Tag Archives: balance

The Funny Thing About Time…

Around 10 am this morning I was sitting on my couch, enjoying an iced coffee, and feeling very grateful for a relaxing Sunday morning. As I reflected on the morning I thought about all I had accomplished, yet felt very calm and content throughout the whole morning.

hourglassBy this time I had meditated, cuddled with my daughter for a bit, fed my daughter breakfast and two snacks, ate breakfast, got my daughter and myself dressed and ready for the day, went on a hike and took photos, did a few sun salutations and yoga poses, read 2 chapters in Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East, changed a few diapers, drove through a car wash, vacuumed and cleaned the inside of my car, went grocery shopping, fed the dogs, completed some households tasks (washing and putting away dishes, washed a load of laundry, picked up toys, etc.), and sat and read to my daughter.

Considering that I can easily remember a time when I wasn’t even out of bed by this time, I would count this as a very productive morning. I also can remember many mornings when I did much less and felt stressed, rushed and frustrated. So what was the difference with this morning, when I did quite a bit, but felt relaxed and calm?

My state of mind.

Time is a tricky thing. Often we feel it is limited and probably use it as one reason we can’t get to things we want to do. When we look at our long to-do list, and focus too much on the past or future, time seems to shrink. It moves quickly, keeping us hurried and scattered, trying desperately to get as much crammed in as possible.

In today’s world we often feel hurried and overwhelmed by all that we “have to do”. This perspective leaves us moving through minutes, hours, days, month and years at a rapid pace. The tragedy in this is that we miss truly experiencing so much and never seem to do what we want to do.

However, we can make time expand by changing the way we think. When we focus on this current moment and simply glide from one activity to the next without looking too far ahead or letting our mind get too focused on the past, time seems to move much slower. We can accomplish more than we ever thought we could and truly enjoy it.

Time also feels different when we prioritize the things we want to do. While we may have to clean the house, we can take a moment to do something we find enjoyable like reading, creating or sitting with those we love. Many hobbies or activities we truly enjoy can be done around the things that are our responsibility but not our favorites. Even if it is just a few moments, sprinkling in the activities that inspire us can truly pull us back into the moment and make time move a little slower.

The way we perceive and approach time makes a difference in how it feels to us. Using a practice of present moment awareness can create a feeling of endlessness to the moment we are in. This will ultimately lead to being more productive and can give room to add in the things we love.

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Creating Balance in Your Life

It is so easy to get out of balance in our lives these days!  If you are looking for a way to get back centered check out my post on West Valley Moms Blog.  While it is written with Moms in mind the steps can be helpful for anyone! 

Creating-Balance-HERO

Moms are busy people.  Whether it is the demands from kids, husbands, friends, families or work, there is a lot for us to balance. We continue to add more onto our plate, and often feel like failures when we can’t do it all. Sometimes it almost seems as if there is a competition out there to see who can get the busiest.  The winner will win a slew of stress related health problems and regrets of not spending enough time on the important things in life.  It’s not a great prize and we don’t really want it, yet we all continue to compete.  Regardless of the stress or the amount of time it will take that we don’t have, we keep piling on things until one day, we completely break.  Why do we do this?  For each woman it is a little different but the range of reasons can include the inability to say no, feeling obligated to do more, not feeling as if we are as important as the things we have to do, etc.  It is a vicious and dangerous cycle that we thrive on until we are exhausted and burnt out and not only do we suffer, but our families do as well. Continue reading…

A Gift For You!

Dear Followers,Giveaway

This year I have been truly blessed.  As I think about how fortunate I am, I realize that I cannot pursue my dreams and explore so many aspects of healing without the incredible support you give me.  The overwhelming feeling of love and gratitude for each of you cannot be easily expressed, but I feel guided to try nonetheless.

With this in mind, I have decided to giveaway free coaching to two individuals, as well as significantly discounted sessions to an additional two.  While this can only reach a few people, I hope that it is a small gesture to show how much I appreciate all my followers and clients.  Please go to the Coaching Giveaway page for details and to enter.

