If you are like me, life can get hectic at times, especially around the holidays. It is easy to get bogged down in shopping, planning your trip home, wrapping, decorating, and managing all of the other things in your normal day to day life (walking dogs, grocery shopping, work tasks, vacuuming, getting the kids out the door, getting the kids in the door. etc).
In order to help you catch, or even create, those moments of calm in this busy season (or any busy season in your life) I want to share three easy tricks to help decrease the stress in your life.
1. Set a Designated Space
Even though I know the physical benefits of meditation/solitude are many, I struggle with actually taking the time to sit down and practice meditation. My first tip to minimize stress is to find somewhere to roll out your yoga mat and then leave it out.
Having a designated space that is all ready for you makes it so much easier to actually sit down and get started. We have a large closet, so I keep my yoga mat rolled out on the floor in the middle of it. I realize that having a permanent space for a yoga mat (or a pillow or whatever it is you want to rest on) is not something that is available to everyone (hello 500 square foot studio apartment). Or, you may have the space, but there is no way you would leave your mat out (dogs, and babies who drool and kids that get into everything…) So if that is your situation, I recommend just putting your yoga mat somewhere that you can see it every day, instead of in the back of your closet.
Whatever it is, take down the first barrier and create a space so you can find a moment of calmness every day. I often find that looking at my rolled-out, ready-to-go mat is like an invitation to take a minute to rest, stretch, and breathe.
2. Get Help From an App
My second trick to help you calm down in the midst of the craziness is to use the app Insight Timer. This app has a variety of different ways that you can select a meditation or guide for your break time. You can search for guided meditations by length or by topic. I particularly enjoyed this one, and this one, but I most regularly use the timer. It is very similar to the timer on a cell phone, but it starts and ends the time with a nice chime sound, instead of whatever obnoxious tune the default is set to on my phone. Of course there are other apps like Headspace or structures to follow on your own like this one. I personally find Insight Timer to be the best: it is user-friendly, has a large library of resources, and it’s free.
My final trick to help you relax during this busy season is to start small. I have been meditating/praying/sitting in solitude for about 4 minutes in the morning, and then I try to stretch for about 4 minutes at the end of the day. I do not do this every day by any means, but try to do it at least 3 times a week. This helps me wind down at the end of the day when my body is tired, but my mind is still going a mile a minute. The important thing is that I set the threshold very low, so that taking the time out doesn’t feel like such an intimidating thing to do. I challenge you to find even 3 extra minutes a day. Try setting your alarm 3 minutes earlier, or keep your alarm the same and see if you can shave an extra 3 minutes off your morning routine to use to relax.
So there you have it, my three easy tricks to help you find just a little more calm and rest in your daily life. These are great for the holiday season especially, but just as meaningful any other time in your life. Enjoy!