A while ago, when I was listening to a radio program, someone commented that for optimum health, we all need an hour a day of silence, stillness and solitude. An hour a day?! It would be nice to have just five minutes peace around here! It was a really thought-provoking discussion. For a podcast link, click here.
In a small space, with children and the time pressures they bring (not to mention the noise!), this really is a challenge. So I decided to brainstorm some ways a little solitude could be achieved in a busy home:
- Wake up before everyone else. This is something I have trouble with, but my husband is a morning person and is usually up before dawn. This is the quietest part of the day, before the birds start chirping and the traffic noise begins.
- Cultivate a Second Space. It could be a nearby park café; or a library which is usually a quiet space. We have a few really nice parks near our house. Sometimes a change of scene breaks up the tension when my children have been cooped up all day, and I can have a few moments to think while they are playing. A weekend away can be revitalising, even if it’s not holiday time; but sometimes just a walk around the block can give me five minutes for a few deep breaths.
- Listen to the radio, while not exactly silence, this does help me calm down. When I’m listening to my favourite radio station it’s like I’m listening in on an interesting adult conversation – something I really miss since having children!
- Turning your bedroom into an activity zone could also help create a breakout space. When I look at my children’s bedrooms, they are all set up with things to keep them occupied: their favourite toys, books to read and posters on the wall. Our bedroom, by comparison is quite bare with only a bed, bedside tables and wardrobes. I’m thinking of setting up a small desk in there, then I could have a quiet place to work. I’ll share the results with you here when I work something out.
- Tending a garden is great for mental health if you have a balcony or a little outdoor space. But if you don’t have a green thumb, just watering a few herbs in a pot is a relaxing morning ritual, and if they start to die, you can just throw them in a salad and cut your losses!
- Make time for reading. A while ago, I made a resolution to finish my current book before beginning another. Well, I am still reading The Happiness Project! But it has helped me to know that I can escape to my book when I have a little time to myself, and begin right where I left off.
How do you find your own space and solitude?