“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” -Lao Tzu
Sometimes we take too much on our plate (metaphorically speaking) and lose our energy in too many activities.
There might be deadlines, birthdays, cleaning, cooking, meetings, phone calls to make and problems to solve. When we’re so busy, we feel that all we do is to put off fire.
So we need some pick me up action to relieve our stress and gain some energy. ASAP.
I should know better, but apparently I’m still learning. I just had one of those weeks, 2 birthdays with all that comes with that and 1 major deadline. To be honest my stress levels have been high, to get it all done. But we all have times like that.
So I had to pull the breaks for a second to regain some balance. This is what works every time.
- Shut the door to take a break. When we’re busy we think we can’t afford a break, but that’s when we need it the most. So take a break, right in the middle of it all and breathe. I needed a break from all the birthday preparations. I took a break.
- Meditate. You know that this one was coming. Right? I’ve found that those days when I meditate just 5 min or even less, I’m more likely to make better choices and can focus to prioritize urgent matters and challenges. I used to think that I need to take 30 min to meditate (which is not true). You can just do 2 min and benefit from it all day long.
- Stretch like a cat. I’ve been experimenting with different kind of exercises, like swimming, running, gym and yoga for over 1 year now. I’ve come to conclusion, that yoga is the best exercise when I feel overwhelmed or stressed. It’s because yoga helps to regain balance, calm the mind and mild stretching gives good energy flow. It reduces stress hormones in our body. Don’t get me wrong, I love running, gym and swimming, but when I feel stressed out…..last thing my body needs is to increase speed. Yoga just works when we feel overwhelmed and need to regain some energy. I usually run and go to gym when I have lots of energy. Oh yeah, and swimming is good too….especially followed by sauna…but it just takes more time than yoga.
- Adjust focus. So this one is major learning point for me. Stress happens, when we focus on some future event, rather than process. For instance, we start thinking about the time and work left until our deadline, rather than focusing on doing one task at the time to actually accomplish the project. It’s a matter of focus. If we allow our mind to mess with us, we end up feeling overwhelmed or stressed, which reduces our energy to do the work. So when I find myself worrying, over thinking or can’t get started, I know that I’m stuck in the future, in the result I want to produce. It’s the joy of each step, that makes the journey worth pursuing .
- Cut down on coffee. Not everyone is affected by coffee, but many people are. If you find yourself drinking countless cups of coffee in a day to just keep up with what you have to do, then consider drinking less coffee. Some people are highly caffeine sensitive, like myself, I used to drink 4-5 large cups of coffee a day (check out how I quit). What it does to our body is to elevate our cortisol levels (stress hormone). That’s a BIG no go, when we want to reduce stress. I now drink green tea.
Btw, did you know that I send out a newsletter every Wednesday? My intention is to send out small reminders to you readers to help you slow down and enjoy life. You can sign up here. :)
Greetings from “my thesis space”…heavy theories, methods, leadership challenges, mindfulness and endless cups of tea. And yoga and running…to keep me sane and fit(ish). It’s been exciting, but tough. In exactly 2 weeks, I’m all done with this chapter of my life. Finally. Yay.
I open my arms to uncertainty and new opportunities. Yup. I’m a gal without a plan….for the first time in my life. It’s exciting.
I’m tempted to allow my brain to produce some strategic grown up plans, but I want to try something new….and have no plans. I want to see what happens. Keep it interesting….you know.
p.s Sorry, if I’m little slow in comments and reading your blogs.
Happy Monday! :D
Off to run and then it’s time for some leftover cake from my son’s 6th and my daughter’s 3rd birthday .
Sometimes life throws difficulties on our way. This can upset us and confuse us, because we all like stability and our comfortable life. Maybe we lose our job, divorce, lose our house or have health challenges.
What ever the case, it really sucks. We don’t like it, but we feel we can’t really do anything about our situation.
So we’re angry, confused and bitter for some time. And that’s ok. We have to give space to those feelings. We need to feel them deep, but then allow them to leave us.
But before we can move forward in our life, we need to accept our current situation fully.
We need to accept the darkness we’re in, before we are ready to let light in again.
