Happy Monday, Readers! I have had the house to myself all day because my husband had an overnight trip out of town. To begin with, I was a little bummed about hanging out by myself, but then I decided I really wanted to channel that time into not just some quality me-time, but also into something productive. Here’s how I did it and how you can turn your home alone time into a productive and pleasurable experience!
Take time to rest
One thing I’ve learned that will kill motivation faster than anything is being tired. So, the first thing I did this morning was sleep. It may seem counter-productive to sleep in instead of getting an early start, but, for me, it really helps to sleep until my body feels fully rested. If I’m having to drag myself out of bed rubbing my eyes and guzzling caffeine, it will be hours (maybe even dinner time!) before I finally feel energized enough to get proactive. This time around, 9 hours seemed to be enough for me to catch up on my sleep debt.
Start the day with something you enjoy
Again, it may seem like starting out this way is putting off things that need doing, but we all need a little time to enjoy ourselves. Especially those of you (myself included in just a few short weeks!) with kids! On the rare occasions you have time to yourself, be sure to nurture your interests and passions–or just paint your nails! Whatever helps you relax and enjoy yourself. For me, that was “wasting” time playing computer games and watching one of my favorite cooking shows. Here is a list of other things you might enjoy doing with your me-time like I do!
- Read a book you can’t put down
- Study a subject you enjoy but rarely have time for
- Take a relaxing bath with essential oils, bubbles, and candles
- Decorate your planner (this might just be me being a super nerd)
- Work a puzzle or color in an adult coloring book while watching your favorite movie
- Do an in-depth Bible study you wouldn’t normally have time for
- Plan your outfits for the week
- Pin your inspirations on Pinterest
- Take a long walk
- Write a letter to a friend
Set the stage for you
Do you enjoy peace and quiet? Or do you get lonely when you have the house to yourself? I tend to go back and forth between the two. Today, I was feeling like company, so I have had HGTV on all day playing in the background. I particularly love doing this when I want to watch TV for inspiration, but don’t want to invest hours and hours sitting in front of it. I leave it on and when I hear them about to do the final reveal on a house (which is really the only part I’m interested in seeing), I take a 5 minute break from whatever I’m doing to catch the very end of the show. If you savor the quiet when the house is empty, embrace the silence!
Get dinner out of the way
If your husband/family will be returning come evening, go ahead and get dinner out of the way so you can enjoy the remainder of the day uninterrupted by having to stop to cook. One of the best ways to do this is with a slow cooker! For Christmas, I was given a GIANT book of recipes for my slow cooker and it has been the best thing since sliced bread. I cook out of it at least once a week. Today, once I was finished with my me-time, I fired up the slow cooker so dinner would be waiting whenever my husband got home. The best part is that the kitchen is already clean and I won’t be spending time after dinner cleaning dishes. I’ve included today’s slow cooker recipe at the bottom of this post for your enjoyment!
After you have spent what you feel is adequate time indulging your interests, make a list and get as many things done as you want! I take frequent breaks, as I mentioned earlier, to watch the last 5 minutes of a TV show. If you start dinner in the crock pot like I like to do, you will probably have a boost of motivation just from having a clean kitchen you don’t have to worry about the rest of the day. Many of the things I wanted to accomplish today involved sitting in front of the computer, so here I’ve been most of the afternoon. The best part–I’m still going from that wonderful 9 hours of sleep and plan to spend the evening just as productively as my day has been!
Make time to move forward with your goals
With the ins and outs of taking care of a home and family, your personal goals might fall to the wayside sometimes. Be sure to spend at least a little bit of your home alone time taking baby steps towards completing your goals. For me, that was learning more about adopting a Real Food lifestyle and experimenting with my new Cricut Explore Air.
Slow Cooker Chicken Balsamico with Yukon Gold Potatoes
6 medium Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
8 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
8 cloves garlic, quartered
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
Salt & pepper
1. Put the potatoes in the slow cooker. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp and remove is to paper towels to drain, leaving the drippings in the pan.
2. Add the chicken to the skillet with the bacon drippings and season with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the rosemary and garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Legalize the skillet with the vinegar, scraping any browned bits from the bottom, and transfer the contents of the skillet to the slow cooker.
3. Add the broth. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5 to 6 hours, until the chicken and potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Sprinkle the reserved bacon over the top of the chicken and potatoes before serving.
Recipe from: Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever by Diane Phillips