I wish each of you an incredible holiday season as well as a New Year full of endless happiness and your dreams coming true.

Be Well,

April B.

 

A few thoughts from silence…

The last few days I have been tucked away on a silent retreat.  Reflecting on this experience, I feel compelled to share a few of the many lessons I learned in this time.  Although this will be different (and longer 🙂 ) than my usual posts, I hope you will find some of these insights to be as valuable and as empowering as I do.

Since many people may be wondering what a silent retreat is, I will give some context Silenceby sharing a little about the retreat itself.  It was just what you would think, a bunch of people in silence.  No television, no computer, no phone, no books, no talking.  While there was time for walking, meditating, yoga, etc., a large portion of my time was purely spent sitting and thinking.  It was lead by two incredible souls, Cassandra Wallick (amazing yoga teacher and owner of Gilbert Yoga) and Patty Van Herpen (one of the most gifted cooks I have ever met), who both added fun, insight and love to the whole retreat.  We were blessed with cool nights and warm days in northern Arizona that allowed for us to absorb the depths of green pine trees, blue skies and lots of fun critters.

Below listed out are just some of the interesting realizations I had along the way.  The insights from this experience will inspire many of my future posts since I had much time to reflect on exactly what this site is about, finding true fulfillment.

It’s easier than you think – Everyone I talked to prior to going on this retreat said, “I could never do that”.  While I understand the hesitation, I had some myself, it really is easier than you think.  Aside from finding it hard not to say things like “Good Morning”, “Thank you” or “Bless you” when someone sneezes, I felt a strange sense of relief to not have to talk.  Not feeling the pressure to fill the air with noise was freeing and rewarding.  Our bodies crave some silence, and I found after just a few moments my nerves relaxed and my body and mind felt peace.  This peace is something that we need in order to give our minds and bodies true rest from the daily stimulation we encounter and we can benefit greatly from adding it into our lives.

Mindful eating– I am a super fast eater and I generally do so with some sort of distraction whether it is reading, television or a conversation.  To eat in silence and be challenged to slow down and truly experience every bite was new to me.  Really focusing on my food gave the experience a sense of wonder I have never had while eating.  I not only fully enjoyed every bite (especially because it was amazing food), but I developed a deep sense of gratitude for having food to eat.  Meal by meal this gratitude expanded from the earth for providing the food to all the people that were involved in getting it to me (farmers, truckers, store employees and of course who cooked it).  This practice also made me incredibly aware of the nutrition in the food I was eating.  Coming back I find myself not wanting to eat anything that won’t feed my body health and energy.  If you have never tried truly sitting and focusing only on your food while you eat, you are missing a simple but powerful joy in life and I highly recommend it be a practice you start.

True relationship building – I am eternally grateful to the women who shared this experience with me, without them I don’t believe it would have been the same.  Being with people for days without really knowing much more than their first name sounds like it would be a bit strange, but I felt a connection and a relationship form with each person without us saying a word.  We shared experiences, meals, and meditations all without talking or sharing stories of who we are.  This allowed a bond to form without any judgments or perceptions.  We can make so many assumptions about people when we learn what work they do, where they live, if they are parents, etc.  This experience showed me that when you take away all of that, there is a deeper level of connection you can build with people.  Not attaching our perceptions, judgments and assumptions to peoples stories can create a genuine knowing of who they are, a lesson that will change the way I shape relationships forever.

Where do you spend your time? – I was so amazed by what I found myself missing and what I didn’t even think about.  The only activities I really missed were reading, writing, playing with my dogs and listening to music; all things I never give enough time to.  I did not miss checking my phone for e-mails or texts.  I did not miss randomly scrolling through Facebook or getting lost in random Internet sites for hours.  I did not miss television.  This really brought me back to assessing what it is that I do with the time I have and if I am spending it on things I love.  I also found myself doing things that don’t always get time in my daily life, but I truly love, like taking slow walks, sitting with a cup of tea and staring at the trees or journaling.  If you have not recently assessed where you spend your time, take this as motivation to do so.  It is incredible how much time we can spend on things that don’t truly matter to us if we don’t bring awareness to it.

