The struggle is real, my friend. Bags under my eyes, God only knows how many days it has been since washing my hair (thank Jesus for dry shampoo) and the stains on my shirt from all of the spit up are starting to look like a purposefully planned pattern. Trust me, I get it. You. Are. Tired. People always tell me I should getaway. But there have to be smaller and more practical things I can do on a daily basis to instill peace in my life besides booking an extravagant vacation.
After having four kids in less than six years, I have figured some things out that work for me and keep me from hiding in my room in a fetal position. (Although I still sit in my closet from time to time to get away and eat a Hershey bar—don’t judge). Here are some things I’ve implemented that work for me:
1. Put my kids to bed ON TIME
I know your pediatrician already tells you to do this so that your child can properly develop. But seriously, I do it so that I can get alone time! If I get my kids to bed by 8 pm, then I can play Mario Kart or watch the Bachelor (oh don’t gasp, you watch it, too!) or read a book or drink a glass of wine.
2. Get outside
Some of you like to go for a run, while some of you would only run if something was chasing you (that’s me!). Some of you just need a walk around the block. Some of you just need to sit on your porch for five minutes in the fresh air. Get outside to refocus and refresh! Science says it’s good for you, so do it because science.
3. Listen to a podcast
There are so many great, free podcasts you can subscribe to on any topic. I try to take 20 minutes to myself to learn something new from a Ted Talk or a sermon or a mommy podcast. You could also download a book you’ve been meaning to read and listen to a chapter each day.
4. Walk around Target or Hobby Lobby ALONE
No explanation needed. Grab a latte and walk the aisles all by yourself. You can even leave your purse in the car. No cell phone and no wallet. Just you, your latte and get lost for an hour.
5. Take an extra long shower
Put your favorite worship song on, bring a glass of wine or sparkling water in a pretty glass with you and take a nice, hot shower. You don’t even have to get clean. Just stand there and take in the peace. Okay, maybe get clean. Who knows when you’ll get one again!
6. Designate quiet time in the house
In my house, we have a mandatory quiet time on weekends from 1 pm to 2 pm. Everyone goes into a different room and has the choice to either read, rest or play with certain, approved quiet toys like puzzles, legos or dolls. No exceptions. During this time, I try my best to rest and not go near my phone.
I’ve just recently started doing this, and it is the most relaxing and refreshing thing I’ve ever done. Since I’m not great at leading myself in a meditation, I like to use some beginner guides like Mindful Christian on YouTube. I like to do this before bed or when I first wake up, but if you have the chance to do this during the middle of the day and even include your family in it, you’ll experience peace, even if it is temporary.
In the military, they are taught to do yoga-like breaths to help reset the brain and release stress. The basic principle can be life-changing if you incorporate it into your daily life. Breathe in your nose for four counts. Hold your breath for four counts. Exhale through your nose for four counts. Hold your breath for four counts. Repeat this four times and continue about your day.
9. Go out to lunch or dinner with your tribe
There’s nothing like a lunch date with a dear friend. Try to do this at least once a quarter, and try to go without the kids so you can really focus on your friend. Try to go to a restaurant that you love and that the rest of your family hates!
10. Take a mental health day
Once a quarter, I try to take a day off in the middle of the week to just be home. I make zero plans. I don’t worry about catching up on laundry or any housework. Sometimes I take myself out to lunch or read a book at the park or get my nails done. I never feel guilty for taking a day like this to help me be a better mom and a better wife.
Some of the above recommendations require a babysitter. Hopefully, you have a trusted neighbor, friend or family member who can help you implement some of these things, even if only once in a while. Some of the above things would not be peaceful for you, and that’s okay! Let this list inspire some ideas for you so that you can make your own. Forgive yourself every day, and treat yourself a little more often. Thankfully, His mercies are new EVERY morning.