This is a year of transformation for me. Did you ever feel like things in your life are just spinning out of control? Like you just need life to calm down? That’s exactly how I’ve felt. And I knew I needed to do something about it.
I’ve really grown a lot in the last few years. I had a lot of changes take place in my life over this time period — both good and not so good. The good part is that it’s really allowed me to dig a little deeper into myself, although sometimes painful, and prioritize things in my life a little better. It really has spurred on a transformation. I’ve changed the way I eat by making healthier choices, I pray more, work out more, spend more time with my family, spend less time on social media, meditate, and just relax more in general.
And I’ve realized it’s OK to plan a day of nothing. Yes, it’s OK. You’re not a lazy bum if you want to chill and watch Netflix all day on a Saturday. Our bodies and minds need that rest sometimes.
I can’t tell you how many women and men I’ve talked to that tell me they continually feel overwhelmed. Sometimes in the busyness of life we’re swept away by the stories of minds, the thoughts about our to-do lists and so on. So this month, I thought I’d share some of the things that have helped me slow down to make 2018 the year of “calm.”
1. Breathing exercises. When I first heard about breathing exercises, I didn’t believe they could help. Boy was I wrong. Changing the way you breathe is one of the fastest ways to change how you feel. It is amazing what even 1-5 minutes of breath exercise can do for your energy and mind. My favorites include: HeartMath app and monitor (heartmath.com), CALM app (available on iOS or Android), and even the Apple breathing app for the iWatch is great. I’m sure there are several others out there that are awesome, too.
2. Exercise 30 minutes every day. Research shows that as little as 30 minutes of exercise per day can boost our general health and well-being. I’ve always worked out in some way, but I would get lazy about it. So now, I set a goal: no matter what, I get in 30 minutes every day. Sometimes it’s a walk, maybe the elliptical, or a more intense strength training workout. I’ve even started taking classes at a local studio. If you need a little nudge, one of my secrets to get motivated is having a workout buddy or choosing a workout show to watch. I find Netflix and HULU shows that I love to binge and watch an episode each time I’m at the gym or at home doing the elliptical. I can’t wait each day to see the next episode, so it gets me motivated to work out and get in at least that 30 minutes. It’s amazing how much better I feel mentally by working out consistently.
3. Unplug from social media. We are just slammed with way too much information these days — most of which comes from social media. For me, the days of mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and reading random articles that aren’t really even helping me are over. Sometimes I even found myself worrying over things that didn’t even concern me. I started asking myself, “What could I be doing instead of this?” Much more productive things is the answer. Don’t get me wrong; I still like connecting, but there has to be a balance. So for me, less is more. Delete the Facebook app from your phone, give yourself time limits if you need to, but this year I’m challenging us all to be mindful and create an awareness to what we’re committing our time.
One of my favorite new quotes that goes along with all of this is, “You don’t have to control your thoughts, you just have to stop letting them control you,” said by Dan Millman.
So here’s to taking things a little slower this year, making more time for family, and creating calm for 2018.