You don’t need anything – Aside from clothing, I didn’t have any of my “stuff”.  And I didn’t need it either.  We grow attachments to odd things in our lives and sometimes feel as though we need them.  As long as we have food and warm clothes, we don’t really need much else.  Finding a way to detach from the things we carry with us can be very freeing.  There is a sense of simplicity when you have less attached to you and it allows your mind to freely explore what things truly matter.  This is an easy lesson to practice daily by just minimizing what we buy and letting go of the things we don’t need.

Living in the moment – Once you spend enough time in silence, your mind does this amazing thing and temporarily stops the chatter.  When this happens, you are able to fully just be in the moment you are in, absorbing every ounce of it.  This awareness brought the most incredible sense of joy and gratitude.  Truly experiencing everything the current moment has to offer without the mind distracting you is where the beauty in life truly lies.  True happiness is here, in this moment, if you keep your mind from pulling you away from it.  There are no problems, no fears, and no regrets in this present moment.  Bringing this knowing to the everyday is key in truly living all that life has to offer.

I realize that many don’t have the ability to spend days in silence, however even if you add in some time to your daily life you will see these benefits.  Give yourself space to think, to process your emotions and thoughts.  Release the pain from your past and fear of the future in order to be in this very moment, embracing all of it.  This simple act of bringing some silence into our lives can bring more joy than we realize.  May this inspire you to take a step to limit the noise in your life and truly find the beauty in silence.

Making Space for Fulfillment

We all have moments in our lives when we realize that time is quickly escaping us.  We find ourselves executing everyday through a to do list instead of actually living the precious moments we have.  Although we understand the need for balance and peace, our busy lives sometimes take over and our “must do’s” outweigh our “like to do’s”.  When this happens, we can start to feel a void.  We don’t open up our time for the things that can be fulfilling, and instead push them aside because we are too busy.  Doing this ends up stifling our soul’s growth and we begin just going through the motions.

This can happen with relationships, education, family time or simply hobbies we love.  How many times have you heard someone say they would like to find the love of their life but they are too busy for a relationship?  Or how about those people who say they can’t pursue a course or degree they want because they can’t make the time?  It is a symptom of our busy culture that we feel we don’t have time for the things that mean the most to us.  The tasks that take over our day become priorities over the things we love and cherish.  There is an assumption that there will be time later to pursue these things.  The sad fact is that many people leave this earth feeling the pain of regret from all the things that they wanted to do but never made the space for them.

The solution?  Get busier.  Well, maybe just initially.  In order to make space in your life for the things you want, you must commit to them, which will make you busier initially.  It sounds a little crazy but making space for fulfilling activities requires a bit of re-prioritization and many of us have to force ourselves into it.  If you are working 60 hours a week and feel that you don’t have time to breath, enroll in a course that you want to take.  Join a club that feeds a passion you have.  Begin volunteering with on organization that resonates with you.  Say yes to a date instead of talking yourself out of it.  Commit to coach your son’s soccer team.  Whatever it maybe that you are putting off, embrace it.  Making these commitments will force you to re-prioritize your life.  You will have to let go of some of those “must do’s” that maybe aren’t as critical to ensure you can live up to the new commitments you have made in your life.

The caution here is to ensure these new commitments aren’t things you take on because you feel like you should.  Many of us can add on things, convincing ourselves it is what we really want when in fact it is what we think we should want.  If you get into this trap, you will just be adding on more “must do’s”.  Be brutally honest with yourself.  Ask yourself the painful question; “if today was my last day, what would I regret not doing?”  Don’t judge or feel guilty about what those answers are.  Understand that you are uncovering a part of yourself that needs nurturing and love for you to find fulfillment.

Get creative and start making space in your life for the things your soul craves.

