Monday, August 17, 2015

4 Quick Fixes For When You're Feeling a Bit Tightly Wound

"When working on The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci regularly took off from painting
for several hours at a time and seemed to be daydreaming aimlessly.  
Urged by his patron, the prior of Santa Maria delle Grazie, to work more continuously,
da Vinci is reported to have replied, immodestly but accurately, 
'The greatest geniuses sometimes accomplish more when they work less.'"
 =  Schwartz  =


If it was good enough for Leonardo, it just might be good for us.  Rest.  Daydreaming.  Re-creation.  Playtime.  Especially if the creative flow is slowly but surely waning.  And we realize that boredom, restlessness, or something strangely off-kilter is descending, bringing with it unfulfilling, yawn-inspiring work.  Same old same old activities.  Fading relationships.  Or ministry involvement that seems to be going nowhere.

And we're feeling a bit dried up, kind of crispy around the edges.  

Maybe we're striving too hard to make life happen.  To reach success ... or even make it through the day.  Goal-driven, our to-do lists have become unwieldy and we're unable to simply be in the moment.  Someone always wants a piece of us.  Calendars are jam-packed.  And every hour is laced with incessant texting, Facebook / email checking, and other mindless craziness.  

Is it any wonder we're so tightly wound?  

Less, not more, is sounding more and more appealing, isn't it.  Social media's incessant noise, the endless demanding clutter of possessions, and a sedentary lifestyle that's slowly evolved over time are keeping us from blooming healthy and strong.  Daydreaming, playing, and creating?  Those pastimes have become a distant faded memory.

4 STEPS TO START UNWINDING

1.  Unplug  
Without thought, we've invited screens to invade our every waking moment.  They now accompany us everywhere we go.  In all sizes, they demand our involvement, define who we are, and call the shots of our lives.  Obsessed we are.  Literally.  

The good news?  We get to choose what to do with our addiction to social media and technology.  If we dare.  

2.  Unpack
Simplicity and minimalism walk hand in hand, softly, urgently calling our names.  We're too encumbered with our stuff ... and we know it.  Buying it, cleaning it, sorting it, moving it, decorating it, adjusting it, throwing it in the corner, storing it, paying for it.  

The good news?  We get to choose what we want to do with the avalanche of possessions that steal our energy, our joy, our wallets, our focus.

3.  Head outdoors
Fresh breezes, new vistas, the smells and sights and sounds of creation beckon.  Our heads begin to clear and hearts open wide as our feet hit the grass, sand, or pavement.  These moments are the best venues for conversations with the Lord or with those who walk alongside.  The spaciousness of creation opens up our abilities to sort through situations that are complex, weird, or confusing.  Brilliant little snippets of ideas come and settle in for us to savor and act on. We breathe deep.  And smile.   

The good news?  This doesn't cost us a dime.

4.  Doodle    
Long ago, most of us were natural creators.  Fingerpainting, drawing, coloring, designing, sculpting, digging in the sand.  It's time to ferret out the old arts and crafts stuff ... or invest in some new goodies.  And simply start to doodle around a bit.  We shouldn't judge our fledgling masterpieces too harshly.  But instead, laugh out loud as we revel in this simplest of childhood joys.  And see where it takes us.

The good news?  Most of us have been yearning to play again.  We just didn't know it.

What are you doing to loosen up, chill out, unwind?



chilling out with Kelly  .  Holley  .  Lyli

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58 comments:

  1. All of those things are great ideas. I have been feeling a bit tightly wound myself of late. We have a new schedule around here (Joe is working nights now) and the end of the summer....I am ready for the more routine days of autumn....but not too quickly please.

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    1. I hear ya'! When anyone mentions autumn, I look at them like they're crazy! Hard to believe that September is right around the corner ...

      ;-}

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  2. Linda, your words echo God's message to me to "be still." I love your tips. My favorite is to head outdoors. The sky above me reminds me of the limitlessness of God, and the quietness helps me to be still and quiet my world. : )

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    1. He's always whispering, 'be still,' isn't He, Crystal. Sadly, all the noise that surrounds us can so easily drown out that still small Voice.

      But He will not be silenced!

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  3. This is so nice. I love Leonardo's response.
    These few weeks of less online activity have been unexpected. But it was a good time off...hahaha
    Time off is good.

