I hear so often from my friends, colleagues as well as clients, that they are feeling totally overwhelmed and exhausted due to all the demands and stresses of modern life. Many say they feel like they are on auto-pilot and not as motivated as they used to be. For some, their work has lost its purpose everything has become such an exhausting effort. And then there are those who spend more time looking after everybody else first, not having the time to think even about the desires and needs of their own.
Do you find that you are always so busy, tired, stressed out and are you frustrated, feeling like you need some time out all to yourself? There is so much to do, so many obligations and so little time to do it in. Well, you are not alone.
Let me let you in on a little secret that has helped me fit so much more into my life. It was a piece of advice that I was given once when I was very overwhelmed myself. It’s so simple, but it is SO effective.
Are you ready for it?
You’ve got to slow down to speed up!
So, what does that mean?
When you are stressed and busy, you can’t think clearly. When you are calm, poised, serene and connected to yourself, it’s like you’ve got more hours in the day. When you are calm, you develop the capacity to do more, be more and experience more in your day.
So here are my simple six tips to help you to calm down to speed up to enable you to fit more into your life!
1. Create a morning ritual
I used to answer about ten emails or messages and check all my social media apps before even getting out of bed in the morning. But starting the day off like this often sets a negative tone for the day, and I now know that most issues can wait. I’m learning that I’m much happier when I take 45 minutes to wake up slowly, spend time in my garden and shower before checking email.
Create a morning ritual to help set your “vibe” for the day. So many of us are living on auto-pilot and just reacting to whatever happens to us throughout the day. If you watch the morning shows you’ve already been subjected so much bad news before your day has even started. This puts you into a negative “vibe” with a negative filter. Your brain will start to seek out negativity.
Why does this happen? Have you ever decided that you want to buy a car and the moment you decide on a make and model, you begin to see that car everywhere? You may not have noticed that they were everywhere before, but now that you’ve set your “intention” to buy the car, similar cars just seem to pop up. This is because the part of the brain known as the Reticular Activating System automatically seeks out the information that you placed your “intention” on and brings it to your attention. Find out more about the Reticular Activating System here.
Write a list of the 10 things that you are grateful for. I do this as part of my morning ritual. Make sure you think of 10 different things every day. When you are in a grateful mindset you, increase your contentment and life satisfaction. Having an “attitude of gratitude” improves mood by boosting your feelings of optimism, enthusiasm, and happiness in your life.
2. Incorporate a meditation practice every day.
I start every morning with a short 10-minute meditation using an app called OmHarmonics. The meditation helps me visualize the things I’m most grateful for and allows me to reduce negativity and design my perfect day. I find that early morning meditation increases my self-awareness and helps me put into perspective what really matters. This practice helps me start the day more positive, energetic and happy.
Meditation helps us counteract the stress we all face on a daily basis. By detoxing the mind and letting go of thoughts and feelings that don’t serve us, meditation helps us reduce stress and all of its negative effects, allowing us to have the capacity to fit more into our day.
You can start off by just doing this for five minutes every day and build up to 20 minutes of meditation on mindfulness every day. Try to do this at the same time every day and make it a ritual. I usually do this as part of both my morning and evening rituals.
3. Do something relaxing that you love regularly
Do something you love, something that you really love and savor every moment you are doing it. You can be something as simple as taking a bath, or listening to beautiful music or indulging a hobby such as gardening, painting or taking in the sights of a beautiful view. If you have a pet, spend some time playing with or cuddling them. Or if you have children spend some quality time or play time with them.
Write a list of all the relaxing things that you would love to do. All those things that you’ve meant to do but haven’t gotten around to yet. After you have done this schedule them into your calendar and set reminders. Keep your list of things that you would love to do somewhere where you see it often. This will remind you of the things you love to do so that when you are busy you can easily refer to this list.
Try to do one thing each day no matter how small, just because it makes you happy. You’ll be flooding your body with “feel good” endorphins and feeling great.
4. Disconnect the devices and Re-connect with nature
We spend far too many hours in front of a screen or hunched over our phones these days. Switch everything to air-plane mode and disconnect from the constant social media and email alerts for about one hour a day and re-connect with nature. You can sit under a tree at lunchtime and read a book or walk barefoot on the grass or wet sand. Go for a swim in the sea or lay down and simply watch the clouds in the sky.
Our bodies respond to touch, whether from other human beings or the earth. The texture of sand, earth, or the grass underneath our feet or back or the protective canopy of a huge tree above our heads helps us to ground ourselves and reconnect with the natural environment that surrounds us. Be in the moment paying attention to all the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations that you experience. This is such simple a thing to do that can be invigorating we so often overlooked in our busy digital worlds.
