One of the best ways that I’ve found to stay peaceful is stick with the health foundations that keep us vital and strong throughout the year. You know...exercise, good nutrition, solid sleep, hydration, and stress management. It’s easy to get pulled away from these healthy habits so stand guard and increase your diligence. We don’t want to pay for a few sloppy weeks over the next six months. Think of it like charging gifts on your credit card; you want to be able to pay it off right away without incurring extra charges and debt.
I thought I’d share a few things that work for me in maintaining peace and balance, especially during this time of year. Take a look and feel free to add any to your repertoire. I also do a Daily Energy Routine that has been a third savior in my life (yoga and mindfulness being the other two) so connect with me if you’d like to learn that.
Start your day in peace
Before you jump out of bed and start on that to-do list, remain laying and take a few moments to just be. Take a few breaths; notice them, notice your body. Check in and see how you feel. An emotion or carry-over from a dream may be present so check in with this starting point. This will help you to take care of yourself and be your best today. Breathe in gratitude.
Move the body
I love to take a walk before I go to the gym and have my coffee and first breakfast. In the quiet of the neighborhood my body awakens. I feel what’s tight and loose and connect with my breath. It’s a great meditation in motion, even in this brisk morning weather.
Have a great breakfast
Nurture your body with vitamins and minerals and jump start your metabolism for the day. This is NOT just coffee. Veggie omelet, whole grain oatmeal, Greek/high protein yogurt and fruit, or Ezekiel bread are a few options.
Say No to say Yes
As the day progresses, watch how much you take on. There are SO many great ideas out there and projects that will take “just an hour”. Be discerning with your energy availability and the actual time things take. I calculate things take 3 times the amount of time we initially projected, leading to frustration, worry, and no longer having fun. Saying “no” can actually give you a big boost of personal “yes” so don’t be afraid to not raise your hand all the time.
Break Point - Informally Staying Present
We are so frenetic and busy, always doing and on the move. Even when we are standing still our mind is busy. Stopping periodically throughout the day helps us re-set ourselves. Break points might be when you are doing a regular task such as washing your hands, feeding the cat, having 3 sips of tea, or brushing your teeth or they can be transitions when we switch from one activity to another; sitting to walking, from your desk to a meeting, phone call to computer, etc. They come informally and thus a perfect tool for helping us to periodically break the cycle of go-go.
With this process, we stop and recognize where we are and what we are actually doing - in our thoughts and our body. We connect with the present moment, switching away the busy forward-looking habit mind. When you do these activities, you are doing nothing but these activities. No thinking about what’s next, no multitasking, no rushing. It can be amazing - and amusing - to see how far away you were from what you were doing so it’s a perfect way to re-set our rush-rush energy.
Sitting for 20 minutes in quiet, noticing my breath, noticing my Being, and resting in what is is one of the greatest gifts I give to myself every day. For me, meditation is very grounding and nurturing. It connects me to my self and helps build that relationship of inner peace, helping me to open up to what might be bubbling underneath, and nurturing myself more deeply.
Gratitude before Bed
Ending the day on a positive note is very important. The last thing that we do, engage with, or think will be what we are bedding with for the next 8 hours so offering a positive reflection of the day is important, especially if it didn’t go as planned. Journaling 6 gratitudes can be lovely - 3 things that you are grateful for related to the external world (the sun that shined, the door that was held open for you when your hands were full, the meeting that went well) and 3 things you are grateful for about yourself (perhaps you chose not to have that piece of chocolate, stuck with your exercise program and did 20 extra crunches, or remembered to walk in awareness your mindfulness stairs). Whatever offers positivity, quieting and settling of the mind is wonderful.
There are many more things that I do every day to promote a sense of stability and peace and, while I’m not always successful in keeping it together, I’m in a much better place than if I didn’t keep a personal peace practice going. So keep your daily peace practice going, whatever it might entail and if you need support developing one that works for you, reach out. Life ebbs and flows so much we need the tools to keep us grounded in an unstable world.
With many blessings for peaceful days,
Mindfulness & Stress Management Coach