10 Tips for Meditating

As most people have heard by now, meditating is extremely beneficial for your health and overall happiness.  In today’s world, our body and minds are constantly over stimulated.  We are busy, we are distracted and we are constantly thinking, even when we are trying to sleep.  Learning to focus and control your mind will allow you to manage your thoughts and give yourself a much-needed break.  Because it also helps with stress management, meditation has been proven to help your health from lowering blood pressure to losing weight.

One of the common reactions I get when I purpose meditating to someone is “I can’t do that” or “I would go crazy just sitting in silence.”  If either of these are your first thoughts, you probably need this more than you think.  It will allow yourself the space to listen to yourself, detach a little bit from your chaotic life, and give you the gift of doing something just for yourself.  The peace that comes once you get the hang of it is undeniable and addictive (in a good way 🙂 ).

Below are 10 useful tips for those that want to start meditating but aren’t sure how.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, just give yourself some time to be alone and in quiet.  The rest will flow naturally.

  1. Find A Quiet Space – When a person is just starting to meditate it is sometimes difficult to not get distracted by noises.  Find a place that is as quiet as possible and has a great energy.
  2. Be Comfortable – Sit in a way that will not cause any pain or tension.  Also, be sure to meditate in loose and comfortable clothing.
  3. Create A Sacred Space – As meditation becomes a routine it is useful to have a space that your body and mind learn to relax in.  If you can’t create an alter or a place that you can consistently meditate, just get in a habit of lighting a particular candle or incense.
  4. Set A Timer – Many people have trouble not watching the clock in fear that they may fall asleep or meditate for too long.  A simple solution to this is to set a timer that has a nice sound to gently bring you out of meditation.  There are many phone applications that are meditation timers and awake you with a nice chime. You can also use a radio alarm clock and set it to a relaxing station.
  5. Stretch Beforehand – Stretching your shoulder and leg muscles before you sit can help you release tension.  This is a great way to relax your muscles and allow your body to get comfortable.
  6. Start Out With Guided Meditations – If you find sitting in silence too hard then chose some guided meditations or mantras to begin with.  They help you focus and give your body the time to relax.  They are found on ITunes, Amazon, or with a simple web search.
  7. Don’t Have Expectations – Sometimes people have certain expectations of meditation that aren’t always true or accessible at all times.  You may fall asleep, you may see colors, you may not have anything happen…it is all okay. Go in with an open mind and spend the time observing your practice instead of judging it.
  8. Don’t Try To Shut Off Your Thoughts – It is impossible, that simple.  Thoughts will come and go, don’t get frustrated with them or yourself.  Just gently release them when they come.
  9. Look For The Results Outside of Your Practice – Meditation brings many benefits.  Once your start getting in touch with yourself miraculous things can come into your life.  You may also find you are having new perspectives and responses in certain situations.  Observe these changes to see the effectiveness rather than what is or is not happening in meditation.
  10. Build It Into Your Routine – Setting a time to meditate generally isn’t successful in maintaining a daily practice.  Building it into a routine (i.e. after I brush my teeth before bed or in the morning, etc.) can be more effective.  It takes 21 days to form a habit so keep at it!

It is best to meditate for 30 minutes twice a day but if that is too much, start smaller.  Even 10 minutes every day will greatly shift your moods and stress levels.  The key is to give yourself this time and give you mind and body a break.  Enjoy!

Imagine yourself sitting somewhere peaceful and beautiful.

Imagine yourself sitting somewhere peaceful and beautiful.

 

Creating Peace

Every year on September 21st the world takes a moment to celebrate International Day of Peace.  In honor of this great day, it is the perfect time to evaluate how to bring more peace into your personal life.

There is a common misconception that living a peaceful life means creating a life completely absent of anger, drama or fear.  An image of a calm, uneventful and slow-paced life comes to mind.  Some people may crave this sort of life, while others want to avoid it because they love the energy that comes from a more fast-paced life.  This image, however, is somewhat impossible unless you live a life in complete seclusion with zero human interaction.  Human relationships are messy and human beings are full of messy emotions.  Living a peaceful life is about how you manage interactions with others and how you balance your life.  Being a calm and content person regardless of the situations you are in is what creates lasting peace in your personal life.  In order to do this, we need to find ways to balance our lives and our emotions so we are able to enjoy and learn from everything life brings, not just the good stuff.

