Sunshine and Silence: The salve that brings back my sanity

Blue skies are a welcome sight in January, especially when combined with 60 degree weather. Sunshine feeds my soul. I am able to soak it in, let it soothe my weary mind and let its warmth on my face permeate all the way to my heart. When a little bit of silence is added to a beautiful sunny day, it makes me feel alive and content. Since my two oldest boys just went back to school from winter break, this mama was definitely desperate for a respite. As a former work-outside-the-home-mom turned stay-at-home-mom, this was a new experience with my kids. I both reveled in it and reviled it.

I appreciated the extra time to prepare for Christmas and enjoyed spending time with my boys without being required at a certain place at a certain time. However, I also found myself as referee. Boys that are eight, six ½ and two have pretty cute faces but I will admit, I don’t like to hear them all the time. Specifically, not when they are yelling or being rude to each other. Although this is not out of the ordinary for brothers, it still irks a mama’s soul to hear arguing, name calling, or simply yelling for the sake of yelling (you know what I’m talking about mamas!) With barely a moment of quiet or time for reflection, I did not realize just how much I needed silence until it was completely eliminated from my house for two weeks.

I stopped working at the end of August, so this was the first extended amount of time where all three boys were at home with me. For this new stay-at-home mama, those two weeks uncovered for me a forgotten truth. This brain of mine needs peace and quiet. I don’t require hours and hours of it, but in a house full of boys, I need more than I was getting. I now recognize that for my mental health, I need a little bit of quiet solitary time.

My load seems lightened by the silence. I can sit and organize my brain, soak in all that is around me instead of having it dumped on my head like a five gallon bucket. Sometimes that is what it feels like living with four males. Except it’s four of those five gallon buckets and from every direction.

I prefer to ease into the water, slowly.

I long for time to breathe when I feel bombarded by the world.

I have enjoyed a sunny day (as I am sure many people do) for as long as I can remember. My best friend in high school and I used to cherish these days, summer days in particular, that consisted of being high on sunshine, snow cones and swimming. Maybe that is one reason it gives me life, the recall of sweet memories.

Playing outside in the country as a child, riding around the big block with a car full of teenagers, tennis practice with dear friends, vacations at the beach with my husband- all beautiful carefree times outdoors that I long for without even knowing it.

Sunshine and fresh breezes and green grass… when surrounded by those things it just makes me feel healthy. While I do enjoy (probably too much) parking on the couch and watching TV/movies, the outdoors bring me to life. In part, perhaps it’s the memories I mentioned, but mostly I believe it’s because I feel in sync with my Creator when in the middle of His creation. Being surrounded by His Creativity seems to draw out my own. Maybe it’s me getting a glimpse of Eden and I long to be home.

January and February are the most difficult months of the year for me. I imagine I am not alone in this plight. Less daylight, more inside time, illnesses, the Christmas lights and bright colors stripped away so that we are left with nothing but bare, cold bleakness. So when those days come along, the ones with bright sunshine and 60 degree weather, I am instantly infused with life.

A few things that bring me to life when I feel beaten down:

  • Time alone to just think or reflect
  • Silence
  • Reading to feed my mind
  • Writing
  • Remembering my purpose and goals
  • Sunshine and fresh air
  • A clean and uncluttered home (this is a topic on its own as clutter brings me stress!)

I encourage you to take some time to determine what makes you feel refreshed and alive. Being aware of the things that drag us down and the things that can pick us back up are essential to staying mentally healthy. Now that I have discovered these triggers and restorations for myself, I hope to cut down on those days when I feel like I am losing my mind. I know, we all will still have those days, but maybe all I need is a little bit of silence and sunshine to help restore me to my healthy self.

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