Why The Lack of White Space Makes You Irritable, Frustrated, and Overwhelmed

Doesn’t the idea of going to a mountain spa retreat sound absolutely decadent? Maybe you would sleep in until 9AM or join a cut-throat game of Spades with other retreat goers. You could lose yourself in a gorgeous novel, or plink around on the piano. Perhaps at sunset you would snuggle under a soft blanket with a cup of hot cocoa and listen to crickets sing the symphony of the woods.

And you would be at peace.

Realistically though, that ain’t gonna happen. Not this year anyway.

Chances are that as you read this, you are stuck in the pick-up line at school. At any moment your kids will careen towards the car. You will shove a bottle of water and hastily packaged snacks in their laps and you will race off to whatever evening activities are on the docket.

Or maybe you are reading this at 2am as you rock your 6-month old back to sleep. You have dried milk spit-up on your shirt and you haven’t washed your hair in two weeks. You are bone tired and even though you love your little one with all your heart, the fact that you have an 8am meeting just gives you a headache.

Your life is beyond full. It is densely packed with ‘all the things.’ You know you need a break, you need rest. But rest is a luxury you can’t afford right now.

There is just so much to do.

personal white space

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But wait. Hold on a moment. Is that right?

Are Moms really too busy to rest? Is rest a luxury or a selfish act? Or, is rest more of a necessity?

Believe it or not, the answer to that question (and the solution to that conundrum) can be found in the area of writing and copy-editing.

One of the hard and fast rules of writing, especially writing for the casual reader, is that the reader needs white space.

During the editing process most writers are told to break their writing up. Split a long paragraph into two or three paragraphs. Cut a long sentence into two, shorter sentences.


Well, as it turns out, most readers will tune out if they are presented with a big blog of text. The article could be the most interesting thing they will ever read. However, the brain literally tunes out. We get tired. Our eyes glaze over.

If a writer splits a paragraph up into short, bite-size pieces, the brain breathes a sigh of relief. It’s like your psyche says, ‘Ok, I can do this. I am ready to receive.’

We are hard-wired to crave white space.

You have probably heard this before:

  • Less is more;
  • Don’t use a $5 word when you can use a $1 word;
  • K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple…)

But how does copy-writing related to our personal lives?

Think about Sunday afternoon and the rituals you have in place to prepare for the week ahead. Maybe you cut vegetables or get lunches prepared. You fold laundry and lay out clothes? Sign permission slips? Call the electrician? Either way, when you sit down to review your family calendar, how do you feel?

At peaceor frustrated?

In controlor overwhelmed?

Excited….or irritated?

If you tend to feel frustrated, irritated, or overwhelmed, that could be an indication that your ‘personal paragraph’ is just too long. You are taking on too much. Burning the candle at both ends.

If you are a Mom, chances are you can’t really eliminate many items on that to-do list. Some items are required. Some items are the types of things you really need to do (like clean your toilet and buy milk) to keep the house running smoothly. And let’s be honest… some items on that list are necessary to keep your sanity intact.

The good news is that it doesn’t take much to create white space in your life.

10 Ideas in 10 Minutes

You don’t need a mountain retreat to successfully incorporate the R&R of white space into your life. Here are 10 easy ideas that can take 10 minutes or less. If you incorporate any of these 10 ideas into your day, I bet it would have a huge impact on your ability to not get overwhelmed, frustrated, or irritated.

  1. 5 minute morning devotional or quiet time
  2. Make time for a stretch break
  3. Take a walk
  4. Drink a cup of tea
  5. Write in a gratitude journal
  6. Dabble in an art journal
  7. Close your eyes for a moment of silence
  8. Get outside!
  9. Be still
  10. Detox from electronics


PS: Check this out

personal white space

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