound nice, but it didn’t feel nice.
Dan Siegel’s healthy mind platter helped me visualize the good things to do in a day, such as mindfulness (time-in) and down time. When I first found it, it was difficult to imagine being able to really have time for everything.
When I became a new mother, laundry, dishes, meals, seemed like such a struggle, but I was working full time and taking my baby with me, so that’s part of why it was difficult, but it may just always be difficult anyways.
The first thing I added was exercise, that took a few months to be able to do and imaging being able to do anything more, then about two months later, sleeping enough meaning sleep training, which is what worked for us, then after two weeks of that I may have added something else, but to this day I don’t give myself much play time.
There are about four hours I don’t need to micromanage my 4 year old now (the green and yellow ones), or perhaps I should say I don’t choose to, but it feels right.
I’m lucky my son is very anti-clinging so he plays most of the day around us, but without micromanaging. I make sure to appreciate him and connect with him at least an hour after the whole day of him just enjoying what activities we are doing or free playing as he chooses.
The three hours that remain are for relaxing in the morning to wake up, perhaps checking email, which is my connection to the world I don’t own a cell phone for personal use, at night I decompress and on a good day I’m done with my writing and simply relax with the family or alone depending on the day, the most enjoyable hour is the writing hour. Today I’m late, but my husband seems okay with me writing.
I think the healthy mind platter has some good ideas, it’s very hard to work all those things into the time remaining after a job, a commute and meal prep and responsibilities, but one thing that helped me was not worrying about an hour, just doing 10 minutes, or 5 minutes, or one activity such as a short (2:29 second) guided meditation video (this one has satirical profanity, but it was the one I started with because it seemed approachable and made me laugh). Looking at the platter again for the first time in years, I’m surprised it doesn’t have gratitude and humor, both of those things improved my life quality more than some of the things that made the platter, also reflecting on purpose (ikagai) isn’t the same as focus, time management check in, and values based living alignment or self-leadership time are also worth more to me than many things on this platter.
I am still working on our day being more relaxed, but I also have a genuine enthusiasm for early learning so those two things have a bit of natural tension between them.
Another tip that helped me is halving or quartering activities instead of skipping them. Like to get a break if I need one or someone threw up and I need to clean I can have a shorter music time rather than none, because if I have none my daughter gets thrown off and throws a fit, but it we do a shorter one we are all more at peace with that change.
Rachel Macy Stafford’s idea that it only takes six seconds to make a connection helped me, I literally started with six seconds of connection and when my life changed I got more time due to not having commutes. But the difference from relaxing with deep breathing or giving someone a “real hug” for six seconds seems to be more important than going from six seconds to ten minutes, it’s the idea that there is any importance at all in relaxation or connection or exercise that shifts the way planning goes that is more important than hitting a certain amount of minutes.