Do you ever have times when you just need a few minutes of peace? Say, maybe after your 3-year-old dumps out the enormous bag of goldfish, then proceeds to stomp on them while you’re trying to remain calm and clean them up? (Hypothetical of course. That would never happen at my house.)
Finding quiet time in my house full of three active little boys is tricky, because it is never quiet. I decided that if there was any hope to regain some calm in our days, I was going to have to create it.
Here is a list of resources and activities that engage both myself and my boys and allow us to recharge during some down time.
Going on an easy walk or hike, either by yourself or with the littles, can be a great way to relieve stress, breathe some fresh air, and get out some energy. Every Trail is an easy-to-use website that pulls up trails and their reviews in an area that you specify.
2) Listening To Music
The CD Deep Calm is one of my absolute favorites! Listening to a few songs in the afternoon can give me the break I need to get through the rest of the day. It is also great for helping you get to sleep—I have never actually heard the end of the CD!
3) Book Time
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is a wonderful and easy-to-read guide of activities that can help increase your happiness. While you sit down with this awesome book, let your little ones read through the book, How Full Is Your Bucket For Kids. You can even look it up on YouTube and the book can be read to your cutie while you read your book. Win-win!
Downward dog, child’s pose, and everything in between. The best part about Yoga For Stress Relief is that you can choose from several different time lengths. This relaxing program is easy enough for even young children to do with you. My 3-year-old does a great downward dog . . . then immediately turns into a puppy for the rest of the day. There are also free yoga videos online. One website to check out is Do Yoga With Me.
5) Quick-Finish Projects
I love to play with my kids. There are also times when they are playing independently but want me near them and engaged in something else. I’ve realized lately that this is actually a great time for me to relax while still enjoying the company of my kids. I picked up a knitting board loom and some yarn at the craft store and was able to sit down and (easily!) make a scarf and a few other things while my children played on their own. It’s easy and repetitive (which means I can be partially paying attention to my kids) and results in something pretty. What could be better?
6) Coloring—Not Just for Preschoolers Anymore!
Mandala coloring pages can have a calming effect and even help reduce anxiety. Who knew coloring as an adult could be such a beneficial activity? And—bonus—I even found some printable Mandalas for the littles. Yay!
Got 5 minutes? The app 5 Minute Relaxation from the iTunes store offers a quick meditation to give you the deep breath you need before diving into the rest of your day.
What happened yesterday, last week, last month? What is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month? These thoughts often run through our heads . . . sometimes to the detriment of the present. Mindfulness teaches the importance of being present in the moment. Sitting Like A Frog is written for adults, but has a 60 minute CD of mindfulness activities geared toward children yet still enjoyable for adults
“Get ready! Let’s go! Right now!” Do you say those words? A lot? We live in a fast-paced world, and it can be a challenge to slow down. The CD Still Quiet Place offers simple guided meditations to help yourself and your kiddos relax and recharge. The tracks are between 3–12 minutes and are geared toward kids, but I enjoy them as well!
Finding quiet time can feel a lot like finding a needle in a haystack (or the keys in the diaper bag). It can be easy to get stuck in the “doing” mode of life—checking off lists, doing chores, and running from one activity to the next. This can often leave us feeling burned out and frustrated with ourselves, not to mention frustrated with those around us. Stopping and creating time in our day to mindfully enjoy a few quiet moments can actually help us to recharge and become more focused on the tasks we hope to accomplish.
QUESTION: How do your feelings about your day change when you have a few minutes of quiet to recharge?
CHALLENGE: Choose one of these resources to try, or plan when you will do one of your own favorite restful activities.
Edited by Amanda Lewis and Sarah Monson. Images from author.
Feature image from Shutterstock with graphics by Julie Finlayson.