Life is noisy. From the literal noise of 3 little boys with me 24-7 to the noise of social media and the turbulent push and pull of the world we live in, the noise can consume me. “Noise” for me comes in many forms beyond just sound and messages. It comes in the form of disorder, the unexpected, the busyness, and messes. Maybe some people thrive off of the energy and buzz of life whirling around them, but not me. As a ‘sensitive parent’ I’ve had to recognize my quirk and figure out ways to not let it consume me. Or my boys. Because it would be easy to think that being this way means I’m uptight and I’d have to restrict my boys from being boys in order to maintain my sanity. Thankfully, that’s not so. And here are some ways that I help the noise in my brain calm down, while not pushing my heightened sensitivity onto others in my family.
1) I limit social media… I’m on my own Facebook Business Page, my blog, and Clickin Moms. I don’t post to my personal page of Facebook anymore other than tagging myself in my ‘Business’ posts and I have a shortcut key on my toolbar that takes me directly to my own FB homepage so I avoid the news-feed. I will browse the news-feed occasionally but if I go there first, 15 minutes goes by in about 10 seconds and soon I’ve forgotten my own post and my head starts spinning a bit.
Also regarding FB, I have unfollowed many ‘friends’. I’m so sorry to say that! During the initial flare of FB’s popularity, I’d accept friend requests and friend those suggested right and left. Well, now … eek … I hate to say it, but I limited those I see in my news-feed to just those who I interact with or who have interacted with me.
Organizing how I follow my blogs has helped, too. I’ve limited the blogs I follow to those that encourage, instruct, and support … and then read through them daily with Feedly. I’ve heard that blogs are a dying social media outlet, but boy do I appreciate blogs! Facebook goes too fast for me since I just check in a few times a week and the posts there are choppy and random. Blogs though … the ones I follow … feel like I’m hanging out with friends whom I admire, relate to and aspire to be more like. I appreciate a dose of that daily. And I love that with Feedly, the posts just sit there and wait patiently until I have time to soak them in.
2) I get up early… Well, earlier than my boys. I LOVED this post by Kat Lee over on The Art of Simple and how she says she wakes up FOR her life not TO her life. I can SO relate to her message! It sums up how getting up early is such a blessing to me, too. I need to get up before “life” is actually happening. Before the boys are running around the house and asking me for breakfast. Or fighting. Or making up games. Or wrestling the dogs. Truly, beginning with NO noise (other than the pounding of my heart and panting of my breath while I work out) has made ALL the difference in the world for keeping a sense of quiet throughout my day.
3) I use a timer… This helps quiet the noise of my voice … nagging and reminding the boys, and myself, that it is time to move on with our tasks. If I’m giving us a 15 minute warning before it is time to start school, I set the kitchen timer. If I’m giving us 20 minutes after we finish lunch before getting back to school, I set a timer. If we need to get moving out the door in a half-hour to run errands, I set a timer. So that I am not the one hollering when the time is UP. The boys, and I, hear my voice enough in the day and they just respond to the timer telling them time is up better than me telling them. And that produces efficiency in the day, and that in turn produces less noise in the day. Voila.
5) I garden… Ahh …. just saying that makes me feel like I can take in a deep breath and experience the calm. Getting outside and digging in the dirt is definitely one of my Spring/Summer/Fall ways of blocking out the world’s noise and turn down that of my own life. The boys can be whizzing past me on their bikes or running in circles with Charlie on the lawn next to me and I’m still immersed in my own little world of foliage and pulling weeds. I love it. Most of the time, though, when it is gardening time, the boys sense the calm, too, and build their forts, swing on their swings, or climb trees. All ways that they bring a bit of calm into their own lives, too.
6) Sometimes, I actually just block out the noise … brace yourself for thinking I’m weird, but sometimes I’ll go into my bathroom and turn on my hairdryer just to listen to the hum and feel the warm air blow on my hands and it soothes me. This is how I sometimes block out the actual noise in my day. My active boys can get me a little on edge from time to time, and for whatever reason this helps bring me back. Turning on my space heater helps, too … it actually helps me think while I’m writing (it is right now!) and it helps the boys while they are concentrating on schoolwork. It starts at infancy, but white noise is the real-deal when it comes to focus and calming one down.
7) I communicate my need for the noise to mellow … I don’t always understand or predict what will make me feel frazzled or overwhelmed during the day, so I can’t always do something to prevent it from happening. If I start to feel a little twitchy or heavy chested (I literally will feel short of breath) from being overwhelmed, I tell the boys that Mama needs a minute of quiet. They TOTALLY get it. Thank the Lord they are sensitive to how I’m doing and they’ll calm down or give me a few minutes of quiet just so I can regain my composure. If they don’t, I’ll resort to number 6. They also love to be outside so instead of rushing outside with them, I’ll just let them know that I’m going to hang out inside for a minute before I join them.
8) I spend time in the Word…. reading my Bible is one of my best ways to calm the noise of the world. If I focus on the creator of the world, rather than this fallen creation, it helps. If I read the struggles and determination of the disciples, it helps. If I read of Jesus’ humility and love, it helps. It brings everything into perspective, from my children to my parenting to the chaos that abounds.
9) I don’t watch the news … rarely, if ever do I turn on the news. I think I’ve talked about this before, but my goodness. I know of the pain and suffering and brokenness that fills our world. When I watch it on TV it goes from being something I know to something that I feel internally and maybe this makes me sound incredibly shallow but I just can’t do it. I fester on the problems I see, they consume me, I have nightmares about them, and it negatively impacts how I function. The fallen world is always on my prayer list, but something about SEEING it on the news is extremely hard for me, as a “sensitive person” to move on from.
10) I limit our runnin’ around … This was a decision Matt and I made long before I recognized all of this about my personality, but limiting our comings and goings has been vital. How often we go to town in the week is minimal, we haven’t involved our boys in organized sports yet, and we don’t pack our week nights and weekends with activities away from home. One of our goals for our children’s young lives has been that their childhoods would be family-home centered and working towards that has definitely limited the noise that crazy schedules can create. I often wonder if it also fuel’s our inability to function well when life does occasionally get busy, so it’s a balance. Thankfully, all 5 of us are on the same page though, that chillin’ out here at home, doing life as we do it, is what’s best for us right now.
I know these options aren’t for everyone, which is why I don’t present them as advice. Simply as sharing. <3 One other thing … I tell myself, in my head, that “it is okay” a lot. If the boys are building another fort in the living room I just cleaned or if they left out the moon sand all over the table again or stuffed their dirty outside clothes into their jammie shelf (again), I just tell myself “It is okay.” Three magic little words, along with a few deep breaths, bring things in my overly sensitive mind back into perspective. Because my goodness …. really. It IS okay.
Ooh, I should add a Number 11 … shooting Macro definitely helps calm the noise. It’s not referred to ‘Macro Therapy’ for nothing.
Enjoy your Monday, friends! I hope your week is off to a great start.
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