Most people in our society are. We work too much, eat on the run, don’t know how to relax, have too much going on, and are constantly at the beck and call of electronic devices that deliver worse and worse news each day.
You’ve probably tried plenty of things that are supposed to help:
More trips to the gym?
Giving up wheat?
Being more “balanced” (whatever that means)?
Time management systems?
Spa or meditation or spiritual/religious retreats?
These are all good things.
Has it helped? Do you feel better?
If so, awesome!
If not, are you worrying now about your lack of success? About the time and money you’ve spent on something that didn’t work, or only worked for a little while?
I understand. I really do.
And it’s okay.
It really is.
The world can be pretty crazy, and it can make you feel crazy too, but there are things you can do. Little things. Simple things. Free or pretty cheap things. And they really help. I use them, and I feel better. Why not give them a try?
Eat a Meal Without Multi-tasking
Just one meal a day, any meal that works best for you, without your phone or computer or tv or even a book. Focus on your meal, chew slowly, savor the flavors and textures of your food. Talking to a companion is fine, as long as the conversation isn’t about work or drama or things that stress you out. Better to share a little quiet time, or just enjoy your solitude. Your mood and your digestion will improve with this simple technique.
Keep a Plant in Your Workspace
Or wherever you spend the most time during the day. Some people like cacti or succulents because they’re very low-maintenance. I personally like spider plants. They can handle low light and infrequent watering, they’re resistant to disease and mold, they’re completely non-toxic (safe for kids and pets!) and they smell a little bit like grass, so they bring the outside indoors.
Having a green living plant exhaling oxygen, healthy humidity, and mood-lifting soil microbes in your general direction all day is very good for body and soul.
Spend 10-15 Minutes Each Day Venting (on paper)
This is a journaling exercise I find very helpful. Use a pen and paper, handwriting is much better than typing for this technique. Take at least 10 minutes, longer if you want to, and write down whatever is on your mind. Whatever is circling around, distracting you, worrying you, write it down. Don’t censor yourself, don’t edit. Write down things you have to remember, things you want to do someday, things that aggravate you, things that bring you joy, anything and everything. Write quickly, don’t stop and think, don’t worry about punctuation or grammar, and be honest. You can destroy the pages later if you need to. You may find things coming up that you’ll want to transfer to your to-do list or a gratitude journal, that’s great, you can copy them later. For these few minutes, just let it all out, don’t worry about what anyone would think. Just write. Once it’s out of your head and on paper, stop and breathe for a minute. I’m sure you’ll feel better.
Start, or End, Your Day with a Little Ritual
It doesn’t have to be much. You can meditate or not, say a prayer or not, it’s up to you.
I come down to my writing space each morning with a fresh hot cup of tea, light a candle on my desk, and think of something I’m grateful for. Then I begin to write. Often I’m grateful for simple, everyday things like the fresh morning air, the hot cup of tea, or the happy, healthy cats who love nothing more than jumping up on the desk to sit on whatever I’m writing.
The simpler your ritual, the easier it is to do every day. Just make sure it feels good, and comes from the heart. It’s that easy.
Forgive Yourself for Not Being Perfect
It’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with you. There are going to be hard days, days when nothing seems to go right, days that make you feel incompetent or overwhelmed. Forgive yourself for not getting it all done, for not being everywhere at once, for not healing every hurt or solving every problem. The world will still need you tomorrow, and you’ll do a better job of taking care of things if you let today go, rest, relax, and start again in the morning. If you’re hurting, tired, frustrated, give the headlines a rest, just for today. It’s okay, you’re not letting anyone down. Come back to the problems fresh, tomorrow.
Self Care is essential.
Try these small things to add a little peace and happiness to your day.
Ask for help if you need it.
And remember, it’s okay. You’re okay.