You want to reduce your stress and feel calmer. But somehow you never get around to going to yoga class, or meditating, or even just sitting still and allowing yourself to enjoy a good book.
Because, who’s got the time?
Well, the first question you should ask yourself is, Do I have the space?
Because you can’t see time, it’s hard to wrap your brain around it. But physical space is tangible—you can feel it. That’s why I counsel folks who are looking to reduce their stress levels to start by creating a place to do things that make them feel calm.
Once you’ve carved out some actual room for relaxation, you’ll also have dedicated some mental space for making it happen. Then you’ll have the mind and the body both on the same page. And that’s when the magic happens!
Here’s how to get started:
Claim a spot
Yes, it would be lovely if you had a whole room dedicated to your tranquility—but it’s not necessary. Here are the only must-have criteria your serenity space:
- Privacy (at least some of the time)
- Someplace you are in close proximity to on a daily basis
It would be nice if you also had enough space to lie down because that means you’d have room for a yoga mat. But there are plenty of ways to relax—if yoga isn’t part of your routine, maybe you just need enough room to sit and breathe.
Don’t be afraid to claim an unconventional space—a corner of your living room, your kitchen sink (hey, you have to spend time there every day), your bathroom! It could also be your car.
No matter how small or how crowded your home is, the space you need is available if you allow yourself to see it.
Up the peace factor
Once you’ve found your spot, you’ve got just two steps to take:
- De-clutter as much as possible—this is about making space, after all, so create as much of it as you can by removing anything unnecessary
- Place one or two things there that make you more relaxed—a favorite photo or painting, a plant, a candle, a cozy throw, an aromatherapy spray
The attention and effort you put on this step will help infuse your space with a higher level of “specialness.”
Find the time
OK, you say, I can find my little spot and tidy it up. But then what? How will I suddenly find all this extra time to spend there?
The beauty of having a space dedicated to decompressing is that every time you see it, you will feel a pull to spend time there. You may not be able to do it at that exact moment, but you will plant a seed in your mind to spend time there as soon as you can.
Also, the more time you spend in this spot, the more relaxed you will feel just from looking at it. Weird, but true! It’s as if all the time you spend there builds up a bundle of energy that exerts a pull—kind of like a tractor beam.
But the most important thing to remember is: you don’t need to wait until you have an hour, or even a half-hour, free. Five minutes totally counts. So does two minutes. So does one!
Remember, the hardest part is actually getting yourself into the space. Once you’re there, it will feel good and you will naturally start expanding the amount of time you spend there.
Fill it well
So what do I do once I’m there?
There isn’t one right answer here. Your goal is to simply give yourself the opportunity to do something makes you feel better—more grounded, more connected to what you know to be true, less stiff, softer, better able to listen, less likely to yell. You get the idea.
In case nothing is immediately coming to mind, here are some of my faves. I would LOVE to hear some of yours – please come visit the Acacia Facebook page or start a conversation with me on Twitter (I’m @KateHan)!
- Do yoga
- Take 3 deep breaths
- Drink a cup of tea, savoring each sip
- Read something uplifting
- Visualize something happening that makes you very, very happy
- Lie on the floor (or recline your seat all the way back if you’re in the car)
- Roll on a foam roller
- Pet your cat or dog
- Listen—really listen—to a great song (or three)
- Count your exhales
- Chant or say your favorite affirmations
Wishing you plenty of peace amid the chaos of these holiday weeks!
Here are the rest of this week’s Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge Blogs.