Part I is here. If you haven't read it, this post won't make much sense. :)
Now that you've gotten yourself a few minutes to yourself, the key is to USE that time. It's easy to think that playing on the computer or catching a few minutes of Oprah will help you wind down. And it probably will. But it only helps for those few minutes that you're watching it. There is something else that will help sustain the calm feeling for much longer.
Yep, cleaning. And let me preface this by saying that I hate to clean. I hate the actual process. But, I have found that it really calms me down and lets me enjoy being inside so much more than I otherwise would. When I get totally stressed and the walls feel like they're closing in and I'm ready to sell the kids on eBay (my husband's joke), a clean house makes me feel so much better. When your environment is calmer, you will be calmer. Seriously.
This was my counter yesterday afternoon.
It was covered with dirty dishes, plastic bottles to be recycled, paperwork, mail, an empty plate that needs to be returned to a friend, empty napkin and paper towel holders and lots of odds and ends. And it gets a lot messier than this, believe me! This is not that bad - at least according to my standards - but it was bad enough to make me crazy.
This countertop makes me feel better. And when I'm feeling better and calmer, I can handle the craziness of life better.
The trick to utilizing quiet time to its potential is to clean something that will make you feel better all day long. Not just the 15 minutes that you use playing Farmville. ;)
Find a spot in your house that makes you crazy when you look at it. And clean it. Don't procrastinate - just clean it. It may be your sink, ala Fly Lady, it may be your kitchen counters, it may be the living room floor. But clean it. When your environment is calmer, you will be calmer. I promise. (And you might find that if you keep it up, your whole house will be clean in a week or two.)
My absolute favorite tip for feeling better through cleaning is this: Take the 50 minutes you have left of quiet time after you've had your coffee and your deep breathing and clean a little bit in every single room. I like to have cleaned floors and cleaned surfaces. So, my trick is to go through the living room for about 10 minutes, quickly putting away things on the floor and on the tables, then move onto the kitchen, the hallway, and any other room that is messy.
Do NOT go upstairs or wherever the kids are, though. They might interrupt you. And that's not good. ;)
I also take a laundry basket with me and throw all the toys, books, socks, etc...that don't belong in that room into the basket. I take it with me then into the dining room, the kitchen and any other room that I'm working on. Chances are really good that most of these things are not mine, anyway. After quiet time is over, the kids then have to go through the laundry basket and take out what is theirs and put it away. This does NOT take the place of the kids doing their normal cleaning chores.
And if you clean a little bit in each room, the whole house starts to feel clean. And when the house feels clean, the walls don't close in nearly as badly. :)
Pretty soon, you just might enjoy cleaning.
Okay, no, you probably won't. But you might feel calmer.