Have you ever finished a day completely exhausted, and realized you had totally missed it? Maybe it was beautiful outside and you were at your desk all day. Maybe you had planned to eat outside but you opted to "multi-task," eating in seconds at your desk, eyes glued to the computer. Maybe you had planned to exercise but a friend or family member needed your attention. Maybe your digestion is a mess, your head hurts and by Friday you are so exhausted you don't know how you will even make it home. Does this sound familiar?
It seems that only in tragedy do we slow down, express gratitude, and appreciate life. But why do we wait for life's hard lessons to enjoy all of its moments? Why do we wait for a weekend to think about our own needs, and why do we allow 5 days of our life to move like lightening, sleeping the other two away?
This blog entry is dedicated to slowing down. Recognizing your body's own needs and giving yourself permission to truly live.
Ten Ways to Slow Down and Find Balance
1-Ask yourself: what do you enjoy that you are missing? Is it a hobby? Is it a place? It is a tv show or exercise class? Why are you missing it?
2-Do you enjoy your work? If not why not? What changes can you make? Make a list of all of the qualities that you want in a job and write it like you already have it. Expect positive change.
3-One day a week abolish the phrase "have to. "Tell yourself that on this day you can not do laundry, you can not run errands, you can only do something that you feel excited by. If you can't devote a whole day to this, make it an afternoon.
4-Eat your lunch away from your desk. Even if it is just for 20 minutes, put down the phone, turn off the computer and WALK AWAY. You will be amazed and how much better you feel.
5- Devote 30 minutes a day to silence. Turn off the tv, email, computer and noise. You can meditate, rest, journal-whatever feels right to you. Give your mind the chance to breathe. What do you hear when your body is quiet?
6-Exercise for health not for weight loss. I know this sounds strange coming from someone in my field, but for some exercise is actually another means of stress, or another obligation."I need to burn this many calories, I need to feel sore, I need to etc etc.... More obligations! More rules! Find an exercise that you actually enjoy. Even if it doesn't burn the maximum amount of calories, that is ok! Find something where you move your body and quiet your mind! Take a walk in the park, go to a yoga class, or run, or workout with a trainer-this about what you want to do not what you think you are supposed to do. Plus, when you do something you enjoy you might actually find time to do it!
7. Create a ritual to unwind from each day. Our body is overloaded and stressed from a long day at work or from obligations at home. The mind needs to know it is safe to slow down. Take a bath, or shower-wash away the day, read a book or magazine, light a candle, use essential oils, do some light yoga-whatever feels good to you. But shut off all connections to work and the stresses of the day.
8.Break your weekly routine. Is there something you can do during lunch or after work that is enjoyable? A class you can take? A show you can see? Dinner with a friend? This doesn't have to be every day but the monotony of the week is sometimes part of the stress of the work week. Creating a fun activity in the middle of it can be very helpful.
9-Sleep. This is one of the most important ways to find balance in life. But the number of hours you sleep is only one component. The most restful hours of sleep happen between 10pm-6 am. The body needs to repair itself-especially the liver, and if you fall asleep at midnight or later your body misses time to regenerate the cells of the liver and gallbladder.
10-Sunlight. So we have all been told to avoid sunlight because of skin cancer. This is true to a degree. But we can benefit greatly from having 15 minutes of sun per day. The natural Vitamin D helps the immune system, mood, sleep, depression, anxiety and more. Get outside-but in moderation!
Now get some rest! :)