As with all things, finding your way to a peaceful life is also a very personal journey.  Some of us need to work more internally and some need to work on how we interact with others.  If you are looking for ways to bring more peace into your life, here are a few suggestions on areas that may help you.

  • Relax – I am often astonished at the number of people that don’t know how to relax.  It isn’t a personal flaw, but more a symptom of society that labels any moment of “unproductive” time as a waste or being lazy.  We go, go, go until we are exhausted and then we search for an effortless activity, such as watching TV, for relief.  For some this is genuine relaxation, but for others it is the only thing they have energy left to do.  To feel more peace in every area of your life, your body and mind need downtime that works for you.  It may be playing music, reading, taking a bath, socializing or taking a walk.  Whatever may speak to you, integrating a routine of relaxation into your life is key to balancing your energy and emotions.
  • Process your emotions – We tend to numb our emotions.  Some of them are bitter, painful and unpleasant.  Some, on the other hand, are beautiful and wonderful.  All of them are necessary.  Numbing one means numbing them all.  Trying to cut out anger, frustration and fear to simply glide through life would also mean cutting out all the wonderful emotions of love, joy and excitement.  All emotions need to be embraced and explored in order to experience the type of inner peace that brings a blissful life.  Holding emotions back or avoiding situations that may bring these emotions causes inner chaos that blocks inner peace from entering your life.  When you are in a situation that causes some of the “negative” emotions, take a moment to acknowledge them instead of avoiding them.  Then take steps to work through them in a constructive manner.  This may mean journaling, addressing another person in the situation or taking some minutes in silence to understand what is triggering the feeling.  Every person will handle this differently but a key to peace is facing the emotions directly.
  • Be yourself – One of the most stressful things we can do to ourselves is trying to live up to who we are supposed to be instead of being who we truly are.  If you are not living your truth, you will never feel completely at peace.  Accepting who you are, loving who you are, and living who you are is critical in feeling constant peace.  It is not always easy to be true to who you are, but the work is worth it.  Spend time alone, learning who you are, what you want and what you like.  Make a commitment every day to honor that and remove the things that do not.  You are beautiful and perfect the way you are.  The more you live that way, the more peace you will feel.
  • Practice forgiveness – We all know that conflict is the opposite to peace, but many do not understand how holding grudges or anger towards others can be a key blocker in feeling inner peace.  Forgiving others and yourself is the single most empowering act you can take.  This is appropriate in all situations, even if it is not someone who has harmed you personally.  This can be someone who you disagree with, such as a politician or a manager in the company you work.  This may be someone who has harmed a friend.  It may also be someone from many years ago that you have almost forgotten about.  Holding anger towards any of these people, regardless of how small or how distant they are is going to keep that conflict in your life.  Make a list of anyone who you haven’t forgiven yet.  You may be surprised of the names that come up once you get started.  Work through the list, one by one, and forgive them so you can be at peace.

Creating peace in your own life is the first step in creating a peaceful and loving world.  I wish everyone a wonderful International Peace Day and hope you can create permanent peace in your own lives.

Peace Bell at UN Headquarters in NYC

Being Content

We all know that feeling.  It is the feeling of creeping frustration.  Slowly over time our dreams become so strong it is almost unbearable to live another day without reaching them.  We are taken over by the empty dissatisfaction that emerges when we think about everything we want to change.  We feel suffocated by the circumstance that are keeping us from doing what we truly desire.  We then ponder about how others peoples lives seem so much better than our own.  We convince ourselves we will be happy once we get “there”.  Before we know it, we wake up angry and not looking forward to the day.  Our energy, focus and smile begin to dwindle away.

