Forced to Slow Down


HELLO DEAR FRIENDS,

It blows me away to consider how only a few weeks ago we were living life as normal, and now life, as we have known, was flipped on its head. Many of our jobs, tasks, plans, and routines were stripped away. I'm not going to lie, that stung a bit, and I know I have only lost a drop compared to the buckets many have lost recently.


During a time like this, there is still so much to be grateful for. Think about it. Maybe asking yourself these questions will put things in perspective...


  • How often have you sat at work and wished you were home?

  • How often do you say "If I only had time"

  • How often do you feel so overwhelmed with having 100 places to be?


If anything good can come out of this time, it is simply that we have been given the gift of time! We have been forced to slow down.


How you use your new-found time, is in your hands. It is easy to get caught up in watching the news and finding worry. Being full of discontentment and longing can also be our go-to response. Being conscious of these feelings is crucial to spending this moment well. To prevent us from falling victim to glum feelings and from failing to optimize our time there are a few things we can do.


Stick to a routine.

I run on routine, and when I lose my routine I get a little scattered. Whenever I have to reorganize my life I first start with establishing a routine. I am really excited to do some more posts in the future about how I approach and maintain routines. It is so important to have a routine that you can maintain. I am guilty of making unrealistic and unmaintained routines.


Go on, grab a piece of paper and let's set you a routine for this time spent at home! Stay tuned for my upcoming journal. I am going to give you a step-by-step guide to making an essential and simply routine map. That will help you to stay focused over the next few weeks. This routine will help you accomplish your goals and care for yourself.


Having a solid routine keeps you from getting stuck in the mundane cycle of waking up at home, staying in your pj’s, lounging around, and ultimately letting gloom set in. Don’t get me wrong, we all need a day or two to just relax and veg out, but if we do that for a few weeks! We may come out of quarantine as a permanent couch potato with a very sad outlook on life!


Make a routine full of goals and priorities. Make sure you include lots of self-care and allow yourself the time to do things you always wish you had more time for. It may even be helpful for you to write all of those ideas on paper. Just out all the things you now have time for, so that you can practice having a joyful heart!


Take care of yourself.

Being a student quickly taught me the importance of self-care. The long nights and days spent typing papers behind a computer with little care for filling my body with the healthy food it needs, neglecting to stay hydrated, too much caffeine and skipping out on exercise and fresh air. Self-care is a word we see a lot now. Thousands of books and blogs have been written on the subject and yet we still all lack it. Now you have the opportunity for it!

There are three areas that are key to self-care. Your body, your mind, and your soul. All three areas need love! Find one thing in each category and really work on them over the coming days. Self-care can be little acts or it can be big long term habits.


Self-care for your body is pretty self-explanatory. Take care of your body. Fuel yourself with healthy food and take time to move every day. Recently I have enjoyed nature walks and hikes on the pretty days. You can still practice social distancing outside as long as you are mindful. Check your local park and trail organizations for their updated policies. Many have remained open and encourage you to use proper social distancing standards. If you arrive at a trail or park that seems crowded simply look for another and be wise.



The photos displayed in this journal were taken at Bass Lake in Blowing Rock, NC. It was a lovely and warm day. Perfect for taking a stroll with my sweet little puppy. Getting out of the house and breathing in the fresh air was so refreshing and if you have the opportunity to I would really encourage you to find somewhere that you can do the same.


You can also care for your body in other ways! Painting your nails at home can be a fun experience to share with daughters, sisters, and mothers. Learning to cook or bake something new. Taking long bubble baths have been my absolute favorite. I may come out of social distancing as a prune, but I will be a happy little prune at that!


Caring for your mind is something we often do not think about. It is very powerful though. I think the most influential way to care for our minds is to disconnect from our phones. The phone we carry about often tries to take over the role of our brain. If you can think of your phone as a muscle, your phone not a gym but a couch. If you let your muscles use the couch too long it will become weak. You need to be exercising your mind just as you would your body.


All of the books that have accumulated on your shelves, are a great way to exercise your mind. Reading is always on my “If I only had time” list. It is about time I get to that one! You can start small and work to read 15 minutes a day or go big and aim to read a book a day. It is up to you and I promise either way your mind will thank you.


Another way to care for your mind is through journaling. When you journal you are forced to think. There are so many ways to approach journaling. You can simply sit down and start writing whatever comes to mind or you can have a plan. I love having journal prompts. There are hundreds of journal prompts out there. Pinterest is a great place to find these prompts. The prompts give you something to think about or process. They can be amusing or deep questions. I think of them as exercises for my brain because many of the prompts dare me to think outside of my typical thoughts.


Finally, you need to be caring for your soul. Out of all your self-care goals, this should be your top priority. It is so important that you take time every day to care for your soul. For me, this means spending time with God. Right now, there are no excuses. We have ALL used a lack of time to justify not spending time with God, but now He has placed time right in our lap. I urge you to open your Bible and spend time reading what God has to say. Spend time in prayer just talking to God and giving him all of your concerns and burdens during this season.


Take care of others.

We all have been hit in some way by the position our world is in. Some have been hit worse than others. If we are not intentional about reaching out to those we love we may neglect to see those who really need some help and encouragement. I know we can no longer go get coffee with a friend, or go to make a visit to a family member, but we still have options.


Digitally we have a world of communication at our access. A text message or video call allows us to talk to loved ones instantly. When you do reach out I urge you to ask good questions and be a good listener. We all too often get stuck in the world of small talk and courtesies. Really care for them and be ready to genuinely listen.


Letters are another awesome way to share some love with your family and friends, I love writing letters. It is an intentional way to communicate your care and appreciation. The art of letter writing is becoming lost amongst the digital world we have built. Now is such a great time to pull out your pens and paper and get back to the foundations of distance communication.


Find joy each moment.

I pray that you each are able to find joy in each moment. This is a practice that must be carefully cultivated. It is not our human nature to see the light in everything, but through Christ, we have the ability to do so.


What are your goals and priorities during this season? How are you taking care of yourself and others? Comment below and share! I would love to hear from you. As always have a blessed week!


Sincerely With Love,

Abigail

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