EP 169: Ten Things Saving My Life Right Now


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Welcome back, friends. I'm so happy to be here. It is the first week of March, and just every year, I feel like, "Oh, this is the true beginning of the year," and as it turns out, it used to be the true beginning of the year, and then some old dudes messed with the calendar that used to be ten months, made it 12 months.

And now we weirdly start in January, unless you're me, and it's truly the beginning of the year. Hi, it's nice to be here with you. Today's episode is about ten things saving my life this week. So without further ado, the number one thing that's saving my life this week is my friend Cindy Spiegel published her brand new book called Micro Joys, Finding Hope, especially when Life is Not Okay.

This book has been an absolute balm on my soul. I am having a rough start to this year. It feels a little off-kilter. After several years of being off-kilter and reading this book, I was on the launch team, got an advanced copy, and have mine in hand. Reading through these essays has, like I said, been an absolute balm on my soul.

Life is hard, and we're wired to pay attention to the bad stuff. And that's because paying attention to the bad stuff keeps us safe and alive, and we can perpetuate the human race and keep moving on, right? And yet when we only focus on the bad stuff, the real stuff, as everyone likes to call it, can lead to a bleak outlook on life.

So Cindy's book of essays, Micro Joys, highlights the darkness through her storytelling of what she's been going through the last few years. Still, it also addresses the small, heartbreakingly beautiful, joyous moments that we can miss if we aren't paying attention.

At the end of each essay, there's an invitation to try finding micro joys in your life. And it was this back and forth between these personal yet universal stories. I was crying within the first few pages of this book. I cannot tell you how much I love this book. I love the way it looks. I love the essays. I love being grounded in your life and experience in this sometimes dark place, yet still finding these bright bursts of joyous delight.

In what could otherwise be a dark, bleak time. So if you still need to check out Cindy's work, you can get micro joys anywhere books are sold. And I will keep this book beside my copy of her first book a year Positive Think. So be sure to check that book out.

It just came out this week; Cindy was wearing a hot pink suit on the Today Show. I'm telling you this book, and Cindy herself is like a bottle of champagne. Ugh. Barely contain it. It's effervescent. Oh, I can't say enough about how much this book.

The two things saving my life this week are purging all the clutter. Oh my God. I don't know if this is a winter thing, if this is a fall thing, is this is a shedding of what no longer serves you, or if it is just your response to our, I'm calling it a mini house refresh. We just had the entire interior of our home painted.

But there was a lot of deferred maintenance in our 118-year-old home. So there was a lot of fixing of tiny things and big things. And the baseboards to the ceiling got redone, which is so spectacular. It's so beautiful—our painter is an absolutely delightful human to work with.

Oh my God. It was like moving without moving. We were shuffling from room to room, depending on where he was working. And so I spent a lot of time moving my possessions and thinking, do I even really need this anymore? And the answer a lot of times was no. And so part of what's saving my life is the ongoing support of decluttering.

Decluttering is part of my daily life, self-care, and sanity, and having the clutter-free home process course community that I am part of through tidy Revival. Oh man, that crew there has kept me going and feeling okay; I have this. Every win is a win. We can make this house so beautiful.

And it's an ongoing process, exactly like how we care for all the other things in our life. The third thing saving my life this week is the restaurant gift card. Hello. If you have a student inclined to give teachers gifts for any reason on their birthday, thank you.

Teacher appreciation week, holidays, end of the year gift, I implore you. Please give your teachers restaurant gift cards. These have saved our life. All of the kitchen surfaces, from baseboards to ceiling to cabinetry, were wet. We needed to go out and give that kitchen the time to dry and cure.

And those restaurant gift cards were the perfect antidote. Oh shit. We moved without moving. The number four things saving my life this week are friends who say, please come to my house because I'm going to be at work, or Please come to my house. I will be at a meeting, or please come to my house and use my office because I have room, nobody is working on my house, and I haven't touched all my possessions.

You are more than welcome to come over and watch my TV, use my internet, or cook a meal in a space that isn't also a construction zone. So special shout out to Catherine for providing respite for me during the day and afternoons. So when we were at a school, and our house was still being worked on, we could be out of the way.

Providing respite for families with work done in their house is always welcome. Thing number five of things that are saving my life this week. Slow Book Club. That's what I'm calling my book club from now on because we read slowly. We read chapter by chapter, and in this case, our latest.

The slow book club read was my book, the Essential Guide to 100% Guilt-Free Self-Care. We read section by section. There are four sections. We got together once a week during February. We had these deep discussions where people were able to. Interact with the words, interact with the ideas, and come together to see how they could put what they had read into their daily lives.

