Do you take some time for you each day? Maybe you have a favorite place to go when you want or need to just be still. Maybe you’ve strategically planted little opportunities throughout your day to just pause?
It could be anytime or anywhere.
If not, why not? Oh wait….scratch that! I’m sure you are just as good as I am in thinking of a million reasons why you simply can’t fit it in. Life can be very busy with work, family, obligations, activities, phone calls, email…need I go on? Are you someone with a schedule so filled that there’s really no time to set aside to just be still? Is there Really no wiggle room, or are you someone that just finds it difficult to Be still?
…but I’m only talking about just a few minutes…
In just a few minutes, you can shift into a calmer mental place, get focused, breathe, and end up approaching the rest of your day a little bit calmer.
A Special Spot
Is there a comfortable space at home where you can steal a few minutes away, take a breath, slow down your thoughts, and simply take in the beauty around you, the joy of small things that aren’t always noticed, and life itself?
What about just going outside on your front porch steps? Maybe your special, comfortable space is a comfy chair in your bedroom. It could be your couch is calling you to come stretch your legs a bit next to a window.
Would you close your eyes and just savor the time-breathing slowly and deeply as you notice sounds and smells around you? Maybe you hear birds singing, trees rustling, kids playing, the noise of the fan or maybe its the sound of the air vent behind you that you never noticed before. Maybe you’ll keep your eyes open and notice the individual leaves moving on the trees, a bumblebee buzzing from flower to flower, the wispy clouds floating by, the grains in the table wood that seem to remind you of an identifiable shape.
A Strategic Time or Activity
If picking a place is just not going to happen right now or really just doesn’t work for you, can you choose a daily activity or a specific time that you can connect a moment or two of time for you? Could taking a moment to just relax and breathe in the car each time you arrive at a destination work? What about before each meal or while you’re rocking a baby to sleep? Hey what about after each phone call or email check?
Something else to consider is to simply put a reminder on your calendar. Using this strategy enables you to fit in time for you without locking it to a specific place or activity that might not happen daily. We all have times where every day is so different and somewhat unpredictable. Maybe your best strategy is to have a gentle reminder on your calendar and then just sneaking in those few minutes when an opportunity presents itself.
No matter what your day is working out to be, get creative. It might actually be easier than you think to fit in a few moments when you can for yourself. Whether you’re at work and decide to spend a few minutes alone in an unused conference room, or you’re at home and decide to take off your shoes and go walk in the grass, you decide. There’s always an opportunity, even if you have to get a little creative, and who knows what you’ll discover.
Whatever you choose or are able to fit in, try breathing in very slowly for 4 seconds through your nose and then breathe out through your mouth even more slowly for 8 seconds. Now repeat that slow breath 2-3 more times. There’s no hurry. Remember. You’re taking just a little time for you, which can give you a little refreshment and help you the rest of the day. Take it slow and try to completely fill your lungs…and go ahead and let your belly stick out.
Gasp! Yes I did say that.
Fight and Flight or Rest and Digest
Did you know that you can actually take just a few deep and slow breaths and shift control from a stressed state to a relaxed state. There will probably always be stressors in your life. Getting comfortable with tools that you can easily access to manage how you respond to those stressors can really impact your digestion, sleep, mental state, heart health an even reproduction. It’s called shifting from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state.
In a sympathetic state, stress is in charge. You are running from or handling a threatening or difficult situation. There’s a person pulling you into a tense conversation. Maybe you just spend all your time in a prolonged state or environment of pressure. Could be challenging to balance raising a family and working from home. Maybe you have a new boss that’s…let’s just say…difficult. During those times, your body shifts more energy to handle the stressors, like resourcing more in areas that help you avoid a car wreck, stand up in front of a crowd to give a presentation, or stay awake and able to care for a sick child when you’re dog tired for example. Here, you might have a faster heart rate, faster breathing, more adrenaline and cortisol and so on.
In a parasympathetic state, rest and relaxation is primary. Heartbeat and breathing are slowed to a comfortable pace. More equalized attention is directed toward healthier digestion, hormone production and more. Here, you are enjoying a yummy meal slowly with fun conversation or an enjoyable drive in the country or a leisurely walk in your neighborhood with time to notice and enjoy the flowers and the singing birds.
It’s Time for You
You are the best person to determine what you can do. Don’t worry about meeting any quota or checking off any set number of “breathing” times. That’s not what this is about.
This is just simply about you taking just a wee little bit of time to take a breath, regroup, relax, refresh, and then continue with your day from a calmer, more relaxed state.
Will you decide to go set up a comfortable spot, or pick a regular activity to connect to? Could it be that your best strategy is to start with your name scheduled into your calendar? Maybe that reminder will just get you thinking about your day and what possibilities are available.
Whatever you decide, I’m sure you will find what works best to take some time for you each day.