We are so bombarded with our day to day living that we usually move from one activity to the next without giving ourselves a moment to rest. If we do, some tend to gravitate to our phone to kill time. Doing this can make one feel staticky and overwhelmed from the last activity, especially if it was a stressful one, and it will continue to overwhelm your day.
Consider the morning routine of a mom with small children. She wakes up and makes herself a cup of coffee, packs lunches, wakes the kids and begins the repetitive saying of “brush your teeth”, “brush your hair”, “get dressed”, “make sure you bag is packed”, “put on your shoes” etc. By the time she is done making sure everyone else is ready her coffee is ice cold and they are going to be late if they don’t leave right away. They end up getting stuck behind a bus, one of the kids says they left their water bottle at home and the other two are arguing about who sat in the middle seat last. Unease starts to run high but the mom takes a deep breath and reaches for her coffee only to graze it with her hand and spill it. She tries to reframe in her head, “At least it’s cold and won’t burn me”, before completely losing it. She gets to the school and enters the drop off line where the volunteers are violently waiving their hands to direct traffic. She kisses each kid as the jump out of the car and yell at each other to “have a good day!”. She then gets behind multiple cars trying to exit the school, checks her phone quick while standing in traffic, drinks her cold coffee and makes it to work with 5 mins to spare. Sits at her office to take a deep breath, grabs her phone to answer texts, check social media and then immediately begins to tackle her day. Lunch is then taken at her desk while she continues to multitask, she watches a couple of videos and sends a meme or two to break up her work flow. The after-lunch slump hits hard and her work slows for the day. She picks up kids from school, chats about day and sits on her couch in an attempt to decompress but can’t relax knowing she has to now be an Uber for after school activities. When she gets back it will be the dinner rush, get homework done and initiate bath time for bed. While she knows she can delegate a few things to her husband that doesn’t entirely relieve her to relax yet either.
Exhausted yet? That mom is me and it gave me anxiety just writing it. I don’t leave time for the transitions and maybe you find yourself doing this too. I took all the haste and overwhelm from the morning rush right through my day, leaving me in a state of fretfulness and feeling uneasy. Sure, some days I take a moment to work out or go for a walk but most days I am trying to check all the things off from my never ending to do list. What I mostly find myself doing is grabbing my phone during a transition but my attempt to decompress and recharge is actually ramping up my already fueled anxiety. Hit after hit of the dopamine scrolls does nothing to relax us but rather the opposite, it feeds into our already driven day.
As I reaching my third year sober, I started to become aware of my unrelenting habit of “zoning out” before moving to the next task at hand. I even find it difficult now to complete my thoughts without the urge to pick up my phone and do a quick scroll, making the process of writing this out even longer than I intended. I always knew my phone was a problem but it was progressive just like my drinking. I didn’t really “need” my phone at first. It was cool to have, had a couple of games on it and texting was fun but now I find myself having an almost full-blown panic attack if I can’t find my phone right away or ‘gasp’ leave it behind. It has become a “need” in my life. I can no longer “take it or leave it” in every literal sense. I’m using my phone in between my tasks of the day as a reward to myself. A nice sweet hit of dopamine to keep me going, but is it fruitful? Sure, it gives me a quick boost to keep going but at the end of the day I feel burnt out and depleted because screen time doesn’t equate to the quality time we need to refuel our soul. I want to break the habit but couldn’t think of anything that could be done quickly, give me peace and help me to prepare for my text task.
One gorgeous crisp fall morning after my women’s group left, I found myself just sitting in my backyard taking in the beauty of the scenery and the love of the Lord. As beautiful as the moment was I knew I had to leave it to continue my day. I instinctively reached for my phone for some downtime when I heard “pray through the transitions”. That’s it!! Pray through the transitions, how did I not figure this out sooner!! I wanted to smack myself when this seemingly simple and obvious thought came to mind. This is how I should be transitioning throughout my day. Fuel my soul by the power of prayer, not by the numbing of the phone scroll. Pray through the transitions has been drumming through my head for days now. It’s left me with a peace and understanding that no matter how busy my day can get I can always find time to pray, to re-center, and refill my cup. It can be as simple as “Thank you God for getting us to school safe, please keep the kids protected throughout the day and help me find the peace, clarity, and focus I need to continue my day. Amen”
I encourage you to pray throughout the transitions today. We don’t always have to carve out a set time to relax and decompress, we can find solace in the “in betweens” of our day. Seek God’s agape love and peace and it will always be returned to you tenfold.