State of the Homestead: Self-Sutainability

I thought I’d do some updates on what’s going on here. I know I haven’t been blogging much lately…I hope no one’s pining away between posts. 🙂 I’ll post these as a series over the next few days.

Area One: Self-Sustainability. A big part of what I’ve been doing lately is to actually practice techniques that can help me slow down and live at a sustainable pace. That old adage “Do all you can, and still get up and do it again tomorrow” does have TWO clauses, after all. I burned out pretty badly last summer…I really didn’t want to do a damn thing all winter. And yes, I know winter is traditional rest time, and there’s always a ton to do while the sun shines, but as the weather warmed up again, I realized it didn’t want to launch right back into the fray.

I still read other people’s blogs and think they just DO so much more than I do. I have time every day (almost) to read, watch a movie, get some extra sleep, and be cozy or silly or whatever with my sweetie. I have no kids (and no plans in that direction), no pets, no livestock. I do have a full-time job, but I also have a short commute and I truly get to leave my work at work after 40 hours each week. In many ways, my life is very, very easy, and I struggle with guilt about it being too easy. So I try to remember I am at my very best for the rest of the world when I do perceive myself as having rest, and time, and a lot of choices but few obligations. I can actually be more generous with my energy if those needs are met – so there’s no shame in getting a lot of rest and all that. And frankly, I hate feeling frazzled. Being stressed out isn’t some sign that I’m leading a good and proper life (no matter what this country’s work ethic has to say about that). So a couple of changes I’ve made:

  • Switching from aerobics to qigong and pitta-pacifying yoga. Quigong (or chi kung) focuses on moving slowly and allowing (not causing) energy to flow through the body and earth and sky. Pitta is the name of a body/personality type that’s very go-go-go. Having an excess of pitta leaves one feeling harried, manic, and overheated. So instead of pushing my yoga workouts to be cardio or strength-building, I’m focusing on “not working too hard.” (As my book says, “A Pitta working at 75% of her capacity is still doing more than everyone else in the room.” It’s a good thing for a lot of us “do-ers” to remember!)
  • Scheduling events in groups, rather than spreading them out. If I have two Preserving Traditions events in a month, I try to group them on adjoining weekends, so I still have a couple weekends in a row off. I’m also doing more repetitions of existing workshops, rather than building new workshops for every event.
  • Blogging less. I still value sharing ideas and the online communities I’m part of, but this is one area that was feeling like a burden: to not just do, but to then analyze, photograph, and post about it. I also let the “Cooking with Laura” project go. I still have a pig’s tail in my freezer…maybe I’ll do that this summer…but it was just to much to commit to.
  • Health. I’ve had some odd health things going on this year, but they seem to be clearing up. The severity of my cycles has eased noticeably. I’ve also been getting a worsening face rash for almost two years now. I had a couple months where I swear I was a were-teen: every full moon, my face would break out in an odd acne-like rash. A diagnosis of “rosacea” is not all that helpful, it turns out, and I ended up doing a number of things on my own. Don’t know if they helped, or if it just spontaneously went away on its own, but a combination of acne cream, soothing my inner Pitta, and a very “woo-woo” allergy-treatment and “DNA reset” technique (where the doc basically asks your body, “Hey, are you aware that you’re making her face look like a bad run-in with a yellow jacket hive? You are? Wanna fix that, or what? You do? Excellent.”) have seemed to do the trick. At least the miserable lumpiness is reducing and no longer increasing.


  1. aimee said,

    June 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    don’t feel guilty – rationalize! Doing LESS is one of the easiest ways to be green. What could be more climate friendly than a day spent reading a book or playing a board game with your sweetie? Just thing of all the resources you aren’t using!

  2. Suzie said,

    June 7, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Everyone reads your blog and think you do a lot more than them. Sometimes it’s true, sometimes it’s perception.
    The yoga is a good thing – I’d like to find a class I like out here. It was sort of a revelation that I can just be doing something restful, and that is all for me.
    Events- I’m with you – I’d much rather have commitments on the same weekend than commitments on multiple weekends.

  3. Toni said,

    June 10, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I’m in a similar situation: 1 full time job, 1 hub, no kids, livestock, etc, big garden and burgeoning blog. This is our first year in this home and garden, and we just can’t seem to get enough hours in the day! I can’t figure out where others get the time to raise kids, etc! I think they just get less sleep and aren’t as healthy. I’m convinced that all this stuff builds up and can really hurt you in the end. I too ended up with weird rosacea rashes at one point, but I’ve really found that a more balanced life makes a HUGE difference. As did bodytalk–was that your “woo-woo” technique too? 🙂

    Hope you don’t give up the blog entirely; I’ve just found it! But taking care of yourself to be able to give to the world is the most important thing. Good luck!

  4. LakeLili said,

    June 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Oh I have one kid, one dog, one father and no hubbie… and there are no hours in the day ever. I long for the days when it was just me and an active social life with people who wanted more than chicken and rice every night. And Toni you’re right, if I get 6-hours a night, its been a good night’s sleep. As much as I miss what I had, I wouldn’t change it. I have big gardens, run a home based business, home school my kid and am active in a wide variety of his activities and community organizations. What I do miss is the finacial freedom I had before my child came along…

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