5. Keep a journal
Keeping a journal is a wonderful tool for self-examination, goal setting and celebrating your successes. You can use it to track your progress, encourage yourself and especially when you are trying to encourage better self-talk. It is a great outlet for dealing with challenges and a place where you can process your thoughts. It really helps to get some feelings that you have bottled up inside out and on paper. I have found I have gotten to know myself better by keeping a journal and by writing down my thoughts have more understanding about how I feel about things.
6. Schedule in some more “me time”.
Think of some ways you could schedule in more “me time” and the practice self-acceptance and self-love. It could be having a massage, relaxing at a beach or giving yourself at home beauty treatments. Having a Day Spa at Home at home is an excellent way to do this so schedule in some “me time” regularly for relax, restore and rejuvenate.
I hope you have enjoyed hearing the simple ways you can slow down to speed up and if you got something out of this feel free to share, like or comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts and your stories.
How often have felt like this? You feel like you have just gotten to sleep and the next thing you know your alarm is blaring. It’s time to get up, again. You reach out for your phone, hit the snooze button, “just a little more shut eye before I get up”. And then before you know it, you’ve already pushed snooze three times to find you’ve only got enough time to have a quick shower, rush to get dressed and bolt out the door.
You push through the day fuelled on a cup of coffee and a donut without any time to prepare a good nutritious meal, or for exercise. And the thought of setting aside some time for self-care to nourish your spirit seems to be a luxury that might occur in the distant future once you’ve caught up with everything on your plate.
Sleep, wake up, work, repeat. Sound familiar? This kind of daily grind will eventually lead to burn out. This is what happened to me. I worked and studied hard. I didn’t set aside time to look after myself. I was so focused on my goals, achievements, and meeting the huge expectations I had of myself. I thought I was bulletproof and that I could handle juggling all the balls I had in the air.
I always thought “I’ll take that vacation when I get that promotion, or after that project finishes.” Or “I’ll have a massage after work” only to find that I would have to cancel my appointment as something urgent had come up at work.
I thought work came first and my work related goals were my priorities which left me little time for anything else. Eventually, my body forced me to take a vacation, but it was not at a beautiful resort. I was bedridden, completely burnt out, and it took a very long time to recover.
It is so vital that you set aside time for self-care, to look after yourself. I know. You’re busy, and finding the time to take good care of yourself can be difficult. But it’s important to ensure that you avoid being battered from exhaustion and operating in a mental fog where it’s hard to care about anything or anyone.
Are you stuck in an unhealthy daily grind? Here are ten simple ways to incorporate self-care into your life.
1. Start your day with a morning ritual
I used to answer at least ten emails or messages before even getting out of bed each morning. I’m learning that I’m much happier when I take about 45 minutes getting ready for the day by spending time in my garden, showering and then performing my morning ritual before looking at my emails. Most issues can wait and are better dealt with when you are ready to deal with them.
I start every morning with a short 10-15 minute meditation from an app called Om Harmonics. We spend so much of our time in a hyperactive stress out state that we often forget that it isn’t our natural state. Relaxation through meditation gives us a chance to reconnect with our inner self and helps us ward off unnecessary after-effects of stress, which ultimately put a strain on our bodies. Follow the link for more information on Meditation.
After my meditation, I then write down the ten things I’m most grateful for which helps me to start the day intentionally focusing on finding good things rather than reacting to anything and everything that is going on around me. I then set my intention for the day. I find that if I write down my intention I usually find that I have the type of day I wanted.
This morning ritual helps me to start my day on a positive note. It also increases my self-awareness helping me to put into perspective the things that matter the most. I have also found that by setting aside time for this morning ritual, I am more productive as well as happy and relaxed.
2. Schedule some me time in first
When you put yourself on your schedule first , you won’t have meetings and appointments that prevent you from taking care of yourself. I prefer to put myself as my first appointment of the day on my calendar that is linked to my phone and my laptop as well as my other devices. This way I ensure that I follow my morning rituals and not get caught up in the day, deciding later to skip on important things that keep me grounded, like exercise and meditation. This is so helpful when you have people at work who look for free time in your calendar to schedule a meeting. If you have time already reserved some “me-time”, you will be more likely to keep your appointment with yourself, and the bonus of having reminders increase the chances that you will keep your appointment with yourself.
3. Set specific time slots when you don’t work.
Focusing on work is a great excuse for not taking care of yourself. I schedule work-free slots first thing in the morning (before eight a.m.) and dinnertime (6 to 8 p.m.). During these time my computer is off and I answer my phone for only those who important in my personal life. Block off work-free times in your calendar. This is the best way to ensure that these times are clear for your “no work” time.
