We are all hecticly busy. I get it. I live it.
Many days I feel myself moving from one carefully scheduled errand, meeting, activity, scheduled event to another, and I wonder, “How did I get here?” With the help of many of my teachers, especially Judith Hanson Lasater, I realized there is time to slow down, time for rest, time for self care.
Before the 5 tips I’m excited to share will work, you must do one thing: CHANGE THE WORDS IN YOUR HEAD. You must tell yourself there is time and make it. Once I observed the amount of time I spent on social media, I instantly had a half hour. Once I confronted my agitated state while waiting in any line, I immediately had time for meditation. The time is there. It’s our responsibility to our best selves to use it mindfully.
Tip 1: When you wake up, breathe. Right after you’ve silenced the alarm, place one hand on your heart, one hand on your belly and inhale deeply. Then exhale deeply. 3 deep breaths. In conscious stillness. You’ll soon find you want to linger here. Maybe adding 10 deep breaths or a morning prayer of gratitude for the day, the abundance and the infinite possibilities! I have found that slowly entering the day like this welcomes more space for clarity and a peaceful mindset. Thank you Elena Brower for this gentle idea.
Tip 2: Excuse yourself. You may not know this about me; I love bathrooms. Ever since I was a kid, they are space where I feel the safest. Oh, the stall stories I can tell and the rest stop recommendations I can make! In my growing friendship with them, I have realized the bathroom break is called that for a good reason. Use the stall time to stall. If you need a moment, take it. Again, you can focus on the breath or practice a one-minute meditation. Some days this might be the only minute you have to yourself. Instead of complaining about the day, rejoice in this moment! Especially if you scored a clean stall!
Tip 3: The red light as friend. In undergrad I read Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace Is Every Step, and it’s a book I revisit a lot. One of my favorite sections is Driving Meditation. In the van, I catch myself making to-do lists, circularly thinking about frustrating situations, and rushing to avoid red lights. Again, I catch myself, and I change the words—words I learned from Thich Nhat Hahn: “The next time you see a red light, please smile at it and go back to your breathing. ‘Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile.’ It is easy to transform a feeling of irritation into a pleasant feeling. Although it’s the same red light, it becomes different. It becomes a friend, helping us remember that it is only in the present moment we can live our lives.”
Tip 4: 5-minute Yoga. If you plan 5 minutes for your coffee run, you have 5 minutes for yoga. First thing in the morning. Right before lunch. Between meetings in your office. With the kids. Right before bed. You have 5 minutes. Pick one pose, move in and out of it for 5 minutes. My go-to, you might guess, is Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana). What happens? Suddenly, I’m in triangle or lunge or just dancing around, laughing, finding my balance. I share from my experience—I started making more time for yoga in my schedule (I actually build it into my day so it happens!) because I kept going over the 5 minutes. But there are still days 5 minutes is what I have and I am grateful for those 5 minutes to move my body!
Tip 5: Bedtime Ritual. Creating a nighttime ritual just for me has done wonders for my sleep and for my peace of mind. My face care time is a meditation. I focus on the feeling of the water, the soft, circular motions during washing, rinsing, and moisturizing. And then it’s Legs-Up-the-Headboard. I will admit sometimes I read here awhile before resting with an eye pillow. The physiological benefits to this inversion are worth researching. But I live for the soft roll to the side and lovely little tuck of my legs under the covers before I drift soundly to sleep.
Imaging putting all 5 together every day. Interspersed self love that will generate a kind and sweet attitude you can share throughout the day. That’s how we spread love, loves, in this wacky world. It starts with self care, self love.