    How are you? I hope you are settling well Linda?

    Loads of blessings to you

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    1. You couldn't have said it better, my friend. Time off is a very good thing.

      I'm glad you've had this little season of rest ...

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  4. Leonardo's response is so applicable to us today. I need to get better at unplugging. Doing something crafty with my hands always get the creative juices flowing and rejuvenates me. I also like to read a good book and take hot bubble baths (though this happens few are far between).

    Like Ifeoma asked, I want to know too, how are you settling into your new home?

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    1. Cool! Another bubble bath lover!!

      Unfortunately, there is only 1 bathtub in our new house and it is tiny tiny. It's perfect for my 5 year old granddaughter when she comes to visit. IBut otherwise it's about useless. I'm missing that bubble therapy!

      ;-{

      Yes, we are settling in slowly but surely. My Dad's sudden death has made everything else fade in importance. But when the spirit moves, I unpack another box. One day last week, I worked on lamps for the whole house. On the weekend, we hung up favorite pictures, samplers, artwork that makes me smile.

      Thanks for asking, friends ...

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  5. All such great suggestions for us, Linda. You've been doing several, if not all, of these, haven't you?! I bet your vacation gave you that much needed break--unplugging and connecting with your family in God's playground of nature. And the unpacking, well, I'm sure you're realizing just how much you and Tim have accumulated over the years through this move. I know that we have an avalanche to sift through before we sell our house. At least I've got the avalanche moved from our storage room to our finished family room in our basement, waiting for a cool fall weekend to have a garage sale. And about the doodling, I agree wholeheartedly. I saw a program that hailed the benefits of doodling while listening to a lecture or sermon, etc. It actually helps us retain what we're hearing--connecting parts of our brain that contribute to that process. So doodling is high on my list of things I love to do and no longer feel guilty about! ;-) Thanks so much for your wisdom here! Love ya, sweet friend!

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    1. I LOVE coloring! I hear it's become a big thing for adults ... Amazon has a whole selection of coloring books for us fanatics! It's very therapeutic, a great tool for us introverts and wanna-be-creative types to unwind with.

      I think I need something beside the dog-eared Sesame Street and Barbie books that our little ones use when they visit. A little art therapy is good for the soul, right?

      ;-}

      As far as all the STUFF we've all gathered around us? I got rid of tons before we moved, and have lost count how many bags I've toted off to the resale shop and the town dump since arriving. Traveling lightly's become my theme!

      ;-}

      Thanks for the long, newsy conversation, friend. I lmiss ya' ...

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    2. Linda-- I got one of these coloring books and I LOVE IT!!!! Who would have thought there were adult coloring books

      Thanks

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    3. FUN! Can't wait to color together!

      ;-}

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  6. This is exactly what I need after being tightly wound all summer!! I'm going to start putting some of those to practice right away. I was given a coloring book and crayons to help relax so I think I'll start with those!!!

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    1. Must have been a good friend to give you such a cool gift, Val! Color away, girl ...

      ;-}

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  7. Heading outdoors always does it for me! Those down times are some of my best times. Hope you're taking your fair share of them, Linda!

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    1. The humidity's oppressive this week, but when it's half way decent, I'm outside trying to walk at least once a day. My body's screaming back at me, but I'm trying to ignore the aches and do what I know I need to do to stay healthy and get stronger.

      Your words have encouraged me to keep it up, friend. I thank you. My scale thanks you!

      ;-}

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  8. I absolutely adore this, Linda: "The greatest geniuses sometimes accomplish more when they work less." Thanks for sharing it. I have definitely been in a "work less" mindset lately. All 4 of your wonderful steps have been on my mind in the past several weeks. I'm trying to step away from screens and clutter and step into the outdoors and more creative outlets. I'm loving the new adult coloring book revolution :). Perfect advice, my friend, every word here!

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    1. And working less sounds good right about now, doesn't it! Stepping away from those ever-present screens is a great start, and one decision most of us are yearning to do more often.

      And on that happy note, I'm signing off for the night!

      Sleep well, friend ...

      ;-}

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  9. Yes! My two favorites are unplug and head outdoors. When I feel overwhelmed or exhausted, I love leaving my phone inside and heading out for a walk with my puppy. It's the perfect way to clear my mind and rest my heart! Thanks for this encouragement!

