Okay, maybe fall hasn’t technically arrived, but September 1st marks the beginning of fall in my mind. That’s when I bust out the fall decorations and apple spice candles and start mentally preparing for wiener roasts, changing leaves, and all things cinnamon.
Fall also marks our jump back into busy homeschool life. With three kids between 11 and 15, their subjects have gotten a tad more complex than in the early years, and juggling them all tends to max me out. Cross country and basketball take over our days, and meals become a quick sandwich between events. Throw my writing endeavors into the mix, and making space to breathe so that the day doesn’t swallow me up becomes not just optional, but essential.
Sound familiar? Maybe the events of your days aren’t the same, but busyness can quickly consume and sap us if we’re not playing offense. So let’s be intentional!
Here are five ways to force a pause and focus our hearts in the middle of a busy day:
- Take five first thing. I am not a morning person and would sleep until 9am every morning if it was an option—but it’s not. I know starting the day off on solid, peaceful footing is important, but that’s hard to do when you roll out of bed and immediately stumble to the stove to make breakfast for the fam (a typical scene at my house last semester…oops). When I’m deliberate to take just five quick minutes alone before exiting my peaceful bedroom, using that time to pray for the day ahead and get my priorities straight, it makes a world of difference in my focus and my attitude, which then is reflected in my kids.
- Plan ahead for a longer time of solitude. Whether it’s ten minutes or two hours, plan out a chunk of time the day before to spend in a way that fills you up and lets your body relax. Dive into a new book of the Bible or a devotional, do some deep stretching, and pay attention to your breathing. Relax your shoulders and your forehead. (Odds are they’re tight right now, yes??)
- Phone a friend. Make a real phone call to a friend or relative who “gets” you. The chat doesn’t have to be long, but even a quick conversation with a loved one can do wonders in boosting our energy and mood.
- Sprinkle in 30 second pauses throughout the day. When you feel things piling up and your head is spinning, go into a different room (if possible) and quiet your mind for even just 30 seconds. Breathe deeply, pray for peace and strength, realign yourself with what God’s doing in your day, and then return to your tasks at hand. This is often enough to break the cycle of overwhelm that wants to take root.
- Crank up some music. Sometimes we can’t physically get away from our busy/stressful situations; at least not in the moment that we want to. At these (and other) times, I turn to music. Music has power and is proven to boost endorphins and make you relax. Worship music strengthens me and helps me get centered, but so can oldies and instrumentals. So turn on something that will fill you with positive messages and bring you joy while you’re in the thick of the busyness, and let it suffice until you can physically take a pause.
And of course, a quick silent prayer for peace and strength requires no alone time or special conditions whatsoever, so go ahead and sprinkle those throughout your entire day too. You’ll be glad you did. Your family will be glad you did. And God will certainly be glad you did. After all, he loves caring for and spending time with his kids. (Yes, you!)
How do you take time to pause during your busy seasons? I’d love for you to share your ideas in the comments so we can all benefit! 🙂