Hey guys, I’m back as promised! Today we are going to dive into the first step in our series of Falling Back. Let’s recap on those 4 steps real quick:
❖ The falling back into structure
❖ The falling back into finding your passions and your joy
❖ The falling back into recovering yourself
❖ The falling back into focusing on the right things
So you guessed it—today we are going to be talking about falling back into structure! I know, I know … this totally doesn’t sound like a fun topic. But it CAN be! It can help us to take a little breather time that we otherwise wouldn’t allow ourselves, or don’t even notice we are neglecting. How nice does THAT sound? So, let’s get to it so we can start applying these changes right away!
Structure is important. Structure is necessary. Structure is something we all have and do, even though it may look different for each of us. If you think about it, what we do in a basic day is structure (now granted some days may look a lot better than others, but regardless, there is still structure in every single day). What we need to do is find out how to fall back into a structure that actually benefits our days—instead of draining them. Here are some tips I have for how to implement a routine that will also help you to spend time with God and bring more room to breathe throughout your 24-hour span of to-do’s:
- Take time for yourself first thing in the morning. How we BEGIN our day is the all-telling factor on how the rest of our day will progress. I have tested this (one too many times) and know it to be absolutely true. When I spend just 10 minutes with God in the morning doing devotionals, journaling, or simply reading an article in my Bible Study Magazine I notice the difference it makes in how I speak, think, act and react. How patient I am, how appreciative I am and how positive I am—no matter what comes my way that day. For me, this means I have to change my routine to go to bed earlier so that I can get up earlier and have that alone time before anyone else in the house is awake (as a single Mom, alone time is VERY scarce)! This was not an easy task, as I am a night owl by nature and going to bed early and getting up early does NOT come naturally to me. But here is the thing, since I have been doing it, I have learned to LOVE it. I can’t wait to go to bed, because I know it is that much closer to that time where I can be alone in the quiet stillness of the dew-dropped morning, blanket and devotionals on my lap, kitty cat curled up next to me and a mug of steamy ground goodness in my hand. I have come to treasure this time and it does not feel like a sacrifice anymore to miss that late night show or to hear the alarm clock while it is still dark out. It is now a joy, and something I highly value.
- Find a method to organize and prioritize your day ahead. For me this means a planner (okay, several planners). I am a planner junkie, y’all. It helps me organize from the second I wake up in the morning until I close my eyes at night, with dinner and relax time all in there also (yes, I have to schedule in my relax time—but it works for me)! In an average day and week, I am usually scheduled from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, almost 7 days a week. This may sound overwhelming, but it isn’t since I plan my weeks in advance and schedule in down-time (if I did not actually put it on my calendar, I would not actually do it … and I know many of you are like that as well). Everyone’s day looks different because everyone is in a different circumstance or season. Some may be newlyweds with no children and both people working. Some may be stay-at-home parents and homeschool their children. Some (like me) may be single parents who work full-time outside the home. Some may be empty nesters who are just learning how to reinvest in themselves as a couple again now. Whatever your season of life, there is still 24 hours in each of our days and we are told by God to use them wisely. As we all know, they go so fast! So find what works for you to plan your week out in advance and schedule in “me” time for baking, reading, going for a walk or even watching a TV show. Whatever brings you peace and a little bit of calmness to your already hectic schedule. For some this may be as it is for me, a planner to write everything down as far in advance as you want. For some it may be a dry-erase board that they do the night before and change every evening. For others it may be writing it on a notepad and setting it on their end table. However it works for you, work it! Will there be changes? YES. Will there be disruptions? YES. Will each day or week go as planned? NO. But, you are taking the initiative to organize and prioritize your days as best you can so that when something does come up, you are better able to see how and where you can rearrange other things to get back on track.
- Find your HAVE TO’s and be sure those are scheduled in. When you have some days with a little more wiggle room than others, that is when you schedule in your WANT TO’s. For example; I HAVE TO go to work every day. I am a single Mom who raises her kiddos 24/7/365 on her own physically, emotionally AND financially (it is not easy, but they are SO worth it)! So that is not negotiable or something I can move around. That goes on my calendar first. Then there are the errands, those are HAVE TO’s … I have no one else that can get my children food, that can cook and serve dinner, that can drop them off and pick them up from school or that can get them to that dentist appointment. It’s a total of one around here, M-E. So that goes on the calendar second. Then we have to have time to clean our homes, as much as we may not like it this HAS to be done (or we will end up on the next episode of Hoarders). So this gets put on the calendar third. There you go—there are your HAVE TO’s. Then you can focus on the WANT TO’s. You WANT TO read that book, bake that fun holiday goodie, join that exercise group, go see that movie with your friends or take that long bath that has sounded good for way too long. So here is your chance! Now that you already have all of your HAVE TO’s listed in your calendar, you can see the blocks of time you are able to fill in with the WANT TO’s. If you have a young one, this time will likely be when they are napping. If you are a stay-at-home parent, this will likely be when your child is at school. Or if you are like me, this time has to be at the crack of dawn in the dark before anyone wakes up, or late at night in the dark after everyone has been put to bed (you see why in tip one it was so hard for me to make that shift to go to bed earlier). If you have a schedule and circumstance like mine, it is VERY difficult to find “me” time. So you have to get creative! If I want to bake that goodie, I ask the kiddos if they want to join in. That way I am still taking care of them and available to them, but I am also doing something that I really want to do. I put on a fun movie for them so I can take that 45-minute bath that I want. I get up early so I can do that reading that my soul needs. I bring the kiddos with me to that movie I want to see—quality time with them while still doing something I want for me. Bottom line, where there is a will, there is a way! Your way will look different than mine, but all that matters is that it works for you!
Well, there you have it … a few tips on what can help you to fall back into structure in a way that allows for the HAVE TO’s to get done, the WANT TO’s to find their place into your schedule and for you to be able to organize and prioritize your days in a way that should bring a little more calmness to the chaos. God gives us all the same amount of time in a day, and He also gives us the free will to choose how we use it. It may not always be fun to give up the WANT TO’s in order to go to bed early, do another HAVE TO or take that time to write in your planner and schedule your meals. But I will tell you this, it will be worth it. In time, you may even find that you enjoy the planning and prepping for your week ahead because you know the relief and breathing room it will bring. I hope you are able to find what works for you, or even tweak some of these tips in a way that better suits your life and season. I would love to hear your insight on your current routine or changes you plan to make to fall back into structure. Feel free to leave a comment so we can all be blessed by your insight!
On Friday we will meet right back here as we move onto the second step in this series of falling back—which will be Falling Back Into Finding Your Passions and Your Joy. I am super excited for this one, and cannot wait to see y’all back here then. Have a beautiful start to your week!