At the best of times, life is messy. At the worst of times, that mess seems to invade every space of our conscious and unconscious minds. Yes, there is still beauty, even in the worst of times. But when life is going to crap in so many areas, it becomes increasingly hard to identify life’s “beautiful” gifts.
I’m guilty of it. I’m guilty of letting little things that aren’t going as planned to interfere with my headspace, my heart space and my soul space. Those little things sometimes multiply until I patiently wait for “time to mend all things.” Do I really expect life to be sewn together neatly with no frays? Do I really need to cut myself off of enjoyment because something just isn’t working out right? In an ideal world, problems don’t exist. In the real world, they do, and it’s important to find strategies to deal with life’s ups and downs.
The art of compartmentalization is a strategy for learning how to file, box and shelf things, which ultimately allows us to experience a level of freedom/enjoyment in other parts of our lives. No, the messes don’t clean themselves up on their own. And no, it’s not magic. But learning how to shelve things can free up our minds, our hearts, and our souls. When we compartmentalize things, we have more time to focus on life’s beautiful – be it family, being outdoors, or doing what you love.
Here’s the truth – and I think most of us can agree – that life is messy and yet life is also beautiful. So why do we let little messes mess with our entire being? Why do we let the little things accumulate until we no longer feel strong enough to cope? Why do we continually carry the weight of these messes on our shoulders? These little messes can quickly become soul sucking vampires. Compartmentalizing different facets of our lives doesn’t make us ignorant of these things, but it allows us to file them and deal with them at an appropriate time.
Here are 5 tips on how to compartmentalize messes in your life:
- Recognize which parts of your life are causing you stress, and create labels for these issues. These can be relational, work related, budget related, house related, community related, health related (just about anything!)
- Take out a calendar and start plotting times that you will think/deal with these specific messes.
- Visualize yourself taking the issue and putting it in a box. If the box starts to overflow, visualize yourself stomping on it to pack it down and keep it there.
- Don’t open the box before the scheduled time, but also don’t avoid opening the box at the scheduled time. When you stop letting the issue infest your daily life, you will be much more emotionally capable of dealing with it.
- When your scheduled time arrives, open the box and be as objective as possible. What do you need to do to fix it? Who can you involve? Does it involve setting boundaries? When your scheduled time is up, schedule a follow up for yourself. Take it in strides.
There you have it. Sometimes we have a tendency to absorb everything that’s going on around us. As parents, we sometimes find it hard to “turn off”. Compartmentalizing helps. Give it a try, take a deep, cleansing breath. You got this!