I’ve always thought of myself as a simple person. I have loved growing and preparing food and crafting since I was a little girl. As an adult I have (over time) adopted ways of reducing my footprint and my waste, but I have recently been feeling hurried and stressed by all of the things that I want to do but don’t seem to find the time to do.
After some quiet thought and reflection, I have decided that although I thought I was living simply, I have really been stuck in a cycle of too much stuff and too much noise! So I’ve been taking deep breaths, shutting off the TV, listening to my kids (their words, actions, and subtle ques), and listening to my own rhythmic starts and stops, ins and outs. I’ve been hearing the unique rhythms of my family as a whole and as individuals, and I’ve been trying to follow those rhythms. It’s not always easy, but it’s easier than you might think once the clutter and noise is lessened. I plan to take you on this simplification journey with me as I go, hopefully reminding us all how important rhythm and peace is for our well-being.
I began with shutting off the TV. When I thought about the noise in my life, I first blamed my kids’ whining and nagging, always needing my attention. But try as I might, I couldn’t directly change that, so I changed something I could control. I turned off the TV. I often turned on the news in the afternoon while preparing dinner. This is, without question, the most hectic time of my day. The kids are hungry and restless. I’m tired and ready for my husband to come home and take over some of my responsibilities. I couldn’t focus on the news which frustrated me and besides the news is often unsettling. After turning off the TV for a few evenings, I found that the mood changed in my house. The kids calmed down a little. I could sometimes involve my oldest in the food prep. The house quieted down a little. I calmed down, which makes a big difference since I find that I often set the mood with my actions.
I want to be clear, I have not banished the TV from the house. I haven’t shut it off permanently or stowed it away in a closet somewhere. I simply turned it off in the afternoon. I also still get my news. I just listen to NPR on the radio quietly while I cook. Or I watch it on TV after the kids are in bed. I am finding that the simple change of shutting it off while I cook, has led to it not coming on as quickly in the evening, and it gets turned on less frequently in the morning as well. Partly because I don’t think of it as often, but also because my son doesn’t ask as much.
This simple change has started us down a calmer and happier road. It has spurred me on my quest to simplify!
What are the most stressful times in your day? Do you have any tricks to make stressful times go more smoothly?