6 things to help calm the chaos

silhouette of woman look and think with sunlight

There’s a weight pressing against my chest. It’s been there for awhile.

It’s rough out there right now. I hesitate to even open up my computer because there’s just SO MUCH — opinions, arguments, facts, lies, half-truths. I can’t deal with it and I know a lot of you can’t either. And that’s just the world stage. Regular life can be just as exhausting.

This morning I had a meeting with my grandmother’s care team. She has dementia and things are changing all the time. It’s heartbreaking to see the variations in her personality and I cherish the moments where things seem as they used to be.

But there’s no going back and every visit leaves me drained.

I’m learning though that I don’t always have to be in the trenches. I can take a break from it. In fact, I have to and that’s okay.

It’s okay for you too. Taking a break isn’t a bad thing. You can step away from the stress of work, home life, parenting, politics etc. In order to stay healthy and keep your mental faculties, we all need to find ways to escape. It’s hard to do, I know, but you can’t live in the muck. It’s like quicksand and will pull you down before you can even blink.

So here are six things you can do to step out of the sludge today and into a little bit of sunshine. They seem like no-brainers, but as I’ve found, sometimes someone just needs to tell you what to do to actually make you do it.

silhouette of woman look and think with sunlight

1) Take a walk.

Leave your phone at home and get outside. Hit up a park, nature center or just explore your neighborhood. Take deeps breaths and feel the sun (if it’s out!) on your face. If it’s not, feel the cool air against your skin. Appreciate the rain if it’s hitting your cheeks and remember that each day is a chance for renewal.

2) Get lost in a book.

One of my favorite escapes is a good book. I get so wrapped up in a storyline that I could easily lose a few hours, and sometimes that’s exactly what needs to happen.

3) Get lost in a TV show.

Yeah, yeah, television can be a giant time suck. BUT…sometimes it’s exactly what you need. Find a show that will help you escape reality for just a little bit. I ended my day that last few days by watching The Crown on Netflix and it was exactly what I needed. Now I’m obsessed with the Royal Family and I’m off to the library to find some good historical fiction book and biographies to feed my new interest. Back to #2.

4) Family Game Night

Before the kids go to bed each night, we used to read together. Lately though, they’ve been wanting to play games — like UNO, Candyland, Scrabble Jr. or Sorry!. It’s been awesome. Seeing their competitive spirits and having a devoted amount of time for us to be together and unwind has been the perfect things for all of us. We leave everything else behind and just focus on the four of us.

5) Meet a friend for coffee/dinner.

Life gets busy and sometimes I realize weeks/months have gone by without me seeing any of my friends. I need to be intentional with my time and make it a priority. I always leave a get-together feeling invigorated and happier.

6) Take a technology break.

It’s the hardest one but one that will likely have the most impact. We are all consuming these days and there’s no escape. Scheduling a black-out allows us to truly focus on the things right in front of us. It doesn’t mean we’re ignoring life; it just, again, allows us to be purposeful in our intake of information.

If you “need” the news, grab a physical newspaper. The bonus is you don’t have to read the comments! If you need escape, that’s where books come in. A technology break also allows for family time, ME time (gasp!) and gives the chance for trying new things. We all have that one thing we’ve been meaning to try — cooking, knitting, an art class, a new class at the gym. Now’s the time to jump in with both feet.

Again, I know these suggestions seem like no-brainers. But with all the noise out in the world, it’s easy to not hear the whispers of the obvious. I’m off to make lunch and take a quick walk around the neighborhood. I wish you all a few calm moments today. I hope you find the time to take them.

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