Soul Care Habits (part 1): Minimizing Distraction

soul care 8In my last post I talked about how I’ve realized how important it is to take care of my soul, yet how difficult it is for me to actually do. I didn’t really even know where to start. I knew Jesus offers a soul-deep peace and unshakable hope, but I didn’t know how to access it, especially during a time of busyness and stress like I’m currently in the middle of. But I want to try. So I’m slowly implementing some practices that I hope will help me take better care of my soul. Let’s call it a series of experiments, shall we?

The first practice I decided to try is minimizing or eliminating distraction. I’ve always been a good multitasker. This skill has served me well in the past during my teaching career and now as a mom of littles it’s almost vital. The problem is I’ve gotten in the habit of multitasking even when it isn’t necessary. I find myself sorting through a stack of mail while listening halfheartedly to Charlotte’s story instead of giving her my full attention. In the evenings when my husband and I unwind by watching a show together, I clean out my inbox at the same time. I even scroll Instagram while I feed Tessa her yogurt, a disaster waiting to happen! Ultimately my attention becomes so fractured I struggle to focus on what actually matters. I feel restless and irritable, and half the time I don’t even remember what I was watching or listening to because my attention was split.

So here is my first experiment. Instead of doing multiple things at once, I will focus on finishing one task at a time. Even more radically, I’m instituting “screen free afternoons.” Because let’s just face it, our smart phones have become our number one source of distraction. At least I know it has for me. So I’m committing to put my phone down after Tessa gets up from her nap and not picking it up again until after the girls are in bed (this is such a hard one, and I am far from perfect at it FYI). Additionally I resist the urge to check Facebook while Chris and I are watching TV in the evening, and to stop what I’m doing and look my girls in the eye when they ask me a question or tell me a story. It seems so simple and obvious, but I’ve already noticed a difference. Not only does my attention span seem longer, but I feel more present and less frazzled.

Monday afternoon was absolutely beautiful, so the girls and I went outside before dinner. I had my phone with me but I didn’t touch it except to check the time (I really need to get my watch fixed). Instead of scrolling Instagram I focused on the warmth of the sun on my face and watching my daughters play. Perfection.

Yesterday I ignored the siren call of social media and picked up my book instead, choosing to get lost in the story. When I looked up an hour had gone by, but instead of feeling vaguely irritable and discontent (does Facebook ever have that affect on you or is it just me?) I felt invigorated and restored. Magic. It definitely takes self-discipline, but uni-tasking has some pretty great benefits.

After I publish this post I might just close my eyes and take a quick cat nap while C finishes watching her show. Bliss.

Next week we are off on a magical adventure, so there will be radio silence here on the blog, but I’ve been saving up content and hope to be back to my usual posting schedule (once a week) after that. I’m excited to share the simple but special Moana birthday party I put together for my girls, post my (hopefully) minimalist packing list for Disney, and possibly share some highlights from the trip. Can a family trip to Disney World be truly enjoyable, low-stress, and anything less than exhausting? We shall see…consider the challenge accepted. 🙂

Have you ever tried uni-tasking instead of multitasking? Does it work? Any tips for taking a toddler and a preschooler to WDW? This will be Charlotte’s third trip (#spoiled) but Tessa’s first, and the first time we’ve had two kids to occupy/chase, one of whom still naps. Should be an adventure. 🙂

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