We are stuck in a vicious cycle. Dirty dishes in the sink, toys everywhere, bills and mail lie unopened covering a quarter of the dining table. The fish tank is growing things, you’re down to your last pair of underwear, your kid has spaghetti dried in his hair.
It’s easy to feel frazzled on the daily.
“I have so much to keep up with. It’s so overwhelming that I’m not going to do any of it.”
After you trip over that tiny rubber boot for the 4th time, you realize you’ve got to pick up a bit. Once you get your house in order, you feel calmer.
“Look how clean it is! Too bad it will only look like this for another 4.5 seconds.”
That scene has played out in my house more often than I care to admit. I wish I could do it all and do it all well. I feel like I either have to clean and sacrifice my children. Or play with my children and sacrifice my house (and sanity!).
My first step to finding inner and outer calm is getting rid of the excess! We have so much stuff. I don’t know why it’s so hard to get rid of things. Sentimental reasons. Keeping up with the Jones’s. Filling an emotional void. Whatever the reason, it’s just too much.
As far as the dishes and laundry, that is just part of life. Embrace it. Include the family in it. Make it fun. Or eat on paper plates and never wear the same thing twice. One way or another, complaining about it and hating on it won’t make it go away and it definitely won’t make it any better.
If it takes more than 5 minutes to pick up everything, it’s time to purge. Konmari is a great approach for dumping all of the physical baggage. Once the physical baggage of excess and chaos is out of your home and out of your eyesight, your outer calm will be feeling refreshed.
Now what about that inner calm? This one is much more difficult. You can’t physically throw away emotional wounds, a dysfunctional upbringing, anxiety, depression, but you can take small steps to, figuratively, throw away that mental clutter.
First up, appreciation. You can’t feel all of those negative feels if you are actively appreciating.
Appreciate your child painting his body with fingerprint (or with that leftover spaghetti sauce). Appreciate the bubbles and the bath that allows your little buddy to become clean and oh so soft. Appreciate the people that bring joy to your life, the roof over your head, the sound of birds chirping on a crisp fall morning. Appreciate that 5 minutes that your toddler is playing independently while you get to sit and breath in the hot warm tea in your favorite mug.
Be present. Be mindful. Practice meditation. Headspace is a great app to use to dip your toes into meditation. It will guide you through your first 10 sessions for free. You don’t need much time to try it. If you are skeptical that it works, but you feel like you are at the end of your rope, give it a shot! It might surprise you.
Perspective and your inner voice. If you are talking to yourself like I did above, “too bad it will only look like this for another 4.5 seconds,” that’s not a very positive perspective.
“But it’s the truth!” you say.
Well, if you follow the purging above, then it won’t be completely destroyed because there won’t be enough stuff to cover ever inch of the floor.
Having a positive inner voice makes room for a positive literal voice. You speak what you think. As our lovely Cath wrote about, our voice becomes our child’s inner voice. So being mindful of our thoughts, our perspective, our voice, even being mindful of our purchases, will lead to a happier life. I recommend the book, What Happy People Know, for a huge boost in the happiness and inspired department.