Here we are in the midst of the autumn season. The cool, crisp air; the bare, leaf-less trees; the scent of Mom’s Vegan Pumpkin Raisin Bread baking in the oven; the smoke escaping the chimneys; being curled up in a warm blanket with a cup of tea, a good book (and my cats). These simple pleasures bring calmness and feeling of peace inside, if only for a moment.
Quickly, we are snapped out of our reverie by reeling thoughts of decorating, shopping, holiday parties, traveling, and snow tires (standard in the great northeast!). All of a sudden, the appreciation of the present moment is lost and the focus now lies on what has to get done in the future.
Many times we are distracted by that “To-Do List;” you know the one that perpetuates our every waking thought…Yeah, that one. When we think about our imminent agendas, we end up missing out on the great things that happen in each and every moment. All of those items on our list will get done eventually, there is no need to stress over them. Push that list aside for a short while and become present.
Here are some ideas to bring about peace in this stressful time:
1. Stop what you are doing and BREATHE
Many of us forget to breathe…. Well, not just breathe, but deeply breathe with full consciousness. Prana (Yogic breath work) is life-force; it’s energy, vitality, emotion, and it works to center your mind and body as one. Many times when we are stressed, we are only breathing short chest breaths. When you recognize this happening, just take a long, slow inhale through the nose. Hold this breath at the top and sip in a little more air, then slowly release the breath through the nose. At the end of the exhale, release the last bit of air in your lungs and hold briefly. Do this 5-10 times and you will suddenly feel relaxed, focused, and conscious.
2. Take a look around and find something you appreciate
In each situation we are in, there is something to be grateful for. The good news is even when you think “There is NOTHING to appreciate right now,” there always is. Revel in the mere fact that you are able to do what you do. Appreciate your life! You can also appreciate those things in life that may be hard or challenging; knowing that these obstacles are in place to help you grow. I find that writing down 1-3 things that I am thankful for each night before bed is a great way to wind down and feel blessed.
3. Plan time for yourself
Tis’ the season of giving, but how often do we overlook giving to ourselves. Our minds and bodies need to feel loved and nourished to be able to give love and nourishment to others. I see time and time again; people who exert all their love and caring onto others and when it comes time to draw on these qualities for themselves, they are drained. Schedule a time slot each day to do at least one thing JUST FOR YOU. Whether that be meditation, enjoying a cup of tea and some reading, or turning on some music and dancing like no one is watching! Whatever tickles your fancy, DO IT!
4. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!
Like many of you, I am the type of person to just do everything and never think to ask for help. Asking for help is a sign of weakness, right? WRONG! Asking for help is a sign of strength because you understand you are not Super(wo)man (although that would be nice). Take a look at your list and highlight the tasks that you specifically don’t need to do; things you can ask someone else for assistance with. My husband is GREAT at doing dishes and dusting, and even if he wasn’t-who cares? Those little tasks are being done so I can work on the family budget, my yoga teacher training, or the special time I’ve allotted for myself (See number 3). Once we can understand that we don’t need to do it ALL, all the time, stress can be released.
5. Take a glimpse in the future
Don’t forget to take time to think about this time of your life and how it will help you achieve any goal you may have in mind. No matter what you are doing, there is a purpose for it. It could be to help you grow, to connect you with others, to open a door for something else, or to help someone in need of service. Each moment and circumstance in life is good, no matter how small or insignificant it may appear to be.
How do you bring calmness to your busy life?
Related: 4 Ways to Feel More Peaceful
The Linguistics of Staying Present
Photo: James Whitesmith via Flickr