Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Five Healthy Ways To "Check Out"

Photo image courtesy of Frédéric Poirot
"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.
Today's trouble is enough for today."
Matthew 6:34 NLT

Chances are, if you are reading this blog right now, you are probably familiar with the term hyper-vigilant. I didn’t have any response to this term whatsoever until I had children. (If you don’t know me, I have four sons, two of which have special needs.) Now, there are ENTIRE DAYS that my palms don’t stop sweating and a fun combination of fear, frustration, and sadness washes over me in waves. Images flash through my mind of everything from the police showing up at my door with my runaway son to an eternity of packing school lunches. 


I begin to long for a huge glass of wine and an impossibly soft blanket. Sometimes – if I’m being really, really honest – I just feel like “checking out.”

You know what I mean? Check Out, as in daydream like a teenager in the middle of a Monday morning Geometry class. It’s just a little mental vacation here and there to keep your sanity safe and accounted for.  My Check Out of choice used to be stress eating, particularly cheesecake. However, I’m working on worshipping God with my health, so cheesecake isn’t a part of my life right now. It led me to seek out new, healthy ways of checking out. Through accident or divine design, I've found some. They are effective, silly, and Mom/kid approved. 

Here’s my top five Healthy Check Outs in the hopes that you can use them, too!!
  1. Disable your self. One morning my glasses broke so my vision was pretty significantly decreased. I was still able to see blurry bodies moving around and was still able to pack lunches. I was JUST impaired enough that I couldn’t see the cereal spilling on the floor, the shirt tucked into the underwear, or the mess threatening to creep out of bedrooms. It was like everything was perfect! This can work with earplugs (disposable type available at most Wal-Marts/Walgreens) or peppermint oil under the nose, or mittens over the hands. Whichever sense is the one that causes you to be the most Type A, disable it temporarily when you know you are most likely to stress. The time will MOST DEFINITELY keep you blissfully unaware of everything that’s not a house fire or broken bone.
  2. Pray WHILE they’re talking. Temper tantrums in our house sometimes involve looooooooooooooong explanations as to why the naughty thing done wasn’t so naughty as much as it was necessary. The child in trouble will go on for as long as it takes to explain every. Single. Detail. Of how THEY were actually the victim of the situation. In these cases, I check out by praying for that child in my mind rather than listening to the saga. It puts a peaceful look on my face and it carries that child’s (and my) stress straight over me and straight on up to the only One who can actually fix it.
  3. Bake/cook. I never thought I would ever suggest this one, because I am the farthest you will ever find from Betty Crocker, but hear me out. If kids know that they will get a warm cookie after leaving you alone to make them for 30 minutes, they’re pretty inclined to leave you alone. OR, they might even offer to help and you can give them a job that keeps them 1) out of danger and 2) occupied, so you can think. Put on some music that makes you happy – I like Jimmy Durante or Hillsong.
  4. Take a driving vacation. Sometimes the best Check Out ever is just having the children immobilized in a vehicle. I put a whole basket of library books between two of them and the third kid goes in the 3rd row with another basket. I’m fully armed with their favorite book on tape or music cd. Then, you buckle yourself in and set off to Check-Out-Ville, USA.  You get to just focus on the scenery and the emotion-free task of driving. Who cares where you are going – it’s more about the freedom to plug into a different part of your brain.
  5. Give up and go out for ice cream. Yep. I said it. Sometimes, even after the worst day ever, all of us need a reminder that we are loved unconditionally. There is a Dairy Queen right up the road, and we have been known to shove all children in the car – even right before bed in pj’s – and go get something fun. They even have low-carb options there so it’s a win-win!!!! 
Obviously, there is a season for everything, and I think check-outs would apply to that truth. But they are the exception, rather than the rule. The key is to use them as a reminder that YOU LOVE THESE LITTLE BEASTS. 

And, above all else, do not check out without thanking God that you CAN check out – because he’s got this. 

Pray:  Dear Lord, we are so thankful that you don't ever check out on us. Please help us to remember to lean into you and laugh a little more often. It's so easy to get caught up in earthly perfection, comparison and discouragement. Thank you for keeping us right at the pace and place you know we will serve you best in. Amen.


  1. Ah. Worry has been a familiar shadow to me for too long. Glad I'm rid of it. It's a process but I'm getting there.

    1. That's so encouraging to hear!!!! It comes in waves and seasons... Just when I think I'm rid of it, something new pops up on my "radar" and I find that I have much further to go. But - in HIS weakness we are strong, right? Excited for you!