Most of us race from task to task, landing home in the evenings having forgotten, many times, to take time to enjoy our day. This way of being can become a habit that numbs us to the joy of life. Living for the weekends isn’t really living, and even if we schedule a massage once a month or veg out after work, we’re likely missing out on what could be daily moments of peace and serenity that positively impact our health and wellness.
As most of us know, chronic stress can negatively impact hormonal balance, fertility, blood pressure, digestion and immune strength (to name a few) and contribute to issues such as headaches, insomnia and depression.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
With a little preparation, we can easily sprinkle our days with moments of awareness, relaxation and enjoyment. Creating peaceful routines can make a big difference in your day and be inexpensive and time-efficient to boot.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Set your phone alarm on the hour every hour (or every two hours) when you’re at work. When it beeps, that’s your reminder to stretch and to listen to your body and give it what it needs—a snack? A brief rest? Bathroom break? Connect back in.
- Create a home sanctuary. Donate items you don’t use or don’t love and replace them with calming accents such as natural candles, peaceful photos or aroma sticks.
- Organize and simplify your home, car and work areas. External order and calm tend to positively affect internal state as well and just feel good.
Start a library of books on soothing topics such as relaxation, stress management or favorite hobbies and interests. Spend some time each day (perhaps in a favorite chair) reading at least a selection from a tome that catches your fancy.
- Honor your bedtime and create a calming ritual. An oldie but a goodie! How about a warm shower or bath before bed? Journaling and other bedtime rituals such as aromatic (natural!) lotion application, candles or reading can get you in a relaxed state and off to sleep in no time!
- Integrate items or photos that remind you of things, places, people or pets you love into your workspace and take a few moments to notice them each day before starting work, after lunch and again when you leave for home. Breathe in three deep, slow breaths as you survey your reminder objects.
Taking the time to prepare little islands of peace and calm in your day are often all it takes to de-stress and reinvigorate and bring us back into connection with ourselves. Your body, mind and soul will thank you!
Dr. Richard Gerardo
D.C., C.S.C.P., D.A.C.B.N.
Ways to Reduce Stress – Burbank & Thousand Oaks CA