Here are some tips that worked for me during my tough periods.
- Things take time. We want to have everything fast, but feelings and life don’t move according to our wanting’s. I believe it’s important to align ourselves with how life is at this very moment. We can do that by slowing down, being more gentle with ourselves and finding time to heal. Eventually, we will laugh again.
- Look at the big picture. When we’re going through tough times, it’s easy to get stuck in pain we feel at the moment. That’s ok to feel what ever we feel. But at some point, we need to take a step back, deep breath and see that this pain or discomfort we feel, is not going to last forever.
- Don’t believe the crap your mind tells you. When we’re emotional and angry, our mind feeds us with all sort of catastrophe thoughts, that we buy into. Just notice those thoughts, but don’t let them control you and your future choices. Those thoughts are result of anger and bitterness, but they don’t get to control your life.
- Create a breathing space. When we feel overwhelmed and angry, we tend to spend all our time and energy on it. Do something you love, to create space where you get a break from your thoughts and emotions. Go to yoga, draw, swim, dance, run, go high roping or go hiking. Do something, to breathe again and allow happier emotions in. Breaks help us to see our situation with “fresh eyes” and find new opportunities.
“How bright a light there must be to cast so dark a shadow.”
The other day I ran a little late getting my son ready for school (8 a.m sharp). So we ended up rushing way too much, which obviously didn’t give my son or me a great start to our day. Later when he came home from school, he said he felt a little sad in the morning, because we had to rush so much to get to school on time. I think it was his way of saying, it was too stressful morning for him.
It can happen to anyone, but I noticed that rushing in the morning happens for one reason.
We wake up too late, which pressures us to rush and can ruin the whole day.
I’m not a morning person like at all and mornings just generally tend to be the most stressful time of my day (even though I meditate). Getting the whole family out of the door on time in a slow and calm way is something I’m working on to improve.
So here are some of our new ways to improve and slow down our mornings.
- wake up 30 min. earlier
- read a book
- breakfast & feel good calm music
- take a different route to school or work (it adds some fun)
- take time to notice the sun, trees and birds singing
- whistle or sing in your car
- have a list of 3 most important things to-do today ready (from the night before) and just stick to them right from the morning. Get them done and allow the rest of the day unfold on its own.
- notice the good and say it
We had such a great morning today. My son was so happy and I felt good and calm for the rest of the day.
What are some of your best morning routines that help you have calm days?
Your favorite breakfast?
Your favorite song right now? (check my fave below)
Have a great weekend! :D
When we feel overwhelmed with our schedule and workload, before we start our day, it’s almost impossible to enjoy our day. We might feel that we’re behind with everything and can’t focus on anything. We lose focus. And that adds even more stressed to our already stressed day.
Here is a thing, I’ve learned from super busy lifestyle I used to live, still experience it sometimes (I’m not perfect). Those days when we feel we have no time to even drink water or eat, those are the exact moments we need a break the most.
In a loud and crazy world, it’s good for our soul to slow down. But, it’s not always easy to do that, when we’re so busy.
So here are a couple of practical tips that have helped me. Try out one step at the time whenever you find your heart racing and when you feel overwhelmed with your tasks.
- Breathe. It sounds ridiculously simple, but it works and you can do it anywhere. Focus on your breath. Take 5-10 deep breaths or until you feel your heart slows down and tension from your body leaves.
- Take attention into your body. Notice if your shoulders are close to your ears, all uptight. Try to relax and do this as often as you remember during the day.
- Morning routine that rocks your world. Often, we just shoot out of the door, already late, grab a bite and off we go. But starting mornings calmly, is relaxing and it energizes us in a good way. I normally (not every day) but try to read a little for 10 min (while my kids watch some cartoons), shower, meditate (5 min), get kids ready, eat breakfast and get going. Reading and meditation just add that magic touch of calmness to my day that I need. It feels great to do things I love, before I face the world.
- Create a slow ritual. I have made tea making and drinking to my slow ritual. It takes 5 min to make tea and another 5-10 min to slowly drink my tea. It gives me that break to slow down during my busy day.
C’mon over to comments and tell me…. :)
How you slow down during your day?
Do you have a slow ritual?