Everyone has a bucket.
I am sure you have heard (if you have children or you’re around them), that we all have an emotional bucket. Teachers say that when people do nice things, they are filling our buckets. Conversely, they are taking out of our buckets when they do bad or cruel things. So, we all have a bucket. Buckets are not bottomless, and they do get overfilled. Easily.
The level of your bucket isn’t only filled with your emotions.
As adults (and even young people), we have a lot of things competing for mental real-estate. We have to have room for things like school, work, family, friends, faith, leisure activities, extended family, pets, and significant others. All of this has to be put into the bucket, and unfortunately, the bucket doesn’t grow to fit your full life.
It is easy to get very overwhelmed.
When I ignore my own needs, running here and there to take care of the people around me, I end up burning out pretty easily. Things become more difficult the longer I go. Soon, there is nothing left for me to give others because my bucket is empty. Before that happens, I need to address my needs and find a way to fill that space in my bucket. No one is going to deny you a bit of time to reboot and refresh if the time you need is reasonable.
Even Jesus rested.
In the bible, Jesus spent a little bit of time away from the crowds. He laid down to rest in the boat, while his disciples guided it across the water. (See Mark 4:35-40 – NIV). Additionally, even the Almighty took time to rest when He was creating the world and all that is in it, including us. He rested, so that we might learn that rest is necessary for our well-being. (See Genesis 2:2-3) I am not saying that you must rest on Sunday, although that seems to be a good place in the week for it, but that you need to take time at least a little bit during your week to rest. No one can focus forever without recharging their batteries and making room in the bucket that holds all of our worries and different focus points.
Find some quiet time
I am a person that needs quiet and peace to recharge. I put out a lot of effort in my profession (I teach English) when I am at work, so I really crave the quiet when I get home. I don’t listen to much on the radio when I am driving, and I am not immediately drawn to the TV when I arrive at the house. I need to process my day, hear God, and put the day behind me so that I have the space and ability to give my time and attention to my family. At one point, I would occasionally stop at the local ice cream shop, buy a sundae or some sort of treat, and sit in the car, eating it in silence, and enjoying the fact that I didn’t have to share it. I thought that I was doing something wrong, and felt rather guilty, until I looked over one day, and saw another mom doing exactly the same thing two parking spots over. We all need the time, and if it means having a little treat in the parking lot of the ice cream store, then do it!
Stop sweating the stuff you can’t change
There are so many things out there to worry about. Seriously. The thing is, there just isn’t anything you can do about most of it. You are only capable of actually affecting your own emotional response to the things that go on in your world, and perhaps influencing a few of them either way. The rest is simply not in your power to change or fix. So…don’t sweat it. Park it in the box labeled “God has got this one” and leave it alone. If you start to worry about it again, and you have done all that you are able to do, then march that silly worry back to the box and make it get back in. It is just like sleep training a toddler. Just keep calmly walking the thought back to the box and put it to bed. No worryingn about stuff you cannot change. All worrying does is overflow the bucket. Overflowing buckets make big messes and mold grows all over those. Gross. And so unneccesary. Trust me.
Invest in your hobbies
Hobbies are a way to allow yourself to relax in an activity that you enjoy. Not everyone is able to paint like the great artists of the past, sculpt the next David, or sing like a bird. That is not what I am saying. I am simply saying that it is important to find something that makes you happy. My hobbies are writing (…okay so that was a little obvious), painting, building metal sculptures from kits, playing the piano, and building things out of LEGO. I dabble in all kinds of things, but that is just me. I am trying to be more intentional about my time with God too. If you don’t have a hobby, or an activity you enjoy, then you should look into it. Sometimes the best medicine is stepping outside of the grind that we subscribe to, throwing on some shoes and going for a walk.
My list of things to do
So here is a list of things you could do to unwind or change the scenery in your life to help you recharge. Don’t forget the 16 Personalities test we did! Find out what personality you are, and figure out what helps you relax.
- Spend time in the word of God
- Go for a walk
- Go Poke-hunting, Zombie-killing, or Dinosaur collecting (Games that you can find in the games app on your phone)
- Sit down with a good book
- Jog (Not for me, but that is okay!)
- Take a bath or shower
- Go to the pool and swim or just hang out in the hot tub
- Go to the gym
- Sign up for a class: art, yoga, fitness, Zumba, cooking, or anything!
- Take your dog out to the dog park
- Plant flowers
- Rip up some weeds or overgrown plants
- Organize (It is relaxing for me, but I am a bit…well I like to be organized)
- Listen to music
- Go to the museum
- Take an online course
- Order in, instead of cooking for one night.
- Play a sport
There are probably a zillion more ideas…let me know if you can think of some that help you to restore the peace you need in the comments! I would love to hear from you!