Making room for quiet is hard for me - it's a discipline. It's not something I'm that comfortable with. It is hard to put aside my to-do list, turn off my electronics, slow my brain down from it's million-miles-an-hour-pace and just stop. After about ten minutes, I get antsy and want to do something. And yet, the more I fill my time up, the more I find myself needing that "decompression" time (whether I acknowledge it or not). When I don't get it, I am not at my best - it's as simple as that.
Here are some ways I've built quiet into my life:
- Early morning quiet time: I get up crazy early in the morning (around 4am on a normal school day - yes, I'm a morning person) to just spend some time preparing for the day. I journal about my thoughts and anything that happened in the previous 24 hours. Being a person of faith, this time also includes reading my Bible and praying. This helps me start each day as a new day, not hanging onto anything that happened in the past.
- Exercise: Part of the reason I get up so early is that I swim or go for a walk every (work) morning. I love this time - not only is it good for my physical health, but my mental health as well. While I am pushing my body, my mind is left free to wander and further process my thoughts or dream about the future. Many of my best ideas come to me when I am exercising!
- Sleeping in: I try to give myself at least one morning every week (usually Saturday) to sleep in as late as I want! Since I normally wake up so early, I don't actually sleep in very late - but I stay in bed, relax, and just rest. Giving myself permission to not get up right away is a great way to find time for quiet in my life.
- Riding the bus: As funny as this sounds, I have really enjoyed riding public transportation as a way to slow my life down and create space for quiet. It is a time where I am not hooked up to wi-fi, so there is not a lot of feeling guilty about what I'm not accomplishing on my checklist. Sometimes I make conversation with random people, sometimes I have to wait at the bus stop for awhile, and sometimes I have to walk a bit to get where I am going. All of these activities remind me to slow down and be present in the moment.
Finding quiet in my life is a continual struggle, and I don't think that will ever change, but I am committed to finding small pockets of it wherever I go!