Oh, it was a thing to beholden. And then I started to see book reviews about my book on the internet, and I had no idea how much that was going to be like. Again, a bottle of champagne. Every time I see a review on the podcast or the book, I'm like, oh my God, people are doing this. They're like interacting.

They're getting something from this work. So if you haven't yet read the book. Go to your favorite bookseller, go to your library, and request it. You can always get it from Barnes and Noble, the website, whatever. When you're done reading the book, give a review because this shows other readers that this book is worth their time.

This is a book that perhaps they want to do for their book club or give us gifts for all their—and family and Mother's Day and all those things. Also, if you haven't let yet left a review on the podcast, again, it gives other listeners a chance to go, oh, people listen to this show. I should listen to it.

It also tells the algorithm that people are listening, and then it shows up in the, oh, you should listen to this show if you like it. You know how it goes. We have to provide social proof so other people go, oh, this is worth my time. This reminds me, I will also leave some ratings and reviews on other people's books and podcasts, but that's what I'm asking for this month because it's my birthday month.

So if you still need to do a rating and review for the book and the podcast, please do. All right. My friend Katrina Blair's blog is the sixth thing saving my life this week. She is all about, Window treatments, and it's like modern California casual living. Katrina's house looks like it belongs in Sunset Magazine, which I love.

So during this entire mini-refresh of our house. I kept going back to her blog and looking at her window treatments, her hardware, and her. Even things as small as a hinge. I had no idea how many decisions I was going to be making. During this refresh project, the decision fatigue was enormous because you know what the internet has; it has all the options.

I was like, oh, I don't know what keyword I need, so I would go to Katrina's Blog and look at all of her gorgeous photography in her beautiful, modern, casual California home and go, oh, I like that. Let me see what keyword she used.

And then I could search for what I was looking for. And if you still need to check out Katrina blair.com, you can look at her beautiful interiors and her many projects. She, her husband, and her family have an indoor-outdoor situation that is so enviable.

I want to live at Katrina's house. So having a trusted source for ideas was invaluable. So Katrina, thank you for putting it out there, friend. The number seven thing saving my life this week is naps, y'all.

This is an underrated activity. I took so many naps recently when I was sick.

Oh my God, by the way, I was so sick with like kid germs wasn't covid. How do I know? I tested myself and tested my kid every day. But we were sick for a solid week, each with barely any overlap. Ooh. All I could do was take a nap to get through the day. And I was so happy to have a little respite at Catherine's to do that.

But I was reminded how restoring maps could be. Number eight thing saving my life this week is my upcoming trips planned with friends.

I have one later this week. I've got one in May. They require packing lists and planning and outfit planning and looking at. Things for our destination and oh my goodness, I forgot this part, like this. I'm like, Ooh, this is pre-pandemic behavior. It helps with my mood to know that I have exciting things coming up on the calendar with people that I love.

My word this year is delight; I just recently read a book called The Fun Habit. One of the things that they talked about in the fun habit of unlocking joy and delight is having experiences that you're looking forward to that anticipation.

It helps with increasing those joyous and delightful feelings. Being there is another part of the experience, and savoring it afterward by taking photos and, having souvenirs and stories to tell, reflecting on it are all part of the experience. And just those things can help, like mood regulation.

Anyway, super glad to have some. Pre-pandemic behavior is happening here because I'm coming out of a bit of a shell I've been in. Interestingly, much of the world has already moved on, but I'm over here. I'm here to let you know I am traveling again.

I am hanging out with friends. I am going on trips and feeling optimistic about how that's going. Number nine on my list of things that are giving me life, saving my life this week, is something again that I can't believe I have to say this, but man, having a healthcare provider and it's specifically a health provider team for different parts of your life.

It was such a gift when I was sick, I could email my doctor, explain my symptoms, and she could provide medication to help with my symptoms. I have some ongoing long-term health concerns. Nothing serious, but health concerns that require a different kind of testing and another type of treatment options, and knowing that I have a team behind me that sees me as a vital part of the team and is willing to work with me to give me options.

They're super responsive; they're available. By phone, by video, or by email. It makes this whole taking care of myself project less daunting, giving me life this week. And finally. Last but not least, the thing I need most to feel like myself is alone time. So number 10 item saving my life this week is alone time.

We all need it, but it took a lot of work to come by alone during our house refresh. Even though we had the best experience with our paint. The actual best seems like super energy, neutral, quiet, all these things, but just having somebody else in the house during the day, I was like, there's no alone time, and now I feel frazzled.

So I'm so happy. To have my house back during the day, my introverted heart is super duper happy getting my energy back. I'm feeling better. It's my birthday month. I'm so excited. So I would love to hear from you; come over and find me on Instagram at Tammy Hackbarth and tell me what things are getting you through the last few weeks of winter 2023.

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