I don’t know if it is a uniquely American trait, but when I ask someone how they are, the most common answer is, “I’m so busy.”
I get it. My answer was “keeping busy”, “chasing these kids around” or “crazy like always” for a long time.
Somewhere along the line, Americans decided busy equals value.
We over schedule ourselves and our kids and fall into bed every night physically exhausted and mentally spent.
Spirituality and a peaceful home give way to huge schedules and to-do lists.
We wish for more hours daily as we scurry from activity to activity barely taking a breath.
We have become human doings instead of human beings, always active, rarely resting or living the moment.
What if, instead of focusing on how busy we are, we started focusing on creating peace at home to counteract all the busy-ness we all seem to be a part of ?
How to begin designing peace in your home
At the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, I decided to try something different.
I deliberately put quiet time in my day. From 7:45am until about 10am, I was quiet.
I wrote, meditated and did yoga.
Sometimes I cleaned and decluttered while listening to calming, instrumental music.
I rarely talked on the phone and stopped going to most morning activities outside my home.
The result was I lost weight, my house was cleaner, I started writing and blogging, and I owned my life.
I had peace at home for the first time, and I loved it.
But I don’t work at home
I get that most people don’t work at home, and they don’t have a couple of hours each day to do what I did.
You might, but if not, hang with me.
You might find other ways to create peace that fit your life.
The first question to ask yourself is whether you’re a morning or evening person.
When is your energy level the highest?
When do you have a moment a quiet? Before your children wake up? After they go to bed?
Every home is different, so how you create peace at home will look different too.
Peaceful mornings becomes peaceful evenings
My quiet morning revolutionized my day so much, we started an electronic shutdown every evening in our home.
After eating and cleaning up dinner, we spent at least one hour away from all electronics except one.
We allowed Kindle reading and Kindle games like Scrabble that enhance your mental capacity.
Some nights we played board games. Some nights we played cards, and some nights we read books or just talked.
We made sure we set a timer so our kids knew when the time was up.
So how did it work out?
At first, my kids balked, especially when we didn’t have after dinner activities outside our home.
My boys liked to read, but they rarely did more than school required.
In the beginning we missed TV and electronic stimulation which surprised us.
We had a basic cable plan with less than 20 channels, and we already prohibited weekday gaming.
But something wonderful happened.
We found other ways to be.
We all read more.
The kids went outside; even the high school aged ones.
We talked more, and I accomplished more in the evenings than ever before, not in a running around way, but in a de-cluttering and beautifying my home kind of way.
It was amazing and frankly it got to be really fun.
A glitch in the system
The thing about having systems is that there will always be glitches.
For us that came when we had three days of tornado warnings, band concerts, family birthdays, and my husband working over 24 hours of overtime.
The old busyness overwhelm crept back in.
I missed the quiet moments and feeling in control of my life.
Thankfully the overwhelm was short lived, but the lessons are life long.
That craziness helped me appreciate the calm and peace in our home.
I realized how much I love having my husband around and how much he really helps around the house when we both unplug.
I learned that my writing time, quiet time and yoga nourish my mind, body and spirit, and most importantly, I know the choices I make determine the peace at home that our family carries into the world.
All these years later, I still plan quiet into every day.
There is still a to-do list; and we still have occasional evening activities, but I consciously choose less busy days.
I create quiet time, to live in the moment and be fully me. I challenge you to do the same for yourself. Need help? I’ve made you a list.
How to create peace at home for yourself
- Take a few minutes each evening to plan the next day. Some people sleep better when they know what is happening the next day.
- Laying out clothes the night before for you and your children reduces morning stress, especially if you’re not a morning person.
- Having a printed family calendar helps even if you normally prefer a digital calendar. Read about how to create a Family Calendar that works and revolutionize how you look at each day.
- Wake up 15 minutes earlier and mentally rehearse your day. Take a few moments to breathe and meditate and think about having a peaceful morning. I started this when my children attended three different schools on three different schedules. It helped me get through the three hour launch between when my first and last child left for school.
- For working parents, whose mornings involve getting yourself and your children out the door, quietly lunching in your car or taking a walk are ways to incorporate quiet time without taking time from your family, especially if you aren’t a morning person.
- After your children go to bed, read a book or sit in the stillness rather than surfing the web or turning on the TV. Better yet, do something that lifts your spirits, whether it’s crafting, writing, meditating or painting your nails. Even a few minutes of quiet pampering each evening brings peace to your day and may help you sleep better too.
- If you do surf the web or watch TV in the evening, set a shutdown time 30 minutes before you want to go to bed. That gives you time to get ready for bed, talk with your spouse or teenage children if you have them and wind down from your day.
Creating a peaceful life in this busy world isn’t easy.
It means saying no to things most parents say yes to, but in the long run, you and your children will reap huge rewards.
To get started in creating your own peace at home, sign up for the Whole Home Reset below. Also, be sure to join the Moving Toward Better Facebook and Instagram pages where we share even more ideas about how to live your best life and let the rest go.