One word that has been on my mind lately is "quiet." Have you ever truly noticed how much noise we're surrounded by on a daily basis? Currently, I can hear my co-workers chatting (yes, I'm writing this at work... whoops), the housekeeper vacuuming, and the music I have playing. Thank GOODNESS I grew up with two younger sisters and I can easily tune things out!

All joking aside, I've become so much more aware of not just the audible noise, but other noise like clutter, digital noise, and even noise stemming from relationships. These other types, that may or may not make actual sounds, take an incredible toll on your day-to-day life! It can be distracting or discouraging, reduce your productivity, and possibly create health problems. Read on to see how I'm combating those different types of noise in my life!

Clutter // My room at my parents' house (soon to be my house again since I'm moving back home!) was FULL of stuff. Just stuff. Not necessary stuff. Not important stuff. Plain ol' stuff. 4 years of moving back and forth between dorm rooms and apartments and home really took its toll on my organization abilities and the storage capacity of my room. My parents were, rightfully, so tired of seeing all the junk that was stacked, almost literally, floor to ceiling. I HAD to clean it out. It took a while, but I finally got it done a few weeks ago! Oh, the things I found in there! (I also learned that I have hoarded A LOT of clothes I've outgrown.) I went through every storage container, every nook and cranny, and ruthlessly got rid of stuff. The pile that I kept is significantly smaller than the pile I'm putting in our yard sale. It felt good. I was then encouraged to do the same at my apartment. I've only been there almost a year, but I own a lot of things. I'm trying my hardest to stay in the mindset of "get rid of it" and ask myself a few questions about each item I'm unsure of:

1) Is it necessary to every day life?
2) Does it hold special meaning to me?
3) Does it bring me joy?

I tend to not be a sentimental person, but like everyone else, I'm fairly materialistic. Understanding that your worth does not come from what you own is essential in this process. I also have to focus on not thinking about what I spent on each particular item. Sure, it will be hard to see something I paid $15 for go for $1 or $2 at a yard sale, but I keep thinking about how incredible it will be when Harrison and I move into our house after we get married and we only have the best, important, and necessary items.

Digital Noise // I have started to make a more conscious effort to put down my phone and tune into what is going on around me, rather than what other people are doing. This process of detachment began a few weeks ago when I realized I wasn't sleeping (and therefore waking up) well. I decided to stop sleeping with my phone right beside me. I still keep my phone in my room (I'm afraid of someone not being able to reach me if they need me/something happens), but it stays face down on my dresser with the ringer on. I've always heard of the effects of blue light right before bed, but never realized how much it does affect you until I started reading actual books before bed, rather than my Facebook timeline. I have been falling asleep faster and waking up feeling more refreshed. A lot of my struggle to fall asleep I was blaming on wedding planning stress. While I do think that is part of it, not having my phone beside me forces me to actively make an attempt to relax rather than scroll through social media to distract myself.

I also turned off almost all of the notifications on my phone. The only ones I kept are weather alerts, my morning devotional reminders, Google Calendar reminders, tweets from Thoughts of Dog, and texts. No social media, no email (my boss will send emails every hour of every day, so I need to be able to actually "leave" work), nothing. The only one that has the little red bubble notifications are my texts. It is so refreshing to open your phone to check one thing, see a clean screen, and not be tempted to check the other 15 notifications you have. Speaking of a clean screen, my home screen is a solid light pink background. My lock screen is the picture of the wheat field from above. That picture fills me with so much peace and serenity whenever I look at it. What you take in with your eyes is able to affect your mood, emotions, and thoughts so much. I try to keep things clean and simple.

Relationships // It can be so difficult to balance all the wonderful people in your life. People can be demanding! I have my close friends, friends I love but don't get to see that often, family, Harrison, work relationships, Sailor (yes, she counts due to the amount of attention she requires!) and all of the other people that fill my life from day-to-day. My Myers-Briggs personality type is an ESTJ, but I scored a 51% E and 49% I. My barely extroverted self loves to be surrounded by my loved ones, but I do need time to recoup on occasion. I think people who are really close E/I have the worst FOMO... because I do! There are instances where I really need that downtime, but the side of me that needs interaction can't be quiet!

For the most part, my weekends are reserved for family activities and Harrison, since the weekends are the only time I get to see him. My friends know this and thankfully completely understand! They also understand that if we all want to hang out, plans need to be made ahead of time. I'm at a different stage of life than most of them, so if I can't make something they don't get upset (even if I do!). The easiest way to see my friends is week night dinners, even though I have to limit those as well- the house won't clean itself! Sailor takes up a lot of my time, too. She has to go for about an hour long walk every night, be fed, bathed, played with, etc.

As much time as my relationships take up, I try to view it as an investment. Rather than seeing everyone all the time and not doing much, I try to spend quality time with everyone at a bit lesser interval. If I am rested and fully in-tune to the time I'm spending with them, I am better able to connect with them!

It can be so hard to find the quiet in your life, but it is so necessary for your well-being... no matter how extroverted you are! These are the main areas I have been focusing on lately. I am approaching a new season in life, so evaluating where I'm at and where I need to be happens daily. If you have any tips on finding the quiet in your days, please share below!

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