Protecting Your Peace
I’m super into marketing strategies. Like… embarrassingly into them. All a product has to do is switch up its packaging and I will purchase it just because it looks cool.
I try to be more hesitant when it comes to the influencers I follow on social media. Buying my husband body wash based on its aesthetic is less risky to my well being than following people who don’t promote good habits. I try to filter out the pages that leave me feeling more bothered than inspired.
One of the influencers I do follow isn't even really an influencer per say. She isn't trying to sell anything. She isn’t promoting anything for follows or likes. She just shares her life. One of the things she incorporates into her household and her well being is the idea of protecting your peace. At all costs. If you can work this down to a science your life will thank you for it. Your life will ultimately mirror what you’re willing to put into it.
If you know me personally I am a ball of stress and anxiety almost all of the time. I struggle with having consistently good days. Lately I have been tired and unmotivated. I’ve been eating like shit and getting angry more often. I’ve been bottling resentments and focusing on negative energy. I’ve been a half empty type of person. When you’re raising little ones you somehow, in all of the less time you have to yourself, find more time to reflect on what you’re putting back into the world through your tiny humans. Slade started to have mood swings and trouble paying attention. He was easily upset and had a hard time adjusting to rooms full of people. I think he was mirroring what he was living with and that was my bad attitude.
Enough is enough, right? I'm tired of feeling tired. I want to protect my peace, too.
I love talking about this idea of, “Protecting your peace,” because people always find it so interesting and are so invested. I think it’s honestly just because we all crave simplicity and calmness within our everyday lives.
This will look different for everyone, but make your list. What’s stealing your peace? Write it down. Soak it in. Come up with some reasonable solutions and give them a go.
Here’s a list of some things that steal my peace and how I am working towards fixing them:
Spending too much time on my phone aimlessly scrolling social media.
I NEVER leave social media feeling more fulfilled than before I logged on. I like sharing pictures of my son but, honestly, even that has started to steal peace from me because people have started to use it as a substitute for ACTUALLY seeing my son. I like seeing pictures of my nieces and nephews, but I’d be happier if I made more of an effort to go see them in person anyway. Slade would love it, too. I set screen time limits on my phone. I allow 30 minutes a day. On Sundays I try to eliminate being on my phone at all.
Talking poorly of other people and their life decisions.
It makes me feel bad about my character and never makes me feel any better. I used to call it venting, but it doesn’t truly serve a useful purpose. Their life is not my life to live. Their lessons are not my lessons to learn. More breeds more. More negativity breeds more negativity. More positivity breeds more positivity. Easy choice.
Complaining about attending social gatherings and nit picking things that happened while we were there.
I am practicing saying, “No.” Not in a rude way, not in a dismissive way, but rather in a, “No thanks, I cannot attend this one. Maybe next time,” way. I have a tendency to stretch myself thin because I worry I'll disappoint people or I'll look rude. I do this so often that it makes it hard to enjoy being at anything anymore. If I go when I want to and stay home when I don't, I'm more likely to happily attend in the first place. As long as I protect my choice in doing so.
Feeling like I'm not being attentive to my husband’s love language.
I haven’t exactly figured out what my love language is just yet because it changes by the day, but Cole's love language is touch. He loves to cuddle on the couch and just be together. I have a hard time with that because I love being comfy all by myself. This can cause a sense of guilt for me and a sense of frustration for him. I used to want to love him in my love language because it was what I preferred. I’ve found out that you have to give love in their love language and accept love in yours. I take more time to slow down and notice when I’m not doing so.
Letting things, such as laundry, pile up.
I, at all times, have three loads of laundry to do. I have no idea how, what, or why this happens but it drives me freaking nuts. A way that I'm working to eliminate the stress is a capsule wardrobe. My closet is so cluttered with things I don’t wear and I always am wearing the same couple of things because I look and look and get so frustrated I just grab what feels comfortable. It ends up being the same old thing everytime. A capsule wardrobe is when you take existing pieces you have and pair them to create other outfits. So, for example, you end up having 3 dresses, 5 basic tees, 3 pairs of jeans, 2 jackets, 2 sweaters, etc. You find ways to make all of these outfits work together in different ways so they end up coming out to dozens of different outfits. You hang them together and take pictures so you can easily refer to cute outfits that you do, in fact, already own. You also don't have to wash after each use because you want to fill your closet with sustainable pieces rather than fast fashion.
Feeling like our dog, Sam, should have a better life.
Sam used to go to work with Cole every single day and loved being a farm dog. Two years ago she was hit by a truck and couldn’t go to work anymore with Cole. She hates being stuck at home all day, especially without Cole because he is her person. We don’t have neighbors very close at all so I want to just let her run in the yard during the day, but if a car comes by she will chase it and risk getting hit again. We decided to buy her an invisible fence so I have peace of mind and she has the opportunity to explore freely again.
Always having to think of what to make for dinner or lunch.
This is soooo hard for me. Mix it with the stress and cost of grocery shopping and the anxiety that I'll possibly waste so much of what I buy. I dread it. I searched and searched until I found this idea of doing theme nights. For example:
M: Crockpot night
T: Leftovers night
W: Italian night
Th: Taco night
F: Cook with kids/kids favorite night
S: Takeout night
Su: Grill night
Whatever works for your family. For me, this makes it way more exciting. I feel like I can approach mealtime as a tradition our kids will grow up learning and loving rather than an endless, “What do you want for dinner tonight?” lifestyle. I’m really looking forward to starting the cook with your kids nights because Slade will LOVE that. I’ll just love the bonding it brings.
I have a whole list saved with dozens more because I really wanted to be raw and honest with myself about things I want to approach from a position of peace rather than however I have been deciding to deal with them thus far. The idea is to just simplify life and get back to the basics. What makes you happy? What doesn’t?
There’s also this idea that when you feel stressed: serve. I have loved using this trick. When I am having trouble finding motivation or I'm stressed or sad or just at a loss of direction, I give Slade a bath. I brush his hair and put lotion on his legs and cuddle him in his towel on the couch. I take him outside. We go for a walk. I cook him something super yummy. I take him somewhere where he can be free. It always, always works. When I put my effort into serving something when I'm stressed I feel useful and reminded of my position and importance in life.
Slow down. The saying, “The days are long but the years are short,” always scares me. I don’t want the years to be short. I want to soak every ounce of them up and enjoy them. Slow down at meal times. Don’t be thinking about the dishes you have to do when you’re done. Get ready in the mornings even when you have nothing to do that day. It’ll keep you feeling put together. Go to therapy and devote an hour every few weeks to unpacking anything you weren’t able to put down. Go outside for the last hour before bedtime and just watch your kids run through the yard and jump on the trampoline. Sit at the dinner table every night and put your phones across the room. Walk out of the house when it’s a disaster and go get ice cream with the family. Sit in the warm sunshine in the mornings before the kids are awake and breathe in fresh air while you sip your coffee. Listen to your body. Is it telling you to slow down? Is it telling you it craves peace? Whatever it’s telling you, give it just that.