4. Get moving
Exercise is one of the most critical components to staying healthy and maintaining optimal wellness. Sedentary lifestyles produce mediocre bodies and fast-forward the aging process. To achieve greater health and feel your best, you must move your body. Of course, there are virtually thousands of ways to exercise, but each one of us has different needs and health concerns. How you choose to exercise isn’t as important as simply being active. In other words, whether you decide to run 5 miles every morning or shoot for a quick 20-minute walk around the neighborhood, as long as you are moving you can attain physical fitness.
For me, I love yoga. It has many so many benefits, from helping to keep you physically fit to helping relax the mind and washing away feelings of stress and anxiety. With our busy lifestyles, it is common for people to forget to take a little bit of time out for themselves to de-stress and recuperate after a hard day of work, and yoga has the potential to achieve this. Yoga is a low-impact exercise and, therefore, can be done by people of all physical levels and all ages. It’s the easiest way to reset your mind and body in 60 minutes.
Most of all choose something you love doing and aim for at least 30 minutes 5 times per week.
5. Keep a journal.
Keeping a journal is an excellent tool for self-examination. You can use it to track your progress, encourage yourself and especially when you are trying to help better self-talk. It is a great outlet for dealing with challenges and where you can process your thoughts. It helps to get some feelings that you have bottled up inside out and on paper. I have found I have gotten to know myself better by keeping a journal and by writing down my thoughts have more understanding about how I feel about things. .
6. Have a chat
In studies conducted in places where there are the greatest concentrations of centenarians (people over 100 years of age), such as Okinawa Japan, one of the most important factor attributed to their long lives were family and friends and their sense of community. Your friends and family are your biggest supporters and are a great source of encouragement. When you are having a very stressful and busy day, pick up the phone for a few minutes just to say hi to Mom or have a chat with your best friend. You don’t have to talk about your problems, just talk about the good things that are happening in their lives or just have a laugh. It will keep you grounded and connected.
7. Read, watch or listen to something inspiring
One of the best ways to refresh your mind is by taking an afternoon break from your workflow and escaping to another world. Fictional stories help to stimulate right brain activity, sparking creativity. This might contribute to making your day go a little smoother by helping you to think in a different way. Biographies are wonderful for inspiration as well. Choose someone you really admire and become engrossed in the story of their life..
Another great thing to do in your afternoon break is to go outside, get fresh air and listen to an inspiring podcast or a Ted Talk with the podcast app that now comes standard on the iPhone.
Or you could simply go for a run or a walk and listen to some uplifting music by using the iTunes radio or Spotify app on your phone.
8. Make time for play.
It is vital to incorporate play time into your life. Do something you love, and savor every moment you are doing it. You can be something as simple as taking a bath by candlelight, or listening to beautiful music or indulging a hobby such as gardening, painting or taking in the sights of a beautiful view. You can plan a holiday to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go to. If you have a pet, spend some time playing with or cuddling them. Or if you have children spend some quality play time with them. Make a habit of doing something fun at least once a week.
9. Remember to Pamper Yourself
Pampering yourself facilitates relief from stress and helps you to connect with your inner self. It is a good way to practice self-care and self-love. However, some feel that pampering yourself is selfish. The truth is that this type of thinking is flawed. When you practice self-love, you have more of yourself to give to others. In fact, when you think about it this way, the practice of self-love is a really a selfless act. There’s nothing more important than making sure that you are just as happy and just as healthy as can be, especially in the stressful and pressure-packed modern world we all live in today.
Make time regularly to have a Day Spa at Home. It will help you to have beautiful hair and skin while letting the stress and pressure of day to day life just melt away.
10. Get enough Sleep
The health, well-being and beauty benefits of sleep are incredible. Getting the sleep your body needs helps lead better mood, energy levels, focus and concentration. Not to mention that many detoxification processes are performed while we sleep and helps your brain to process what you have done during the day. To do perform at and to be your best, it’s critical to consistently recharge your batteries by getting adequate sleep.
It is so easy to get stuck in a grind. I know, I’ve been there myself. All of the stress and pressure of life in our busy modern lives is having an adverse effect on our sense of self-worth and our ability to love ourselves—nothing could be more detracting from leading the happy and fulfilling lives we were meant to lead. It is so vital that you set aside time to look after yourself, inspire yourself and to do something completely different to work, study or just the same old routine. I hope this article has given you some ideas to incorporate some self-care into your life. They are so simple but make such a difference.