In today’s Small Things Interview, Melissa Clark shares with us the one small thing she did to help stress go down for her entire family. Sounds awesome, right? This interview is chock full of great advice on how you can do the same.
An Interview with Melissa Clark
What is one small thing that has changed your life over time?
Melissa: One small thing I have been doing every day that has improved my day and made it more efficient has been doing a simple prep for the next day the night before. This may include:
- washing a load of laundry to be dried in the morning;
- getting breakfast items set up and ready to go with dishes and cooking utensils, etc. (this also included cooking oatmeal overnight in the crockpot at one point) and the coffee pot pre-programmed;
- setting out my clothes for the morning;
- having the kitchen cleaned up;
- and having some sort of to-do list ready.
Another wonderful and helpful thing has been to turn all screens off at night 30 minutes prior to bedtime and simply spend time reading an actual book, devotional or magazine.
What did your life look/feel like before you started prepping for the next day each night?
Melissa: Mornings used to be so hectic and took such a long time to get anything done. Disjointed and easily distracted, my children and I would often stay in our pajamas all day partly due to either no clean clothes or not being able to distinguish between piles of clean or dirty laundry. A messy kitchen not dealt with the previous night meant random breakfast choices that were only partially healthy, at best.
With no to-do list even considered, I usually would forget things or events unless I had the foresight to put it on the calendar, which was the only saving grace I had.
And in the evenings, I would just fall into bed as soon as my husband and I would finish watching an evening episode of whatever 45-minute program series we were going through.
How is your life better, brighter and/or happier now?
Melissa: My life has been so much more efficient and smooth due to my small changes. Stress has gone down for the entire family.
As a family, we pick out our clothes for the next day when we do our evening ritual with our kids. After they are in bed, I clean up the kitchen from dinner and set up everything for breakfast and coffee.
My husband’s lunch is also ready to go. I have even added setting out our vitamins and supplements because I will forget them if I don’t.
My husband and I still watch our evening episode. But we also make sure we are done with enough time left to talk about our day and any other important things to connect as a couple and then read for the 30 minutes before bed without any screens to distract us.
Reading has improved the quality of our sleep and has even helped my husband snore much less than before. Having better quality sleep has helped when I have had less sleep and has made it more probable for me to rise before my children to start my day with devotions and quiet prayer with a few minutes to check over my to-do list and start breakfast. My children are notorious for coming to breakfast as ravenous little beasts but become manageable, sweet children by the end.
Were there any obstacles you had to overcome as you worked on prepping for the next day each night?
Melissa: My biggest obstacle has been consistency! I have been told that it takes 21 days to form a habit. I had to do this every day to make it stick.
Usually, I was so impressed with the results that I was getting that I would stay motivated to continue. But there were times when I was not doing this and I would have to start over.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start doing the same small thing?
Melissa: Remember that life comes in seasons. Whenever I wanted to quit (which I can’t do with four little humans depending on my help), I would remember this great advice a fellow mother of 5 gave me after I had just had my third baby and all my children were age 4 and under:
“The way your life looks now is not how it will look in five or ten years–or even in one year from now!”
Rhonda’s post about having time for yourself ties in with this concept as well. Start with just one thing! Once that is established, choose another. Build your routines with each step knowing that it will get easier and your life will change again because you are implementing that one small thing over time.”
Melissa Clark has been married to her husband Ken for 11 years. They are a Bible-believing Christian couple that has been blessed with four beautiful children within the past eight years! She believes that God created us to have children naturally without needing most of the practices held as the current way of doing things within the hospital settings in the United States today. She and her husband researched each possible choice carefully before having their children. Out of these choices was born the journey she has taken to a more natural and holistic lifestyle. To find out more about her journey, visit www.thewaygodintended.com
Let’s Chat about “Stress Has Gone Down For The Entire Family”:
Do you prep for tomorrow the night before? How do you make your mornings easier? Let us know in the comments.
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