Life at the moment is far from calm. In fact, it’s complete chaos in our house. I’m 32 weeks pregnant, we’ve just moved house, we are completing some fairly significant and unplanned repairs/renovations, I’ve been sick for weeks (as have both kids) and I’m just generally exhausted with being a mum, a wife and generally keeping our home running.
I’ve found that calm has been getting further and further from my day to day reality and I decided I needed a change. I was sick of yelling at the kids, constantly feeling on edge and generally letting overwhelm overtake me. After I read a fabulous article on overwhelm by a fellow blogger Louisa, it got me thinking about how to bring back the calm amongst the chaos.
I’m not there yet but here are some ways I’m attempting to keep my cool and stay calm amongst the chaos that is my life right now.
Accept what you can’t change
I don’t do well with physical chaos. I don’t like clutter or mess and I certainly don’t like living in a house with half the walls missing, no storage and no floor coverings in the bedrooms. It was certainly not the plan I had for our new home!
It has been nearly six weeks since the move and I’m gradually coming to accept that there are some things I cannot change. I can’t change that we needed to remove asbestos and that meant removing half our walls, I can’t change that we have a lot of dust and mess and tradies and noise right now, I can’t change the fact we have a water leak we still can’t find and I can’t change that the kids are acting out due to the chaos.
Trying to fight it doesn’t help and trying to control something that can’t be controlled is just using up precious energy I don’t have to spare.
If you’re trying to keep calm in a chaotic situation try to acknowledge, accept and let go of the things you can’t change. It’s hard (really hard!) but it honestly isn’t worth your energy.
Take charge of what you can change
For me at the moment, the chaos in my life is mostly physical. Our house is a building site, everything is a mess and there is no order. This really effects my mental state (chaos and clutter cause stress!).
My approach at the moment is to try and contain the chaos. I’ve attempted to section off rooms and create at least small spaces where I can escape. At the moment our bathroom is my little sanctuary. It is clean and tidy and most importantly has four walls and a door (unlike most other rooms in our house right now). I’ve been taking charge of it, organising it and keeping it clean and clutter free. It’s not much but at least it gives me somewhere I can go and feel in control.
Part of taking charge of what you can change is knowing what you can change. Learn to say no. No I can’t help with the cake stall, no I can’t go on that roster/run that errand/be that persons sounding board right now. It’s ok to say no. It’s healthy to say no.
Ask & accept help
Sometimes a bit of time out or a helping hand is enough to help you keep your cool and stay calm when life seems overwhelming. Do you have a friend or family member you can call on for some time out, a meal or to pick up some groceries? Could someone come around and help you with housework? Can you afford to outsource anything, even temporarily?
Make the mundane easy
Lately I’ve resorted to the simplest, easiest no fuss meals you can imagine. We’ve been pretty much living on those semi made for you Jamie Oliver meats paired with salad/rice/veggies and various creations from our local butcher and Lennards chicken. No it isn’t the cheapest option but it’s relatively healthy and most importantly it’s quick and easy. Right now I just need easy, and that’s ok.
Practice yoga or deep breathing/mediation techniques
A few weeks ago I signed up to a pregnancy yoga class. I decided I needed some physical and mental space from our house, and so when my husband takes the boys to swimming lessons, I’m doing yoga.
I was amazed at the difference that just one class made to my physical feeling of calm. There is a lot to be said for deep breathing…try it!
Make time for fun
It’s so easy when life is chaotic to stop doing things that are fun. I know when I’m busy and overwhelmed I’m likely to spend any spare time trying to take back control and I end up further exhausted. I’m trying to make time each week, especially with the kids, to take some space and make time for fun. Even if it is just a coffee with a friend or a movie out, having some time away from the chaos and pretending it doesn’t exist, does help me keep my cool when I head back to the trenches.
Be kind to yourself
Last of all I’m trying to be kind to myself (and also my kids and my husband). Life is stressful right now, it won’t last forever and we are doing our best.
Be gentle on yourself and give yourself credit for what you survive and achieve each day, no matter how small!
Do you find yourself losing your calm amongst chaos? Any tips to share?