Wherever you are in your life – newly separated/divorced, dating, focusing on yourself & your kids & letting the dust settle a bit, into a new serious relationship, etc – stress finds a way to creep into your life, for long periods or very short periods. Frankly, some of life's low points have wider ruts than we'd like. Wherever you are today – reducing stress will help move you ahead :) And it'll serve you well for the rest of your long life.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to keep my mind optimistic and creative and fresh, to stay curious, even when things are very uncertain. For some reason, it feels like a pivot point for me these days, where I am starting some small new habits that will carry me through the next few decades and further – I hope! For the past while, I’ve just been running myself ragged and my mind and body are starting to feel the drain.
I am naturally optimistic at my core, however, I have noticed that as I age, there are more work responsibilities and family responsibilities, and I’m the sole adult in my household, etc. So, I'm finding it’s taking my mind longer to rebound back to optimistic and carefree-ish when something goes off the rails.
I’m sure - just like everyone else - I aim to be the 90 year old who’s still got that sparkle in her eye and who’s kept her sense of humour over the years. The one who can roll with the ups and downs of life without getting stuck in the valleys. You know, as opposed to the crabby old lady who wouldn’t be satisfied if it was endlessly sunny and warm, with loved ones all around, and piles of money in the bank.
So, I’ve been looking into ways to reduce stress all the way around, to give my mind time to chill out regularly – and I’m really excited about the results so far, so I wanted to share them with you all! Here they are in no particular order:
1. Exercise: Ever since adulthood, I’ve been a very on again, off again, exerciser, who’s with me? And I vow this year, to never be that person again!! Exercise is the first thing I drop when I get too busy with ‘life’, but never again. Walking, rollerblading, skiing, playing games with the kids, the gym, it’s all just such an immediate boost in feeling good mind and body. Plus, it keeps the weight down or off, so that’s one less thing for my inner voice to nag me about – win, win!
2. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): If you’ve never heard of it, check it out in more detail here! I'll admit, it seemed pretty hokey at first, but it works!! And it’s so friggin’ easy! Once you learn the acupuncture points you need to tap on (they are located around your upper body), the rest is just you speaking what’s on your mind and always affirming everything sentence with ‘I completely love and accept myself’ or something similar. I think it works for two reasons, one is that it allows you to voice all your concerns or worries (while tapping) so you get to VENT until all the negative energy has left your body and secondly the positive affirmations are awesome! I’m my worst critic, so it’s nice to have something that brings more positive self-talk into my life :) It's like a breath of fresh air!
3. Meditation: This is simply heaven. I’ve got three kids and a full-time job and lots of other interests. My life is PACKED to busting these days. I need more time. Or I need to be more effective in the time I have in a day. And closing my eyes and sitting quietly somewhere for anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes, with some deep breathing or a mantra, calms my mind down and just refreshes my whole body. It’s magic. I have a better mindset on days I meditate. I find I am more focused and less bogged down if things don’t go as planned – cause things hardly eve go as planned!
4. Sleep: After 8hrs of sleep I feel refreshed. Even 7hrs if I’ve been getting that regularly. My body has time to dream, and repair itself and get ready for another day. It’s amazing. And it’s funny – I’ve also stopped drinking diet Pepsi, which allows me to feel tired when I'm actually tired…and therefore I don’t have as much trouble finding my bed at a reasonable hour in the evening :) It's the most underrated improvement you can make in your life!
5. Yoga/Pilates: Full body stretching and muscle building, to calming music. Enough said.
I hope to keep all of these things in my week-to-week life, and see how it all comes together! So far I’ve felt like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and just generally feel lighter and more optimistic all the way around!
I wish you the same as well, in whatever ways you find to keep life from grinding you down. I want us all to live to be fun loving and energetic 90 year olds :)
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