Grounding Practices

Living in Montréal this month has introduced a lot of new activities to our days and weeks. The Metro and the markets. The backyard pool and neighborhood splash parks. All the places we want to go and see. And all the people - everywhere.

I love the pulse of this vibrant city and all the things we can explore and experience here. However, no matter where I find myself (whether the woods or the city) certain routines bring a familiar comfort and rhythm to my life. 

Adding simple touches of beauty to our home, whether that's hanging laundry on the line or having a wildflower bouquet on the table, is one thing I love to do no matter where I am.

Reading is also a grounding practice. Something I need to do. Reading any time of the day is wonderful but my favorite time is in the afternoon. A break from my busy day right after lunch feels delicious and indulgent. 

I also like to nap right after lunch if I'm tired but sometimes all I need is fifteen minutes of quiet reading and I feel rejuvenated. Though, if I'm in a good book, that fifteen minutes may stretch into an hour. Makes me feel good just thinking about getting lost in a book for an hour.

These are just two things (three with napping) I love to do regardless of where I am. I have a bunch more. My morning cup of coffee, a daily writing time, reading with the kids, one day a week hiking, reading my Bible, regular bed and rising times, and cooking healthy meals. I don't always love the cooking part but I love the healthy part because we feel normal and physically good when we eat well.

With summer here, or nearly here, most of us have travel and vacation plans. Routines shift and sometimes fly right out the window (that's ok too). This can be fun for a time but many of us need grounding practices to keep us on an even keel.

Before your summer (or life) starts to spin out of control, it's a good idea to identify what you need in your daily and weekly routine to feel normal and healthy.

Then do it. 

This is what I've discovered - no one else can do this for me. No one can identify what I need to feel normal in the midst of change. That's my job.

Having identified my grounding practices (which change with different life seasons) it's also my job to communicate these to my family or simply do them if I don't need their participation to make it happen.

Likewise, I listen to my family's needs and we work to take care of each other. As the mom, I'm always tuning into where my kids are, trying to help them identify what they need and structuring our days to make that happen. Same goes for my husband.

We support each other so that no matter where we are - whether that's living a month in Montréal or in a long life season of flux - we can feel healthy and normal.

What are your grounding practices? How do you make them happen in your life?


PS. If you're trying to work grounding practices into an actual schedule, you might enjoy Defining Priorities to Make a Family Schedule. This is a post I wrote a few years ago when our days were a bit more predictable than they are now but the principles still apply.

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Breathe In ~ Breathe Out »
  • Nicole

    Nicole on June 13, 2012, 2:27 p.m.

    My days start with coffee and prayer time, a little yoga stretching, and then some blog reading. Even when we are off backpacking I do this (minus the blog reading of course). Each evening I read with the kids. And somewhere in between there I practice my guitar and do some knitting. I have some weekly grounding rituals as well, which help keep us eating healthy. They are one day a week is granola-making day, one day or two are cooking dry beans days, and another day or two is making muffins or energy balls - all that so we have staples on hand to eat from during the busy days of life!

    This post is such a nice balance to yesterday's! You could put out another ebook based on them! :)


  • Ginger Allman

    Ginger Allman on June 13, 2012, 5:09 p.m.

    I'm so glad you wrote this today. I'm struggling with this. My two oldest (18 and nearly 17) now have jobs and are transitioning to independence. Schedules are crazy. The kids mostly feed themselves. We are backpacking and kayaking a lot now, with weeklong trips in the plans over summer. We will sometimes have our 13yo and sometimes she'll be with grandparents or at camp. So no day is the same. I'm struggling with finding routines and not falling into the trap of letting the day rule me (rather than me ruling the day). Without deadlines and reasons it's hard to impose a structure on the vast expanse of unpredictable and flexible summer days. Living with intention is one of my life principles, yet I tend to end up living each day by default. I need to sit down and map out a plan and stick with it.


  • Sarah

    Sarah on June 14, 2012, 12:58 a.m.

    Have been enjoying your and your family's journey so much (LARGE smile).

    It was a trip down memory lane seeing your sights in Fredericton with your mom and Celine. I love the term "young adult" and will be using it myself.

    Look forward to more pictures from Montreal. I haven't been there in years. Mont Royal looks beautiful.

    Take care, Sarah


  • Spring

    Spring on June 14, 2012, 1:39 a.m.

    I can't wait to reread this post in the early morning for the next few days- this right where I am at- finding my grounding activities as head into summer. Thanks for sharing!


  • Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz

    Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz on June 14, 2012, 3:08 a.m.

    Getting lost in a book would be such a luxury for me right now! With littles that are 3 y.o. and 6 months I just can't do that! :) I have no 'me time', no breaks, no breathing room, sometimes I feel like the fast forward button is pressed and I don't know when it will stop. But we do have quiet moments, when I read to them at bedtime, when we take our daily walks, outdoors is our 'slow' time, when we're home it's busy because I need to do all the meals, housework, and work online all at the same time.


  • Lacey

    Lacey on June 14, 2012, 9:30 a.m.


    I loved reading this - like the commenter before me, I have a toddler and another baby on the way. My days are non-stop, over-full and I struggle with the lack of downtime. Despite a great deal of persistence, my little girl hates to be on her own, which means I have company all.the.time. She rarely plays on her own, even for 10 minutes. This makes it so hard for my soul to get that breathing space, and I must admit I find this hard to manage at times.

    Your lifestyle reminds me of what I'm working towards. One day, I will be able to spend 15 minutes reading before lunch, or taking a nap. This season doesn't last forever (it feels like it does at times). Thanks.


    • renee

      renee on June 14, 2012, 11:14 a.m.

      Do you have a daily quiet time for your daughter or nap time? You don't have to personally answer if you don't want to. Having a daily rest time for my children (three kiddos in under 4 years) was my sanity saver when the kids were little. I needed that quiet time so much. I often napped myself.  Jamie at Steady Mom and in her first book Steady Days writes quite a bit about that in her own life. Personally, I couldn't have functioned without my kids having a quiet time every afternoon.


      • Aimee

        Aimee on June 14, 2012, 4:03 p.m.

        Amen! Even if your young ones outgrow a "nap", they can be taught to be in their rooms for 30 minutes to an hour to look at books, listen to soft music or a story on CD, etc. So worth the initial struggle that they will give you! They come out refreshed and restored and less whiny as does mama :)


      • Lacey

        Lacey on June 14, 2012, 10:23 p.m.

        She does nap, for a little over an hour in the afternoons. I have, for better or worse, committed to doing some post-graduate study this year, which has meant nap time is more pressured than I'd like - it's a combination of taking 15 minutes to do the cleaning that I can't do with her around, and then trying to squeeze in school work, all the while dreading the early wake up!

        I installed a safety gate on her playroom with the idea that she would learn to play in there on her own for half an hour each day, but it's been a real battle to get her to do so. Most of the time, she stands by the gate and cries for twenty minutes, which hardly makes the time relaxing for me. I am hoping that with the arrival of a sibling, she may learn to transition to playing alongside the smaller one instead of me. I'll keep working on it, because like you say, those moments are so helpful and refreshing. I try to make the most of my evenings when she is in bed, although they get a fair bit of school work and cleaning lumped in them too.


      • Johanna

        Johanna on June 15, 2012, 12:44 a.m.

        I agree about quiet time! I have 3 kids now 4 and under. My four-year-old does not sleep every day, but we still have rest time. It is a habit worth working for! :)

        My grounding? Coffee and reading my Bible in the morning. Reading in the afternoon during the kids rest time--I try not to do the to-do list (at least most of the time!).


  • Natalie

    Natalie on June 14, 2012, 6:37 p.m.

    your blog has been quite the breath of fresh air! i discovered you from last week & have been hooked ever since!
    this post is a good one! thank you for your encouraging & wise words. grounding practices are important! mine are my morning cup of coffee along with my Bible time (before any of the crazies awake) … also, i would have to say a moment to read during rest time. i definitely need to carve out time to journal more. getting thoughts & emotions out on paper is so therapeutic! i found that getting these "grounding practices" to happen takes an intentional effort on my part. whether it be setting my alarm in the early hours of morn in order to have that moment of calm… or letting the kids have quiet time (since nap time is no more) & taking advantage of that time of day by having some quiet time of my own.

    blessings to you & your family during this adventurous time in montreal!


  • Tonya

    Tonya on June 15, 2012, 11:08 a.m.

    Hi Renee, My grounding time is for sure my morning coffee, after lunch tea/coffee with some reading,and then getting outside in the afternoon, and then Bible reading when I lay down at night to nurse the littlest to sleep. I have enjoyed catching up with you! Your writing continues to inspire me and our family - life is just so awesome isn't it? Thinking of you, Tonya


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