Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Favorite ways to relax and refill

I'm joining in on the P31 Blog hop again this week!
P31 OBS Blog Hop
The topic I've chosen is "relax and refill"  - it's just perfect for me because I need that more than ever right now! This week is overflowing with activities and appointments, sandwiched between two very busy weekends. The garden is going crazy with abundance that needs to be quickly processed, two of three children are going on class school trips, in the evenings we are filling our honey into jars, and in the meanwhile, paperwork and clutter is piling up on the desk.

What I'd really like is a few minutes on this glorious summer day to sit down among my flowers (and bees!) with a cup of tea to reflect, to read a verse, to just be still.
But that's not happening! Instead I find myself fretting and running in circles, because just when I think life can't get any busier, even more things pop up. Just a few examples from this week. When I went to make school sandwiches Monday morning the bread was moldy. (A direct result of the weekend being too busy for shopping) And then my kids (with no snack) got caught in a rain deluge, without umbrellas, the boys each carrying home a years' worth of school art (unprotected, of course). The brownies I baked Monday night for my son's school were all gooey and unbaked in the center. I had to squeeze in a quick run to the store before school to buy treats for him. Last night's fish sticks came out of the oven still frozen in the middle. (Oven is not working!!) Of course my cat thought this would be a good time to injure his paw and I spent much time coaxing him into the cat box carrier and taking him to the vet twice. Not my nice cat, but the other one, my beautiful but timid black and white cat who hisses and growls. And since yesterday the electricity keeps going out in a few rooms of our house and we haven't yet figured out the source.
This is just too much!

When you have no time at all, how can you squeeze that essential life spirit back into your busy days and relax and refill when you need it most?

For me, the answer is I simply have to force myself to make time, even if it's just a few minutes. I say to myself the garden will wait, the paper clutter will not run away, this child will help with this task, the other child can do that task, I've already crossed five things off my list, now I will do something even more important.

If I don't, things are just going to get worse. 

These are some of my favorite ways to do this even in the midst of stress and activity.

Reflection by writing. Putting thoughts on paper. Checking into my blog, writing in my journal, scribbling down a few notes for my scrapbook to use another day when there is more time. Or just writing down a to-do list!

Appreciating nature. Taking a stroll around the garden and capturing a few images with the camera. 
Small pleasures. Sipping hot coffee and milk or calming lavender or chamomile tea and mindfully reflecting on how delicious, how comforting it is. Especially in my favorite red polka dot cup! A bite of my daughter's chocolate cake isn't bad, either.
Favorite music. I spend so much time chauffeuring my kids and half of the time I'm alone in the car, I have found great pleasure in taking those brief moments alone to listen the music that no one else in the family likes - Bach piano concertos, Pachelbel, Vivaldi, or jazz, or pop, whatever it is that speaks to my soul at that moment. My cat and I listened to harp and flute music en route to the vet and back and I think it calmed us both.

Sleep. Sometimes that little nap works wonders! 

Delegating tasks to others. Monday afternoon I was so exhausted by last weekend that I told my daughter I would take a quick nap but be up in time to make dinner. She told me to go ahead and take a long nap, she'd gladly make dinner. (Such a doll!) She used what I had picked up at the store differently than I would have, but it was perfect. Instead of the veggie stir fry I had planned, she made a roasted vegetable soup and used the zucchinis (that she and her brother would have picked out of the stir-fry anyway) to bake a chocolate cake.
Envisioning a beautiful, peaceful place. Sometimes I envision myself sitting on the shady banks of a river, watching the water rush by, and imagine all my burdens (however slight or silly they may seem!) being lifted and carried away. It only takes a moment and is so freeing.
Motivational words. Reading a small devotion or Bible verse or singing the lyrics of an uplifting song.

Laughter. Humor is a great antidote to stress. If there is nothing to laugh about, then a few jokes will help lighten up the mood, and thank goodness for children because they know so much better than adults how to smile and laugh generously. We're lucky too because my husband is always making jokes or saying funny things.

Exercise. An hour workout would be great but on those stressful days you know that's not going to happen. But even if it means just a walk around the block or taking the bike instead of the car, it always makes a big difference in my mood.
Spreading love. There is always time for a hug or a kind word, no matter how stressful I feel! 

I've noticed when I quit rushing around to make time to be relax and refill, all the crazy chaos will start falling into place and life will run much smoother. Because I know it's all part of a bigger plan and in the end, all will work out. And before you know it, there will be time again for that hour of exercise, a soak in a bubble bath, or not just a snippet of music in the car but a half hour at the piano, a morning full of being creative, or an entire weekend to unwind.

Have a lovely, lovely day! 


Tonya McCoy ~ Proverbs 31 Ministries OBS Team said...

Karen, these are some awesome ideas for relaxing & refilling! I so needed to hear all these ideas. I have been feeling a little thinly stretched lately myself. I love the music idea! It is amazing just what music does for my soul! Thank you so much for sharing!

Blogger Loves The King said...

Love your blog today and love all the beautiful pictures. Those blue flowers or are they white - they look sort of like my shasta daises are pretty. I am going to have to search for a zucchini chocolate cake - looks really good and I have zucchini right now. I too love sipping coffee and tea on those nights I can't sleep. Your blog brought peace this morning reading all your thoughts. Thanks for sharing. Debbie W. (Proverbs 31 Ministries OBS Team)

Candace Creates said...

So many great tips here, Karen! I feel like I should print this out and hang it somewhere :). I love the idea of using a favorite cup. I always grab the first coffee cup I see but I have so many others I truly love. Thanks for that reminder, which I know will make me smile each morning with my tasty latte!

sabrinaebert said...

Awesome! Great ideas for refilling and relaxing. thst one and the verse a merry heart doeth good like medicine comes to mind. Lets never forget brings us healing. Love that you reminded me of that. Blessings!

Anna-Marie Field said...

Some wonderful ideas here,Karen!!! WOW!!! How wonderfully original your daughter was with the same ingredients!!!! It's wonderful!!!! Music really is a wonderful way to destress!!!! Have a happy weekend!!!
AMarie xxx