This is a painful cycle that many live in for weeks, months and even years.  Sometimes it takes a big event or someone being so fed up that they can’t take it any more to really change it.  The solution to this is very simple- be content.  Now, this may sound contrary to other posts about not settling, taking risks, and being uncomfortable; but it is not.  Those things are all so important.  Having dreams and goals to work towards is a large piece of living fulfillment.  The idea of being content isn’t about not wanting to work towards things.  Being content is about taking the perspective that until you get there, everything now is just as it should be.  Things are perfect in this moment and you can be happy, right now, while working towards those things.  Finding a way to focus on your dreams while loving your current life is a fine balance, but one that brings great rewards.

When we get a good vision of our dreams, it comes with a sense of urgency to get there immediately.  The reason is your perception of your current life.  Your tomorrows will always look better than your today if you are focused on what you want to “fix”.  Envisioning a life that you want to create is incredibly important, but can be detrimental if it takes away from your happiness today.  Why can’t you have both?  Dream of a tomorrow that will be all you want while enjoying a today that brings real happiness.  You will never get to your tomorrow if you don’t live the present moment, so you might as well enjoy it.

Here are some tips to start living contentment:

  • Take your time, slow down, and enjoy all the beauty in your life.  Picture yourself 10 years from now looking back.  What will you miss about your current life?  Are you enjoying those things now?
  • Integrate a gratitude practice and don’t focus on the things you don’t like.  Eventually, the journey to achieve your dreams will be significantly more enjoyable.
  • Don’t view your life once you achieve your dreams as “better” than your current life.  Remind yourself that they are both wonderful, just different.

Finding Balance

We are busy people.  Regardless of who I speak to, very few people don’t respond to “How are things?” with the some form of the answer “Good but busy”.  It almost seems as if there is a competition out there to see who can get the busiest.  The winner will win a slew of stress related health problems and regrets of not spending enough time on the important things in life.  It’s not a great prize and we don’t really want it, yet we all continue to compete.  Regardless of the stress or the amount of time it will take that we don’t have, we keep piling on things until one day, we completely break.  Why do we do this?  For each person it is a little different but the range of reasons can include the inability to say no, feeling obligated to do more, not feeling as if we are as important as the things we have to do, etc.   It is a vicious and dangerous cycle that we thrive on until we are exhausted and burnt out.

The solution is fairly simple but hard to enforce.  We need to put ourselves first and demand that we remain balanced in our lives.  We need to start running our calendars rather than have them run us.  When we are out of balance and spending too much time in areas that don’t serve us, we are not the best us.  We cannot give 100% to anything we are doing if 100% of us isn’t available.

Not providing time to relax, center and focus is a common spiral that can be broken if we are aware of it.  Once you become aware and implement strategies to keep it under control, the rewards are worth far more than the difficulty it might cause. Living a balanced life we have the energy to spend on our passions, our families, and our purpose.  We have a sense of calm and peacefulness.  Every moment is enjoyable and effortless instead of stressful and hard.

Here are some steps you can take to integrate more balance in your life:

  • Learn to say no – You don’t have to do everything for everyone.  It is a hard lesson to learn, but if you aren’t realistic with your time then you are unable to give the proper attention to the things you want to commit to.
  • Ask for help – It is a hard thing for many, but asking for help is critical.  Your friends and family want to see you happy and helping can also give them a sense of joy.
  • Build in relaxation time – You have to have time that is dedicated to you.  Something to look forward to and that helps your soul feel nurtured.  It isn’t about the amount of time; it is more about the effectiveness of it.  List out things that you wish you had time for and would relax you.  Pick from them, rotate through them or do all of them.  Whatever works, just make sure there is a routine in place to give you frequent YOU time.
  • List it out – List out everything that you are spending your time on.  Narrow down the list to the things that aren’t critical or making you happy.  Of those items, what can you remove?  What can you let go of?
  • Practice – It is important to build a practice of balancing our minds and energy.  It can be a meditation routine, long baths, or simply taking deep breaths with our eyes closed throughout the day.  Find what speaks to you and makes you feel calm and relaxed.  Make sure to make it something you can integrate easily into your daily life. This will help reinforce the changes you are making and keep you balanced in stressful situations.

