Really? Seriously?

Ok, I know this is judgmental. I can’t help myself here. I saw a commercial for a new series, I think it’s called “Extreme Couponing” or something like that. From the preview scenes, the premise seems to be that some people (women) spend hours and hours clipping coupons, then are able to buy many hundreds of dollars worth of groceries for practically nothing. Now, I don’t know what these people eat. But when I see coupons, it seems like most of them are for items that I don’t eat, don’t need, don’t like, or can’t use. Or, you have to buy three things to get one free, or stand on your head and hold your mouth just so to get the discount….I don’t know….is it just me? Am I a coupon snob? I don’t feel like a snob. I’ve clipped, torn, folded, saved and forgotten many a coupon in my time. For years we subscribed to a daily paper, and the Sunday edition, with it’s booklet of coupons, was always a part of my Sunday afternoon routine. But alas, coupon management is not my strong suit. I’ve been known to carefully store coupons with exciting discounts (the few really great coupons I’ve ever found) until just after they expire….that’s when I find the ones I clipped with such anticipation, snuggled deep inside my purse…just as they become worthless little bits of paper.

I finally gave it up. To me, the whole thing is just a tease. I think I’m going to save money, but somehow it doesn’t work out that way. And here’s another thing I’ve learned. It may seem counter-intuitive, or even sacreligious. But I find that it’s better for me to buy everything for household staples – laundry detergent, toilet paper, cleaning supplies – at the grocery. It costs more to buy these things there, but if I go to one of the big box storesWalMart or Target, or a Sams or Costco – I always spend more on items that weren’t even on my list. Yes, impulse buying. So I’ve learned, over time, that it’s better to spend a little more at the grocery, and avoid the other stores as much as possible. Not that I have anything against any of these businesses….it’s just simple economics. Or more accurately, it’s Sheila’s economics. And it probably works at this point in my life because I’m not buying for a family any more. But regardless, it’s my system, and I’m sticking to it. And I do not spend hours getting ready for marathon shopping sprees. Maybe I just don’t know what I’m missing. But I’m coupon free, and loving it!

What does your body need today?

Today is Saturday, my one free and clear day of the week. Some weeks, I can be productive in a steady rhythm throughout the day, accomplishing more than I had on my list, and go to bed at night feeling tired, satisfied, pleased.

Other Saturdays are a study in coziness and relaxation. Even if I have a lengthy to do list, some weekends I am not able to move. I have good intentions, but I putter. I putz. I distract myself from doing chores and errands. I linger over coffee, sidetrack myself with a magazine or cooking show, I indulge in a nap late morning.

The question is why? Why am I an engine some days, and others, I can’t even turn the key in the ignition?

I used to feel guilty when I had an “off” day. Aren’t Saturdays at home supposed to be about catching up from the week, or getting ready for Monday? If you schedule a Saturday outing, a day of recreation, that’s different…that’s on your list. But just whiling away your day? Not on the program!

I finally realized that when your brain doesn’t give your body permission to take a day off, eventually, your body doesn’t ask for permission. It just takes what it needs. In extreme cases, this could result in actual illness, although I’m not talking about that scenario here. Why do we (I) think it is heroic and a good thing to be “productive” every day? Yes, I know Martha Stewart never misses a beat. But I am not Martha, nor do I aspire to be. (No offense intended…but I have to acknowledge reality.)

My reality is that I am generally a busy woman who loves to put a check mark beside items on my list. But balance is important, and time to relax, to restore, to just be, is as important…no, more important…than my busy-ness. Putting this need on the back burner doesn’t make me a super woman, it makes me inattentive to self-maintenance. There are many analogies to this: sharpening the saw (Stephen Covey); maintaining a vehicle, or putting my oxygen mask on before assisting others (my life coach). It feels counter intuitive. But taking time for myself, even if it is not scheduled, actually improves my productivity and my ability to give to others.

I may be slow, but light is breaking through.