Some days it seems like the world in on fire. Everywhere you look or read, people are angry and upset. We seem so divided, so disconnected from each other. We are anxious, we are worried, and we don’t know what the future holds.
One thing that I think we all have in common is we want simplicity. So much of life is overwhelming, confusing, and complicated, especially lately. I want peace, I want things to be simple, and I want to experience some goodness and laughter and joy. And I think that is something that we all have in common as humans.
How can we focus on some positive things that can break our tunnel vision: to keep things simple and refocus on what matters? How can we get in touch with our own feelings and simplify our life?
Here are some simple ideas to get you started.
1. Start a gratitude journal.
Start by writing down three things you are grateful for each day. Gratitude shifts our focus away from fear and helps us see the good in our lives.
2. Connect with your breath.
Most of us shallow breathe (from our lungs). But what our body and brain need is deep belly breaths (diaphragmatic breaths).
3. Put on the right attitude.
Survivalist Bear Grylls says to put on the right attitude like a piece of clothing. And also that calm is contagious. And I agree, whether I like to admit it or not. My attitude sets the tone not just in my home, but everywhere I go.
4. Create simple routines that reduce stress.
For me, this happens most on Sundays but it can be done any time.
I write out the family schedule for the week on a magnetic one week calendar on our fridge so everyone can see it and we can all be on the same page.
Then I figure out which days I need to pack lunches. I lay out their clothes for the week, pack backpacks the night before to include snacks, hat, gloves, etc. Then I set out the water bottles needed to fill the next morning.
And make an effort to do any meal planning and grocery shopping for the week (this is still a work in process for me).
5. Quiet Times
Sometimes we all need a time out, including mom.
This has been especially helpful on days when I am trying to help with schoolwork. When the emotions get too high on either end (or both). I call a time-out and we both go to our rooms for 15 minutes. No electronics. Lights out. Time to take a break and reset.
6. Dance Party
We love music in our household and when emotions run high we can call a dance break. This helps us release some tension, get some endorphins going, and allows us to get back on track. If you aren’t a dancer, even listening to a favorite song can boost your spirits.
7. Pray or Meditate
I love to pray. It helps me to empty my mind of all the noise of the world and get to a quiet space. The focus of my prayer is completely different, more uplifting, and this has changed the way I pray for the better.
I also take time in prayer to listen. I believe faith is a two-way street and like in any conversation both sides have to have a chance to speak and to listen. Sometimes I just sit in silence. Do what works for you. Find time to sit in the quiet, breathe, and meditate or pray and connect. It is powerful.
8. Go for a 10 minute walk.
Getting outside in the fresh air can do wonders. Take the time to reflect, really feel your feelings, and take slow breaths. Notice the simple things around you: the sound of the birds, the feel of the cold on your face, and brightness of the sun.
9. Hug each person in your family for 30 seconds.
Physical embrace can help calm your body and your mind. Take the full 30 seconds to really hug everyone in your family. You both will feel lighter afterwards. Really.
10. Watch a video, tell a joke, or do something you find funny and can truly laugh out loud at in that moment.
Laughter can really be some of the best medicine, and can help reduce your stress. Take time to laugh, especially with someone else, to remember how good it feels to smile again.
In a world of chaos, we can focus on the simple, the good, and embrace gratitude. Know that you are not alone. We are all connected as human beings. You are needed and loved and doing a great job as a mother, even on the days you feel like you aren’t.
I would encourage you to choose joy. To choose laughter, compassion, and empathy. To embrace gratitude and find commonalties with other people, even when you think you are worlds apart. Because we are all together in our humanity.