Have you started any new rhythms or habits this year that is making life feel a little lighter? I’ve been doing a few things that have been adding a little more calm and a lot less heavy to my days. By taking simple intentional steps, I find it’s easier to dance and flow about my day with less of a fight or struggle.
Having a rhythm in place that feels supportive and empowering is life giving. Sure I have “them” days when everything feels off and the chaos of life settles in. But I find it’s easier to embrace the chaos when I have something sturdy to lean on. The list I’m about to share is my something sturdy. In the midst of madness and busy, these things empower me to welcome the crazy with a bit more peace.
In no particular order, a few things that are making life calmer and feel less heavy below.
1.) Wake up time : rising before my children // Getting up before my children gives me time to ease into the morning without having to attend to anyone else but myself. This time is sacred and therapeutic in a lot of ways and allows me to welcome morning with a positive tone and perspective.
2.) Sunrise workout : Nothing fuels me more than an early morning workout with just me and my music. Because my energy is best early morning, I feel I get the most out of my workouts during this time. Usually, the rest of the house is still sleeping during this hour so I’m able to focus without distraction and interruption. Win win!
3.) Getting a head start on the laundry : The perks to working out in the laundry room during the cold season is that I knock out a load of laundry first thing in the morning. Before I even start my workout, I’ll pop in a load. By the time I’m finished with my workout routine, I have a fresh load of laundry hung up to dry or ready to be folded.
4.) Follow through : This one is big and makes all the difference, especially in the moments that tend to feel heavy. Taking the few extra seconds or minutes to put things away or to finish a task is not only time saving but it’s nice that it’s done and out of the way, saving me from feeling overwhelmed in those moments that feel crazy. For example, sometimes when getting dressed I may try on a few different items before discovering the outfit I want to wear. Instead of waiting to hang up what I didn’t wanted to wear for later, taking the extra few seconds to do it in the moment is huge. This overall saves time and creates a behavioral pattern that is supportive in moment that can feel overwhelming. If there is a pile of clothes on my bed or on the floor in my closet, it’s too inviting for me to simply add to the pile. Before you know it, I could have half my sweaters on the floor that need to be put away. If there is no pile and everything is neatly in place, I’m more inclined to keep following the behavioral pattern and put what I don’t want to wear back on the rack or folded nicely on my shelf. Another example of this, is junk mail and paper. We all know how quickly paper accumulates and it can get overwhelming fast. When the mail is received, by either Aaron or I, we toss what we don’t need and file the things we do right away. This helps keep the paper off the counter and us feeling assured that all the bills and important documents are accounted for.
5.) Meal Planning : I have no shame admitting that I’m not the best at meal planning. But we’ve made a few changes over here that’s been helping me out a lot. Every Sunday Aaron and I go over our schedules so we know who will be around in the evening time. It’s more for me to know what his work schedule is and when I can count on him being home. How this helps us out, especially for me, is we determine who is in charge of dinner each evening. With Aaron being the better cook in the family, not saying I’m bad, he’s just better, he is most happy in the kitchen making food for his family. And of course, the rest of us are too!
Knowing who is cooking dinner each evening helps with overall planning and meal prep. On the nights we have activities, we usually have something going in the crockpot or have prepared the night before (i.e. cooking up quinoa, noodles, a meat choice, etc…) so that it’s easy and takes little time to put a meal together when we get home.
6.) A tidy kitchen : Our kitchen isn’t very big, in fact it’s tiny compared to others with little counter space. So a tidy kitchen makes for a warm welcome to meal and snack time. I’m thankful that I Aaron and I are both on the same page about this. In fact, back in our dating days, he was the one that taught me most about how to keep a kitchen in working order.
We don’t have a dishwasher, so staying on top of our dishes is key. The sink is usually full of warm bubbly water all day where dishes come and go all throughout the day until the last meal has been eaten. I find it doesn’t take much time if I doing them little by little all throughout the day, than if I were to leave them pile up. This method also helps to keep our surfaces clean and clear so when I go to prep a simple cheese and fruit tray for snack, I don’t have to fight the dishes for space.
7.) Diffusing and using essential oils : Some people wake up and prepare their morning coffee. I wake up and prepare my diffuser. It’s a ritual that sends peace waves all throughout our home. Our diffuser is always going. In fact, it’s probably the one thing that is used most in our home outside of dishes and the traditional things we use to cook and prepare food with. Diffusing oils and using them throughout the day sets a calming intention to our day.
8.) Making the beds : We have two bedrooms on the main level of our home, so making the beds is key to how I feel when moving about our home during the day. Messy and unkept spaces tend to make home in my head, leaving it difficult to focus on other things. It’s nicer welcome to walk by the rooms and use them when they are put together. Puts me in a calmer place, mind and emotion.
9.) Putting my cleaning routine on a schedule : Talk about a time saver. Ever since I put my cleaning routine on a schedule I’ve found I have pockets of extra time. Talk about gold. I now have a better schedule in place when it comes to those pesky chores that have to get done some way or another.
I find myself one morning a week scrubbing the floors in the early morning hour before anyone rises. I wash all the bedding on the same day now too which that, in and of itself, has been big time saver. I feel like a I have more freedom and less weight on my shoulders when it comes to cleaning and chores now which in turn makes for a calmer me.
10.) Setting a timer for social media : Do you create boundaries for screen time? When the iPhone updated to the new iOS, they created a feature that allows you to manage your own screen time. You can schedule time away from the screen by setting downtime hours and set time limits for apps. Your phone will then remind you when you’ve hit your limit and make the apps that you’ve chosen unavailable. Talk about life giving. I love this new feature and use it all the time. It has helped me create healthier boundaries with social media and overall phone use. I feel less anxious and more calm and at peace having designed boundaries that benefit me.