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    1. I bet that pooch runs around in gleeful circles when he spots you closing that laptop!

      A rested heart. Yes. I love how you put that, Lauren ...

      ;-}

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  10. Life's doing it for me. I'm running out of energy.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2015/08/your-dying-spouse-44-stages-of-grief.html

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    1. I hear you, man. God knows. May you be confident that He loves you deeply ...

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  11. Linda, I love this! When I'm in my garden, I definitely unwind, and even though, Leonardo style, I might not get much done that others can see, I know that this is important time with the Lord, enjoying His bounty and beauty.

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    1. Indeed! There's nothing like hands deep in rich soil ... gardening therapy is so calming and lifegiving, isn't it?

      ;-}

      I'm glad you're here today, Michele ...

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  12. This is spot on, I'm an outside person so if I have been inside too long I start to get a little short and snappy!

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    1. I know, I know! You catch yourself just running to the door ...

      ;-}

      Thanks for dropping by, Kaylie!

      Delete
  13. These are great suggestions, Linda. I recently upgraded my phone from a TracFone (with buttons) that I only used for calls and (very labor-intensive) texts to an iPhone. Although I now have the world at my fingertips, I've decided that I'm still only going to use the phone for texts and calls. There's nothing so urgent online that it can't wait until I get home to my laptop. The visual picture of being "a bit dried up, kind of crispy around the edges" is spot on! I hope your day is relaxed and blessed!

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    1. I admire your decision, Lois! I tend to jump online way too much now that I've got a smart phone. I use the excuse that I really want to get people's comments up on the blog as soon as I can ...

      But it's really just a compulsive habit, isn't it ...

      ;-{

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  14. Reading outside is the think that calms me down the most, particularly when I go back and re-read old favorites!

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    1. There's something about soaking up a book's story in the fresh air that is most calming, isn't there ...

      Unless it's too hot. Humid. Windy. Frigid. Etc.

      ;-}

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  15. Your tips inspired me to buy that adult coloring book I've been eyeing on amazon, lol. I also love embroidering, but realize that is just not going to fit into the schedule right now. Coloring is something I can pick up and put down easy enough. I also, as you know, spend a lot of time outdoors :) Great post, my friend~!

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    1. Coloring! Yes! Would love to hear what book you bought on Amazon and what kind of crayons / pencils / pens you're using!

      You know I'm a big fan of your creative genius, friend!

      ;-}

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  16. Linda,
    What great advice and a great quote...even for us non-geniuses ;-)

    I'm learning to slow and take a deep breath and turn to God...I love going for walks....and definitely unplug :-) Praying God's peace and joy for you as you unwind and take care of yourself during this time of grief and transition, my friend...((hugs))

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    1. You encourager, you. Thank you for caring. I'm doing ok, Dolly

      Usually ...

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  17. I love all of these ideas. I have been taking advantage of going outside consistently and miss it when I do not take a walk. As for my stuff-I have too much and that is on my list to work on in the future but summer has been about hanging with family and being present for those special people I need to be with each week. Unplugging seems to be an area that would benefit me but at the moment I admit I am being sucked into all the social media. Finally, doodling - I am looking forward to some coloring in my future. That will bring me back to my childhood and that's a good thing. Hope you are well my friend!

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    1. I hear you about going outside consistently! I feel healthier just putting on my sneakers and heading out the door!

      Except for weeks like this when the humidity hangs heavy and low.

      I do love looking for excuses!

      ;-}

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  18. This summer has been good for me since I have taken more time off and away than normal. Of course, you know my main avenue of chilling out is cycling. Nothing puts the mind back into whack like a good ride.

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    1. Keep on those wheels, pal. You're an inspiration!

      ;-}

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  19. Doodle! How fun. And the outdoors? That one ranks high for me. Less, not more, does sounds appealing. I think I'll take your encouragement and go there. Thanks for outlining realistic steps to finding the "less" of God and life (which is really "more"). Nice post.

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    1. Less, not more.

      You said it well, Kristi.

      What would our lives look like if when it came to possessions, that was our mantra?

      I'm trying to find out ...

      Glad you're here with us!

      ;-}

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  20. Oh, I LOVE these four suggestions! Thank you for reminding me that I have the power to choose--and I don't need to choose the screen ;). I love spending time outside, and I can't wait until the weather cools a little :).

