The Simple ThingsJust came back from an epic adventure in Europe and Africa and it took me about two days to come off the high. Two days?
Yup. That's all it took for the pesky, little daily life stresses to start weighing heavily on my shoulders again; and you know what? That's unacceptable.
I decided it's up to me to keep my inner zen regardless of a packed schedule, a long to-do list or societal expectations to act a certain way.
I did a little brainstorming and came up with a few things that legitimately make me feel a little happier and a little more peaceful while navigating daily life.
The goal is, to do these things every day in order to cultivate more happiness, more fulfillment, more peace and to quiet my mind.
Here I'm sharing 5 things I've promised to do for myself every day to keep my calm.
Check them out and maybe you will find they help you too.
Or if you have any other goals to add to the list, I'd love to hear them - please leave me a comment below.
Take a few minutes and write down something you are grateful for, something you are proud of or something that went well that day or the day before.
Taking a little time to reflect on something positive can brighten your mood and helps you see the world in a more upbeat way.
My favourite tool for this is the Five Minute Journal which I have been using intermittently for a few years. It has a series of questions that you can answer in the morning and evening, to give you some direction while you journal. You can also use a regular notebook or some loose leaf paper, the goal is to just do it.
There's something to be said about doing things that don't require electronics. Reading makes me feel good. It makes me a little happier and I notice an increased sense of accomplishment when I finish a great book or learn something new. So I've decided to commit to ten minutes a day - it doesn't sound like much, but it's actually kind of hard to sit and focus when you are out of the practice. I'm looking forward to some good quality time with my books (no e-readers for me- although I have friends who swear by them).
Elle Woods (Legally Blonde) wasn't kidding - exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy. So let's get some endorphins on the daily, shall we? I've committed to a daily 30 minute yoga practice but this could include working out, going for a walk or jog, or even using an app like the Seven Minute Workout. It's a great tool that leads you through exercises that you can do at home without any equipment. It's funny how exercise can be the first thing to slide when life gets busier and more is required of us; yet it's also the thing that makes us feel better the fastest. I've read exercise is the most under-utilized mood enhancer and really it's so true, don't you think?
Be StillSometimes, as weird as it feels, it's ok to do nothing. "Busy" is a word that is starting to have a negative connotation for me. I don't want to be so busy, that I can't do the things that make me happy or the things that keep me sane! Those should not be the things that fall to the wayside when things are hectic - although that's often the case.
I'm promising myself ten minutes a day to just be still. Essentially, it's ten minutes to do nothing and it's harder than it sounds. Use the time for meditation, practicing mindful breathing or to enjoy the outdoors. I've noticed, I am so much happier when I have some time to just sit outside and do nothing.
If you are just getting into meditation try "Guided Meditation" videos on Youtube. My other favourite tool is the app Headspace.
|Nothing like sitting and staring at a magical sunset to get some peace|
Connect with yourselfOver my two weeks of travels I made a concerted effort to avoid aimlessly looking at my phone. I posted some updates to my social media but I made an effort not to connect every time I had wifi. I also put my phone away at the pool, meals and on excursions (after I took my photos of course). The reason was, I find I'm often scrolling mindlessly on my device. It's become such a habit that sometimes I will be watching tv and the show will end before I look up from my phone. It's not a great habit and I'd really like to more aware of how much I use my phone as well as be able to focus on a task when I'm doing it. If I'm sitting at a pool, I want to completely be sitting at the pool. If I'm watching a video, I'd like to be engaged with what I'm watching. If I'm researching something, I don't necessarily also have to be running a load of laundry at the same time. It helps me decompress and makes me feel like I actually relaxed. Multitasking is great, but sometimes it makes us feel more spent since our brains are working over time just to keep up.
In fact, I read an interesting article that cited MIT Neuroscientist Earl Miller. Miller says that our brains are actually not wired to multitask well and that "when people thing they are multitasking they are really just switching from one task to another very rapidly. Each time they do there's a cognitive cost."
If you want to read more about the negative effects of multitasking, check out this article by Larry Kim.
So there you go - my 5 things to start doing for myself. I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions too. Do you have other goals to add to the list? Leave me a comment below or connect with my on my Instagram @angeliesood
I'd love to hear from you!