There are so many scheduling systems out there that it can make my head spin. By nature I am not a scheduled person. I am a very go-with-the-flow, don't-fence-me-in, wide open spaces kinda girl. I live for the moment and love spontaneity. I like to live intuitively and as the wind blows me.
But a few years ago I started some basic routines in my life that gave me a skeleton plan for my day which eased much anxiety. Awakening, drinking my coffee while reading, making my bed, eating breakfast, starting a load of laundry, emptying the dishwasher. Having the never-ending dishes and laundry relegated to a routine kept me freed up to pursue other creative interests so that those chores weren't always haunting me. We also began a "quiet time" for all of us in the afternoons after eating lunch and playing outside. This gives all of us an hour alone to calm our minds, bodies, and spirits by either sleeping, writing, reading, or thinking. I also try to clean up the common living spaces (living room, dining room and kitchen) before dinner so that we can really relax in the evening. And before I go to bed I *try* to make sure the kitchen is clean, look over the calendar, and if I am lucky, program the coffee maker. The nightime routine is not always successful because of having a fussy baby and the exhaustion I feel after dinner. I just want a good book or some great reality TV and just veg :)
Because of my love for simplicity, we don't have a lot of outside activities or rushing around so our lives lend themselves to lots of unstructured time at home. Lately though I have been blue and knew I needed more structure and sensed that the children craved more too. We were feeling aimless and as the Bible says, "without vision the people perish". I had lost vision, and as a result, I felt I was emotionally perishing. This led to an afternoon away at the library all by myself. I pondered. I dreamed. I examined. I wrote. I grieved. And by the end, I received vision. I can see more clearly where I want to go and now needed to figure out how to get there!
I realized that in order to feel good (emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally) on a regular basis so that I can fulfill my home vision, I needed the following things in my life daily:
- Plenty of sleep--go to bed by 10:30pm (which is amazing b/c I have always been a nightowl...but with young children I realize I need more sleep)
- Plenty of water--try to drink at the top of every hour
- Eat regularly--I need protein for breakfast, a snack of nuts, and a well-rounded lunch. It is very easy for me to skimp on meals because I want to get stuff done while the baby is happy. I end up not taking care of my body by giving it plenty of fuel.
- Exercise--I loathe exercise for physical health but realize that just a short walk alone every day would do much for my emotional health.
- Eat my spiritual daily bread--time reflecting in the Psalms and reading about how Jesus lived gives me hope, perspective, peace, and an anchor for tumultuous times. I need truth to actively replace lies in my life that keep me down.
- Journal my feelings--I internalize so much and keep many of my negative emotions inside since I am with the children all of the time. Writing will allow these to come out, be exposed, and healed.
- Afternoon rest time--a break to rest, read, reflect, recharge...a siesta!
- Plan my days more--"idle hands are the devil's workshop" has much truth in it. Too many unplanned days leads me to unhealthy reflection/navel-gazing which keeps my focus off of the greatness and goodness of God and my role to serve my husband and children. It also keeps me from being productive, creative, and purposeful. I have now come up with a loose schedule that keeps us moving hourly to another goal yet with a heart for flexibilty and interruption. I started this past Tuesday and it has really helped me in all areas and I am much happier (which means my children are much happier too!)