Finding the Center Again

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The busy-ness of life can sweep us off our feet. I’m looking to reclaim some balance.

This weekend as I was staring down an impossible to do list, I stumbled on Renee’s post about getting back to center. Renee always seems to have something to grab me and make me wonder how she can see inside my head. In her post she talked about the things that she does to take a step back from the go-go-go and find equilibrium. For her that meant cleaning the kitchen, skiing, and cooking.

I spent some time on Saturday doing those same things. Well, minus the skiing part. And it was a restful moment to just “be.” It helped me feel “right in my skin.”

The Root of All Good Things

Life marches on, at light speed, even, and I want to be able to keep pace. So, I’m looking for more ways to center myself. I’ve started journaling my prayers again. And in a new way, I’m also talking with God each day about each of my peeps in very specific ways, looking for wisdom for whatever challenge that individual has in that given day.

And God has sent some brainstorms to my mind to help me love my peeps more and in different ways. (Thank you, Lord!)

Finding Balance

While it may seem odd (or uber-obsessive to some people), one of the other things that helps me find my pace again is to do a time audit. It’s nothing fancy or complicated. But, just as a financial audit looks at where you spend your money, a time audit examines how you spend your minutes.

As I think through my daze days, I realize there are a lot of mindless time wasters that I participate in that don’t help me be happy or do good. I’m looking to find ways to eliminate or minimize  those activities that threaten to suck the life out of me. And even though it might seem like “work” to someone else, I’m looking forward to reevaluating my time budget.

What worked a year ago doesn’t really work for me and my family now.

While a time budget seems restrictive, for this all-or-nothing girl, it helps me feel like I don’t have to do it all. Instead, I can “chip away” at the dishes, the chores, and writing projects — and still have time to enjoy with my family and my life, to be happy and do good. I feel freedom to “run within the fences” instead of feeling boxed in by my to-do list.

I’ll let you know how this works out. In the meantime, I’d love to know what helps you get back to center?

What do YOU do to feel right in your skin?

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  1. I find it is helpful to get away and be alone for a morning or afternoon. If I can sit quietly like this and maybe read a bit, my mistakes or foul ups become very obvious. After that a fresh air returns to my soul and I am ready to go again. I wish I were better about scheduling these instead of just doing them when the crisis has already set in. Yes, a prayer journal is helpful, too.

  2. I appreciate your calling yourself an “all-or-nothing girl”. In my self examination I’ve come to think of myself the same way, and am trying to change it too. “Chipping away” as you call it has been a huge help to me last week. Trying to remember I don’t have to do everything at once, and sometimes the baby doesn’t let me “finish” a job, but at least I “finished” part of the job.

  3. Renee’s post had the same affect on me. I am still considering what things bring me back to center, but giving myself an extra weekend day (we homeschool) for starters- time to read, pray, do an extra load of laundry, and putter in my kitchen for a few hours.

  4. Couple of years ago, around the time when the economy did it’s first nose dive, hubby lost his job, I was reading 7 habits of effective families and one of the “tasks” was to create a family motto and set some family goals.

    So we did. “A family culture that promotes healthy values, life choices and encourages cultural appreciation, acceptance of diversity, caring for others, honesty and sincerity”

    And then we set some goals.

    And when life gets hectic, bogged down and I’m feeling the all-or-nothing, I look on our wall for the motto and I look at our goals and ask myself- “all this stuff on the to-do list, does it fulfill our motto, does it accomplish our goals?” And then consider why it’s on the list if the answer to those questions is no.

    Very much helps us refocus, and consider what is priority. Does it probably frustrate someone that we can’t always say yes- sure. But when meeting other peoples needs over our own needs takes it’s toll, it’s time to come back to ourselves.

  5. I love this! I find it so helpful to get away. Sometimes Mommy and the kids need some breathing room. Whether that is away to my room, out grocery shopping by myself, or a coffee or something relaxing like that.

    I need to remember that I am a person, and have my own interests. So helpful when surrounded by littles all day.

  6. I have noticed I feel centered when I have to time to truly clean and reorganize my house. Am slowly teaching the kids the RIGHT way to clean up – not shoving toys/books under bed, etc. And my oldest is finally getting it! 🙂 She is a wonderful help! Also making sure I take the time to meal plan – HUGE difference! I can handle a lot if this is in place!

  7. I love this post, Jessica, and I have really enjoyed watching you and your family grow and change over the last few years. I love your willingness to share yourself. It makes some of us feel like we are not alone in this “all or nothing” challenge. Anyhow, this may seem strange but sometimes I just go for a walk or even clean the kitchen listening to my favorite preacher (on podcast, I’m so hip.)and I feel very much refreshed when I’m done.

  8. Honestly – sometimes it’s just not possible at a point in time to “feel right in my skin” so I just breath deep, hold on tighter to the knot at the end of the rope and focus on getting through whatever is going on in my life at that time. At the risk of sounding crazy, once I’m through whatever is going on I go on a major organization spree. I always feel a little more in control if I can at least control some of the physical chaos in my life.

    My motto when everything is crazy is “this too must end”. Life always has a way of getting better, doesn’t it 🙂

  9. Excellent post, I think it is always important to strive to find the better part of ourselves, even if it is just remembering to strive to do it! The one thing that has always helped me get centered is nature. I think our Heavenly Father planned it all very well. We have made a point of placing birdfeeders (outside the window by the kitchen sink)where visits of a variety of birds while doing the endless dishes becomes a treat. Finding time to get your hands dirty in just weeding a patch or dead heading just one pot of geraniums. It takes just a bit of time and before you know it, you fall right into the frame of where you are meant to be….Most importantly, be kind to yourself, it makes all the difference and how else will the little ones learn?

  10. I try to find out what’s bothering me, and why I don’t feel right.

    Sometimes the solution is as simple as a few olives and almonds to replace my energy, or a good night’s sleep. Usually a walk helps.

    Otherwise I get analytical and try to figure out what’s bothering me and what I can do about it, if anything. Even just that process makes a huge difference. I wrote about it here:

    Since you’re an analytical type, this might work for you, too. The time audit you’re doing will give insights as well.


  11. I’ve found I regualarly need time alone which is hard to find in a house of 5 teenagers. Gardening is my time alone—I often take my kids along to my gardens because they need to learn how to work and to appreciate nature, but I also try to manage several hours a week by myself. Getting outside without any electronic distractions, the exercise, and the satisfaction of a job well done always help me feel centered.