These are just a few steps to start with, but critical ones.  Start small then build up as you get more comfortable.  You and your happiness is worth every bit of effort it takes to achieve balance in your life.

Managing Stress

You know the feeling, we all do.  When your muscles ache with tightness, your brain can’t stop thinking and you feel like there is so much to do you can’t stop for a second.  Stress is something that we all deal with from time to time.  It often creeps up on us and then suddenly we are at a breaking point.  Stress is a perception of situations.  It isn’t actually a real tangible thing, however it does create real and tangible symptoms if we let it.  Many people end up with pain, some become overweight from emotional eating, others sluggish from drinking too much, etc.  These are all things that we do when we get into this state when we let stress become real in our life.

Another symptom when we are feeling stressed is our lack of compassion for others.  We begin getting short tempered or just tuning out to others because we already have too much to think about.  Next thing we know we hurt someone unintentionally because we became more focused on us and whatever is causing our stress, rather than the people that matter most to us.  If we do this long enough or often enough we can seriously damage meaningful relationships in our lives.

The good news is stress that is something you can mitigate in your life.  It would be unrealistic to think you can instantly remove it however there are things you can integrate in your life to minimize the chances of stress getting out of hand and causing an impact.  Doing these things all the time will also help you from being venerable to stress.

Eating well – When we are stressed often we change our eating habits and become less concerned with that we are choosing to eat.  We gravitate to what is quick and easy or what gives us comfort.  Often these are things like sugars, unhealthy carbs, alcohol, etc.  All of these things cause inflammation in the body and will deplete your energy levels.  It will cause you to feel worse, therefore more sensitive to stress and you eat more of it.  It is a vicious cycle and your body pays dearly for it.  Think about what your patterns are when you are stressed and try to come up with healthy options to eat/drink instead of your normal defaults.  This will help relieve some of the effects stress has on the body.

Stretch – Although a complete exercise routine would be ideal, when people are so busy adding an hour of exercising every day may seem overwhelming.  Integrating stretching a couple times a day for a couple minutes does wonders for helping with stress.  It helps relieve the tight muscles and gives you a couple minutes to break from everything to get re-centered.

Sleep – Often when we get busy the first thing we cut out is time to sleep.  It is either because we keep completing tasks past our bedtime, or we want to squeeze in relaxation time before we sleep and didn’t give enough time for it.  Either way, the more sleep you steal from your body, the more stressed you will become and the less productive.  Sleepy bodies and brains don’t work nearly as well as rested ones.  This is one thing you shouldn’t ever compromise.

Meditate – Meditation helps you train your brain to make space for quiet.  This allows you to stop constantly thinking about the running to-do list.  You can’t force these thoughts to quit in meditating but focusing on something else, like a mantra, your breathing or a prayer, helps your brain rest from the thoughts.  This calmness will become more natural and occur in a non-meditative state as well.  This will help you sleep better and focus on one task at a time.

Ask for support – Support may be someone just listening so you can get emotional stress out or it may be asking someone to help do things for you.  Whatever the case may be, it is important to recognize when your plate is too full and you need help.  Friends and family want to see you healthy and happy.  Helping you get there is a key part of these relationships and I am sure the day will come when you can help them.

Find a beautiful place – Find somewhere close to your home where you can go and look at something beautiful often.  It can be nature, art, watching kids play, amazing architecture, etc.  Whatever it may mean to you, seeing beauty helps you focus on the good in life and remove the focus from the stress.  Taking a few breaths and enjoying a moment of beauty can help you feel calmer instantly.

Never forget, stress isn’t real.  It is a perception and allowing that perception to bring havoc to your life isn’t necessary or healthy.

Let go of what doesn’t matter, focus on what does, and honor your health and wellbeing always.

The sky is one of my close by Beautiful Places 🙂