4 Things You Can do to Keep Your Mental, Physical and Spiritual Being Focused
HOW YOU START YOUR DAY:
When you awake in the morning—how you start your day is important. I’ve been realizing how jumping out of bed and starting to do for others right away can set a tone for my day all day and it’s not the tone I want. I lived that life-style for many years taking care of a husband and my children—neglecting my needs—as I always put my needs off until the end of the day when I had nothing left to give myself. I believe this is a common theme among women who are mothers—especially those that are what I like to call “Household/Home Project Managers.” I found it draining; my energy would be so low and then I would get resentful and feel taken advantage of…when all I really needed was to create a morning routine for myself that would start my energy for the day going in the right direction. 3 things I find are essential to starting my day off right:
Gratefulness—being thankful for all the blessings in my life—I start off my day just saying THANK YOU—for my kids, my beautiful house, the love of my friends and family, my health….are a few examples. Being grateful for the little things too—like the wonderful cup of coffee I am sipping on or the bee I’m watching pollinate the flower in my garden this morning. When you are busy being grateful—you stop ruminating—a thing many women like to do—on things like the long list of things you have to do today, or future issues you see looming your way. It’s hard to be grateful and worry at the same time—it’s true. Try doing both at the same time—it’s impossible!
Meditation—A few minutes a day once or even a few times a day—has made a huge difference for me. I am sleeping better, I feel more centered, less anxious or stressed—even when stressors come my way—I handle them better now. I thought of meditation as effort for a long time—now I look forward to the reprieve it gives me from the physical world and the conscious connection I am experiencing to the Universe/God/Spirit by slowing myself down long enough to make that connection.
Breathing Practice: I practice different breathing practices that both energize me and calm me. I’ve taken practices from several different people, including friends who have demonstrated their practice and I try different ones all the time. Some, I know will give more energy—others will open me up to my intuition more. It’s an evolving practice that I enjoy exploring.
We are a nation of people who does not sleep enough. We work hard and play hard and believe there is not enough time for sleep or that we don’t really need it in order to function well. Wrong! Statisitcs are showing the toll it is taking on our health and well-being (Link). I have been guilty for years of not getting enough sleep. Somewhere in my twenties when I decided to go to business school at night while working a full time job during the day—I got into the habit of giving myself 6-6.5 hours of sleep a night. Then I had children with years of interrupted sleep and my habit of getting too little sleep continued for several more years. Recently, I have made it a habit to get 7.5 hours of sleep at least 5 nights a week—I know still not a perfect score….but I feel so much better—and my ability to deal with the everyday crazies that hit me during my work day and family life is so much easier to handle. I am able to keep my balance and my calm better.
Nourish your digestive system with whole foods—fruits vegetables, nuts, eggs; not too much sugar (my biggest vice); not overeating or drinking too much alcohol. Take the time to make yourself a smoothie in the morning, pack healthy grab and go foods like yogurt and granola, nuts and some fruit—even dried fruit and nuts can be kept in the car for those commute rides home when you are starving but sitting in traffic. Fiber, fiber, fiber!
Yoga, Pilates, or some sort of stretching—a way to physically limber up that also helps me to mentally limber up too. It’s my way of getting the “oil in the joints”—sometimes I stretch in the shower and after the shower—using the door ways and sink for support while I am getting ready for my day. Sounds funny—but it’s practical and doesn’t require a trip to the gym or yoga studio.
Walking with nature—a hike in the woods or a walk on the beach—this is another way for me to be with God and feel that connection to the universe and to feel the oneness of the universe and how we are all connected. We are but a small piece of the universe and all the wonders it has to offer….a walk in nature helps me keep it real and is calming a nurturing to the soul. This is a favorite weekend ritual for me.
More structured ways of working out like going to the gym, swimming laps, a bike ride or a run, playing a sport like soccer or shooting hoops with friends are all, of course, great ways to get the endorphins up, the cardiac system in shape and let out stress—as long as you don’t overdo it. Overdoing any strenuous exercise can cause stress hormones to be released too, which is counter-productive.
Creating and Keeping New Habits
Creating new life habits takes a bit of mindful effort and persistence—and it’s easy to fall back into old habits when stress interrupts our process of change….That is where the persistence part comes in. Working towards a goal of physical, mental and spiritual well-being gets interrupted often in the busy hubbub of balancing the demands of work, family, and home management. It’s important to stop and take time for yourself and create habits that will lead to longevity and healthy balance. Creating a new rhythm in my life has helped me feel much happier and more in tune with my authentic self.