CREATING CALM IN THE CHAOS.
This morning I sat with my Bible open surrounded by the kids and the dog. The house was a mess, the noise was escalating and I found myself dreaming of days gone by when I would send them off, uniforms and backpacks on, while I waved goodbye from the front door. I longed for moments of calm in my home.
Nonetheless I began to read Jeremiah chapter 29 and in verse 28 I read this, “The exile will be long. Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat their produce.” I got stuck on those words as I realised that these words are so relevant to you and I in our season right now.
I love that this is God’s encouragement to a group of people who were in a place they did not want to be (sound familiar?). The Israelites had been exiled from their promised homeland to a place called Babylon. And God’s instruction to them during that time was to build homes and plant gardens. God knew that even in a season you don’t want to be in, it is possible for beauty to come from desolate places.
I also love that God’s instruction to them was super practical; build houses, plant gardens. It wasn’t some big spiritual, theological answer to their circumstance. It was practical. It was about building an environment that would bring calm to their chaos. I am a big believer that if there is chaos in your physical world it will contribute to the feeling of being overwhelmed, under-prepared and out of control.
So, some practical tips to bring calm to the chaos; if you are struggling to feel motivated or find a rhythm perhaps these will help you.
KEEP SOME KIND OF ROUTINE.
Try and avoid staying up really late and then sleeping most of the day away. Keep your regular bedtime and wake up times. If you are struggling with motivation, having scheduled work time, exercise time, fresh air time, and down time will push you into creating healthy habits for each day. Sometimes when we lack motivation we need to create “have to’s” first that eventually evolve into “want to’s”.
MAKE YOUR BED EVERYDAY.
I have been doing this for years and I always feel like I can’t begin my day until my bed is made. It’s a physical signal to us that sleep time is finished and we are kicking into a brand-new day. A beautifully made bed not only creates a place of calm and comfort that will make you feel peaceful every time you look at it but it also means that at the end of the day you have a neatly made bed to slide into, and what could be better than that?!
This is something that seems so simple but makes the biggest difference to your motivation and productivity. If you are having a ‘blah’ day but you are sat in your pajamas then I could tell you in two words what you need to do to pick up your mood, well three actually; shower and dress.
SET YOUR DIRECTION AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH DAY.
Start each day by setting your direction for the day toward God. Set your mind toward Him. Set your language toward Him. Set your attitude toward Him. We cannot get to where God wants us to be if we don’t first set ourselves up to walk toward Him. I am going to be publishing a new blog post in the next two weeks that will speak into this area, so more on that then.
BRING ORDER TO YOUR ENVIRONMENT AT LEAST ONCE IN THE DAY.
This one has been a massive help for my own sanity. Everyday, after lunch (because let’s be honest, by lunch time the house is a total shambles), we have a “Tidy up time”. Everyone in the house spends 10 minutes putting all the things back where they belong. Actually, here’s a tip that could change everything; I have a box at the beginning of the hallway and anything of the boys’ that gets left lying around goes in the box. At the end of the day they have to return every item in the box to its home. It means my living area is less chaotic but it also means I’m not the one putting everything away all the time – life changed – mic drop!
EXERCISE AND GET FRESH AIR.
I have spoken to so many people this week who have said that exercising has been their number one tool for keeping themselves feeling calm and motivated. Fresh air is good for you. Getting your blood pumping is good for you. It’s good for your body and it’s good for your mind. This could be the one thing that you start doing that changes the lockdown game for you.
I had a ‘blah’ day last Friday. I woke up feeling very average and spent the morning in bed. I cancelled all of my FaceTime catch ups and was scheduled to hang online with two of my besties that evening. To be honest I was so close to rescheduling because I felt peopled out (how is that even a thing on lockdown?). I just didn’t feel like it. But I did it. And I am so glad I did. I needed a laugh. I needed to be real. I needed to check-in with someone. I needed connection.
Whether it is around the dinner table with your bubble or over Zoom or whatever platform you use, make sure you can check in with someone. Reflect, debrief, vent, celebrate and laugh. You need it.
END YOUR DAY WITH A RESET.
This is something I learnt to do a few years ago but have found it incredibly helpful in this season. Before you go to bed, reset your kitchen and living areas. Get rid of dirty dishes, wipe down your bench tops, reset the cushions, clear the clutter and take a glance at your following days routine. I like to write the next day’s schedule up for my boys to see and I also put out something for them to get busy with in the morning, mostly to avoid getting woken abruptly but a light sabre dispute or a nerf bullet hitting my forehead at six in the morning.
Hoping these have been helpful to you! Remember, you don’t have to do them all, choose one thing you think will make the greatest difference and do that.