Some days it feels like the only guarantee life provides is that it’s going to be busy. Or messy. Or messy busy.
And when the busy messy hits, channeling Elizabeth Gilbert and traveling to Bali for a month isn’t feasible. Or even realistic. While you might search for “she-sheds” and “yurt” to create you own backyard haven, most likely you’re lucky to find ten to fifteen minutes of alone time.
Go-go-go is your reality
Pull out your calendar right now and see how much you’ve got scheduled for the week. And somewhere along the way busy became synonymous with hard work, importance and achievement. The problem with “doing” is it keeps you constantly under stress. It keeps the signals traveling between your brain and body on high alert.
You’re in such a hurry to do the next thing that your heart and head never get a chance to rest.
It’s filler. It’s boredom. It’s disconnect. An overstuffed day leaves no time for you to be present in the moment because you’re always thinking about the next thing to do.
Sitting quietly enjoying a cup of coffee is a luxury instead of a much needed respite. Even the weekends–that were originally created for individuals to rest and have time for religion–have fallen victim to the “doing” syndrome. Families rush from one event to another activity until everyone collapses in bed Sunday night.
If the care and feeding of the
wild animals kids falls squarely on your shoulders, you need something quick–and maybe something you can do in the locked bathroom or behind the clothes in your closet…cause…privacy.
In any mindfulness practice consistency is more important than how long you to do it or what method you’ve chosen to unwind your stress. I pulled together a list of activities you can do right now.
26 Tips for Being instead of Doing
Just as you’ve put all the things-activities-events TO DO in your calendar, take a few moments and decide how you want TO BE and then put in your calendar. Share with me how you’re going to be this week.
1. Read a book (a FUN book, not work related)
2. Read a magazine (I love People magazine)
3. Sit on your patio
If a leisurely stroll isn’t possible, I hide myself in the closet with the lights out and just sit. I listen to my breath and enjoy the silence (Yes, I love silence). If my mind is really active, I might repeat an affirmation (or mantra) or count my breaths.
Sometimes finding ten minutes of peace and quiet happens at ten-thirty at night when everyone in the house is asleep. For early birds, this can mean waking before everyone else does.
We always seem to find time to DO stuff, but we rarely stop to BE.
4. Get a coffee and sit at the coffee shop
5. Go to a book store
6. Take a nap
7. Take a walk (or take your dog for a walk)
I’m not sharing rocket science tips here. There’s no big mysteries to walking. However I have one suggestion. Go without “stuff.” Like your phone, playlist, the dog, the kids. Those, unfortunately, are all distractions.
This also isn’t a pump your arms, push the baby stroller, work-out kind of walk. This is a leisurely stroll.
As you’re walking, connect with your breath and find a rhythm between your steps and your breath. Then take notice of what you haven’t before. I like to make it a game. How many new or different things can I find this time?
8. Get a massage (or manicure or pedicure)
9. Go to the park
10. Take a bath
11. Take a social media sabbatical
12. Go to a dog park
13. Take your dog to a dog park
Somewhere along the path to “maturity” we lose our abilities to play and have fun. Responsibilities outweigh running around in the sprinklers. When in the world did we wake up with sticks up our butts?
Women don’t get in the pool with their kids because they feel fat in their bathing suits. Men work, work, work and when they come home are too exhausted for a romp around the room with the kiddos. (Or maybe men feel fat in their swim trunks and women work too much.)
Stress releases hormones that jack you up, and not in a good way. Laughter releases endorphins that mellow you out, totally in a good way.
14. Sit by a fountain
15. Go to the library
16. Go to the movies
18. Listen to relaxing music
19. Do something creative (crafts, write, sew, knit)
20. Fun movement like dancing, hula-hooping
21. Get closer to nature. (A walk or hike, sitting on a park bench)
22. Go on a vacation or stay-cation
My family just recently returned from a week-long vacation. Hubby was all about the go-go-go, what can we do next? And I participated in most of those outings. But I also found time for my two favorite ways of BEING–sitting on the balcony overlooking the ocean and reading.
The condo we stayed in also had very inconsistent internet, and in hind-sight I’m grateful for that. It meant I had to close my computer and do something else. So I spent time with my family without wondering about email or Facebook.
23. Have a girl’s night out
24. Watch a Friends or Big Bang Theory marathon (laughing decreases stress)
25. Do some stretching
Or for the yogis in the house, get on your yoga mat.
Stress likes to hang out in your muscles and stretching is a great way to break up the party. It doesn’t matter if you “don’t know what to do.” There are plenty of YouTube videos that can guide you through some basic stretching.
I always suggest trusting yourself to move and stretch in the way you and your body need. It’s amazing what you’re body will tell you when you’re listening.
And yes, you don’t need an hour for it to be beneficial. Ten minutes here and there really will make a difference.
26. Do something you enjoy (if it wasn’t already listed)
Reading is my number one way to re-charge. In what could only be a prophetic moment, last week I bought a new book from Target. However, it’s sat on my nightstand until 10:00 last night when I desperately needed to escape. It helps my mind let go of the worries, and gives the hamster a break from her wheel.
What do you enjoy doing? Knitting, crossword puzzles, painting, journaling. . .pick your favorite and disappear into it for ten minutes. Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom to do it.
Your family will thank you for it.
Ok, probably not, but your sanity will.