As mothers, we are in overdrive most, if not all the time. Our energy is spent before we are able to intentionally decide where it goes. We receive a moment to ourselves and are unsure whether we should do some housework, work-work, or open that book we’ve been wanting to finish. More times than not I find myself going to Instagram, Netflix, or something that won’t fill me up. Looking back at the last year I felt I had spent the year in a fog or underwater. Never able to come up to the surface for a breathe. I thought, “Why is this so hard? Why is it so overwhelming?”
Every January our church participates in a 21-day fast where you give up something to make more room for time with God. What if this year I laid down ALL other distractions and just focused on the fundamentals for 21 days? For me this looked like easy meals without a lot of prep, giving up all social media, and hitting the pause button on my work outside the home. What are distractions in your every day? I made time to write down my priorities and how I could make my daily schedule reflect those priorities.
I love cooking, so I tend to get carried away with my meal plans. While this can be a source of joy for me, it can also become a source of stress when that lovely witching hour shows up, and I am running behind. For 21 days we ate soups, sandwiches, curries, and enchiladas. I also tried to pick items that I could prep in the morning or during nap time so that I had very little to do right before dinner.
My phone is always a huge distraction with the boys and all-the-time life. One minute I was posting a cute picture of them playing and the next moment I’d been swiping through food ideas for the past 30 minutes. It’s a distraction I gladly put down. I was shocked at how much easier it became to be fully present with the boys.
Lastly, I paused any work outside the home. I know this is not feasible for most, so maybe try setting harder boundaries of when you work to create space for being in the present moment. There are so many great resources on how to schedule your time, but for the sake of this exercise, try to simply create breathing room in your day. If there’s anything nonessential or not aligned with your top priorities, then lay it down, not forever but 21 days.
Now that we have created space in our day, what are we going to fill it with? Choose something that fills you up. This might be creating time for you to enjoy your coffee/tea, alone, on the patio. For some, it may be exercising. Others it may be time reading, journaling, or meditating. Try not to set too difficult of a schedule, but know you need to do that one thing, for you, at least once a day. As your weeks progress, gauge how you feel and adjust accordingly. Personally, this extra time allowed me to read and reflect, without this hum of all the other things I could or should be doing.
Once the 21 days ended, I had a clear vision of what was important and necessary versus what was a distraction. Now I take a week every other month to reset throughout the year. This allows me to realign with my God and my priorities, quieting all the other distractions that life throws our way.