…I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written. The following post might clear up why. 😉 To those of you who are new to the Smallish community, HI! So glad you’re here. I always hope you feel blessed and refreshed by browsing here. ~ Evelyn
The early days of having an infant in the house are often called “survival mode”. This trying season is dubbed such because life seems reduced to just that—surviving. The days are busy, frantic even, but the overall focus is clear: care for little humans and yourself. Most people are familiar with the idea of a survival mode; it can show up after the death of a loved one or even by being too busybusybusy.
The arrival of our fourth baby brought a definitive slowing, but somehow the past several weeks haven’t felt as desperate as other infant periods. Our lives look much the same as when other babies arrived, an odd juxtaposition of being wildly busy and not having much of a tangible product to show for it, but the feeling is different. One day it hit me: I’m living a purely minimalistic schedule.
If minimalism is foregoing the unnecessary to focus on the imperative, then surely a season dedicated solely to caring for very basic human needs qualifies.
Survival mode and a minimalistic schedule are similar in ways. They both demand a back-to-basics approach to life in which the person’s priorities are revealed because only the paramount needs are met.
Survival mode isn’t sustainable. It’s surviving versus thriving; it’s reactive to the events life dishes out. It doesn’t allow for much joy, spontaneity, or creativity.
A minimalistic schedule, on the other hand, is proactive. It makes time on purpose for the best of life. For savoring. For learning. For anticipating.
A minimalistic schedule, on the other hand, is proactive. It makes time on purpose for the best of life.
I don’t believe humans were created to simply survive. The Bible says that “…(Jesus) came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Again in Psalms,
“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalms 16:11
God created us to live freely in Him, to delight in His good gifts, to revel in His character. The secret to living deeply joyful is Jesus alone. But pairing down activities and freeing up the calendar can allow for more time to breathe, to reflect and to truly soak up the goodness of His presence.
Clearing your schedule down to the basics is done automatically for you if you have a baby. In other seasons of life it takes an intentional pull-back. It takes saying “no” to perfectly good opportunities and purposefully opening up your calendar to allow room to breathe.
So how do you move from survival mode to a basic, minimalistic schedule? From feeling frantic to choosing favored activities?
(Disclaimer: Sometimes survival mode is something you’ve got to trudge through and it’s impossible to fully get out in the current season. If that’s you, hang on. Walk through it. Know you’re not alone. Pray continually. But if you’re nearing the end of survival mode and you’re ready to crawl out into a simpler schedule, read on for some thoughts.)
Be okay with taking one thing at a time
Take an honest look at your current situation, and then take one thing at a time. Create a minimal focus and work slowly on that one thing and then the next until your abilities loosen up a bit. Making the mental switch to an intentional, minimalistic schedule can alleviate a lot of stress.
List your priorities
One day you’ll wake up and realize that you have the capacity for a little something else on the calendar. It’s at this junction that you might want to list your priorities for your family, your season, your goals. Choose only one or two activities that will serve to enrich and further those top priorities in your life.
Ask for help
Most of us need a boost to get out of survival mode, so ask for help. Get a babysitter for an hour a week. Request prayer from trusted friends and family. Call on your support network—times like this are what they’re there for!
For further reading and great thoughts, check out this Pinterest board. 🙂
Does anyone out there have thoughts on moving from survival mode to an intentional minimalistic schedule? Comment below and share with us!