7 Ways to Bring Some Quiet into Your Day
Since having children I’ve been searching for a quiet place to enjoy some “me time”. It’s hard enough to carve out the time for me to just relax and take some time to myself but trying to find a quiet space for that to happen is becoming increasingly difficult.
I used to enjoy going to the library, Chapters (Canada’s “Barnes & Noble”) or a café. However, most of our libraries now only have desk chairs at a computer station and no armchairs to sit in and read. The bookstores have also removed chairs in favour of adding in more stationary and gift tables. And every time I head to a café I get overstimulated by the noise coming from other smartphones, overly loud personal conversations and people listening to music without earbuds!
This escalating noise and distraction everywhere we go has become the norm, but I just want some peace and quiet when I’m away from my children. How do I find some calm and quiet in our noisy society?
Well, it took some time, but I’ve found a couple of strategies to help with this.
Go and sit on the sofa or mattress section of a department store
in the middle of the week! I usually opt for the sofas and now the employees recognize me and don’t bother coming to see if I need assistance, so I can read quietly while I sip my tea I picked up at the drive-thru on the way to the mall.
Find a non-mainstream café.
Ditch the Tim Hortons and Starbucks – they are always packed no matter what time of day it is. Try to find a small mom and pop style, locally owned café. These places are often quiet later in the evening after the work crowd has dispersed or gone home for the evening.
Find some green space.
If it’s warmer out, take a blanket or camping chair and head out to a park. Not the kind of park where they have a play structure for children (that won’t be quiet!), but one that fulfils the “green space” quota for your town or city. The one with nothing in it but nature and maybe a path to walk along. Set up your blanket or chair and relax. I also recommend bringing a small cooler with a drink and snack in it and don’t forget your hat and sunglasses!
Go off the grid.
If possible, try to take a day or a weekend to yourself to relax. This might be a spa or a yoga retreat or a holiday somewhere that is relaxed (and not a bed of tourism). The goal is to find a place where you can just sit and be still, an environment where phones and distractions are not part of the norm.
If none of these seems possible (and I challenge you to think otherwise) then there are a few ways you can find some stillness in your everyday environment.
Find a quiet time in your day.
I warn you – this may mean getting up before the kids! But if you aren’t opposed to early mornings (like I am) then this might be the best solution for you. When you get up early you have a lot of quiet time to just think without interruptions and get things in order before everyone starts demanding your attention. Think of it as the calm before the storm.
For me, mornings are not my best time. I prefer my quiet time at the end of the day, after the kids are in bed. You might prefer yours in the middle of the day if you can escape the office for a quiet walk. Regardless of when you find this quiet time it’s important to plan for it, schedule it in and make it special for yourself.
Sometimes all it takes to calm the overwhelm in your head is to disconnect yourself from technology. We forget how quiet our homes could be without all the messages and alerts pinging at all hours of the day and evening.
I challenge you to put your phone on silent for a portion of your evening. You can also take control of what distracts you by turning off notifications to certain things on your phone. You don’t need to be notified of everything happening on social media. It’s amazing how less chaotic your evening will feel (even with all the family activities and responsibilities taking place) when you remove the noise coming from your smartphone.
Find a good meditation track and put in your earbuds.
Sometimes it’s hard to focus with the noise around us. Some days I while trying to read or take some time to myself I get distracted by the kids playing (and arguing) in the other room. Even though my spouse is watching them I can’t tune out their little voices. My solution – a white noise app or YouTube! I have found a great meditation track that I use to block out the noise. With earbuds in and this track playing, I can finally tune out those little voices and find some quiet to just sit. I would guess it’s also great for meditation too if you wanted to try a structured meditation practice to find some quiet in your day.
While I may still long for the days where I could sit quietly in a bookstore and relax, I’ve now found some alternatives to break free from the noise in our world.
Finding some quiet might take a bit of work up front, but once you’ve found what strategy works best for you-you’ll be able to find your own quiet time even in the most chaotic weeks.
Where do you go for quiet time? I’d love to know how you find tranquillity and peace in a noisy world, let me know in the comments below.