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    1. YAY! Let's hear it for the power to choose what is healthiest, wisest, best! We don't have to be held hostage by our gadgets.

      Good to see you again, Anita ...

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  21. Linda,
    I love your image in this post of Leonardo's painting since I saw the real thing this summer (and what an overwhelming joy it was to see it!!) and it's so inspiring! Turning off the screens to enjoy our real lives is so difficult these days but when I do, it gives me so much more time to consider God. You are so right about connecting with the artistic gifts God has planted in us -- you never know what will emerge when you take time to pursue it! :)

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    1. It must have been incredibly awesome to see the great works of art up close and in person in such a setting steeped in history. Words fail, don't they, Valerie ...

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  22. Hey Linda--- I am on the other side of this coin. Relaxing while semi-retired is a joy for me but I fight the guilt of not producing or having great ambitions. Egads, finding balance is truly an art. Thanks for letting us all know that chillin is OK.....

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    1. Guilt's such a lousy motivator, isn't it? We end up feeling like losers, our confidence wanes, we get immobilized.

      I love that God gives us 'power, love, and a sound mind.' Now THOSE are some good motivators, huh?

      Let's take the pressure off, or as you said so well, let's chill!

      ;-}

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  23. Such wisdom to be found and learned from this post. Grateful to have stopped here this morning. Blessings!

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    1. And I am so grateful to see you again, Joanne!

      ;-}

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  24. These are lovely suggestions, Linda. Music helps me a great deal as well.

    Much love and prayers to you, sweet friend. I hope you are finding splashes of color and beauty in the midst of this season of change.

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    1. Indeed! I've loved Pandora in the past, but since we moved I keep things quiet because my husband is working from home.

      Music touches us somewhere very deep, where nothing else can intrude. I hear you, Lyli ...

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  25. Hi Linda! I'm just unpacking from my trip to my daughters. She had her third little one, and needed some help. Right now, I'm thoughtfully unpacking all my goals and thoughts for the future, so I can see what my new strategy will be. It's fun! (and maybe a little daunting too?)

    God never leaves any of us alone. We all have paths to walk. Time to find my new one :)
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. This --> 'I'm thoughtfully unpacking all my goals and thoughts for the future, so I can see what my new strategy will be.'

      Well, I certainly am resonating with you friend ... and those new paths emerge, sometimes out of nowhere, and cause us to consider what to do with our rather limited time and energy.

      I look forward to hearing how your new path unfurls. Know that I'm cheering you on, friend ...

      ;-}

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  26. "We get to choose what to do with our addiction to social media and technology." Yep, we do. If only I'd make the right choice more often to unplug. Hubs and I did enjoy time semi-unplugged this past weekend. I say semi as I did share some photos along the way but otherwise we were unplugged.

    I think of you often, friend. Oh how I wish we lived closer. Love you. xoxo

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    1. Semi-unplugged! I like that!

      Most of us don't need to completely toss those screens out the window, although for some that may be the answer. Semi-unplugged. Yes, that works for me.

      And I sure would love to see you, too, dear Beth ... I hope your summer's sparkled!

      Delete
  27. Just this week, as I try to "catch up" on my newsfeed after I'm done with everything else late at night, I realize it is taking me at least a half hour to go through it! And I don't even know why I feel compelled to have to go through the newsfeed. Life happens whether I know about it or not. I have really been thinking about just not bothering with Facebook anymore.

    I am more of a minimalist and can't stand clutter, almost to a fault, but you are right, the less "stuff" we have to manage, the less time it takes from us.

    I LOVE to be outside! I agree, stress definitely melts away when on a nice walk.

    I never thought about doodling! I just read something this week that said adults should color in coloring books more. Apparently, it is a great anxiety reliever! I would say doodling falls into the same category.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Karen - what you said about being compelled to have to go through that endless newsfeed is so important. When we discover that the joy or satisfaction has vanished, it's time to reconsider what we're doing and why.

      Thanks for bringing this to the table. I'm appreciating your wisdom! So glad you've joined us ...

      ;-}

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  28. Oh yes! When I get too weary, I am not good for anyone.
    Have a blessed and relaxing weekend, Linda!

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    1. 1/2 way through the weekend and I'm lovin' it! Hope you are, too, Sarah!

      ;-}

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Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...

Linda

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