Our hectic lives keep us running from one place to another; multi-tasking and blindly going through life without stopping to “smell the roses”. At the end of the day we feel exhausted, drained of energy, frustrated, resentful and deprived from joy. We miss the kind of happiness we experienced when we were kids at play. That sense of carefree curiosity, joy and wonder which seems like a dream so long ago.
I discovered that we need to reconnect with life to once again achieve balance and a sense of peace, inner joy, fulfillment and relaxation. All our problems can be viewed under a different light from this calm new perspective.
These are the 5 tips that can help you achieve that balance in your life:
- SPEND TIME IN NATURE.
- Try to take your lunch hour outside from work if you can, take a walk or a drive (if necessary) to a park where you can eat your lunch in peace while enjoying some fresh air and the natural light of the sun (with the essential vitamin D). Interact with nature for a few minutes. You can bring some peanuts to share with a chipmunk or squirrel, or feed some seeds to the birds. They will delight you with their antics and put a smile on your face. If you cannot take time from work at lunch, then make a detour after work before reaching home and stop somewhere beautiful for a few minutes to breathe, decompress and reconsider what is truly important in your life.
- Make a little paradise in your home to reconnect with nature. Plant some fragrant flowers in your balcony or deck. Put some bird or humming bird feeders and enjoy attracting a variety of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, etc… If you have a small space you can still convert it into an oasis. Gets some wind chimes or a small water fountain so you can listen to the refreshing and soothing sound of water cascading. Add some candles or an ornament that you enjoy such as an angel, a fairy, a gnome, birds, butterflies or any animal you like. This will satisfy your inner child needs for nourishment and fun.
- If you don’t have a backyard, a balcony or a deck then use a window that you can look outside and hang some crystals that reflect the sun rays. As the small crystals move with a gentle breeze you will see tiny rainbows bouncing everywhere. Add some plants to your favorite corner or make a miniature garden in a decorative bowl that serves no other purpose.
- Cuddle with your pet and share life’s joyful moments together. According to research having a pet or even an aquarium is known to lower blood pressure (plus the aquarium adds beauty to your home). Even a small gold fish can do the trick but please don’t ever throw a fish down the toilet while still alive! If you don’t have the time to provide a pet with the care it requires its best not to have one. Owning a pet is a privilege but also a serious responsibility and commitment. Get informed before you do and preferably rescue one that badly needs a home, save his or her life instead of buying one and you will be doubly blessed with your new grateful friend.
- Make a habit of thinking of 5 to 10 different things for which you are grateful each day. Yes, as they say: “Count your blessings”. Appreciate the sun, the rain, our beautiful planet earth, your home, your health, your access to clean water, the refreshing clean feeling of brushing your teeth or showering. Appreciate your cup of coffee or tea, your friendships, your family, your life! There is so much that we take for granted!
- Each night make a habit of recalling the best thing that happened to you throughout your day. Share it with your spouse; ask each other about the highlights of the day. This will force your mind to recall the best memories and focus on the positive prior to sleep rather than rehearsing negative or upsetting events. If negative thoughts show up, thank them for bringing these issues to your attention and tell yourself that you will deal with them in the morning after a restful sleep when you will have a fresh perspective on things. Focus on the “bestest” part of the day and be grateful for it. Leave your work problems at work.
- Express your gratitude to others when they do something for you and make sure you look at them in their eyes, don’t just say “thank you” without even acknowledging the person. Show your appreciation to others with a genuine compliment and share a smile whenever you can to brighten someone’s day as well as your own. Remember that what you do for others you are doing for yourself too and you will feel so much happier. Add some random acts of kindness whenever you get a chance like opening a door for someone, paying for their meter in the parking lot when is about to expire, etc.
- If you have a few extra minutes write a gratitude journal and keep it near so you can review it when you are having a bad day (keep it in your phone, computer or iPad).
- SLEEP HYGIENE: I remember in my many years of nursing (33 to be exact) how important it was to counsel my patients on this subject of sleep hygiene that we so often take for granted.
- Your bedroom is a place to rest, heal and rejuvenate. Make it a pleasant and relaxing place.
- Avoid taking your computer to your bedroom or having a TV (unless you are on bed rest). Especially avoid watching the news which is quite frequently about disturbing events. Also try to stay away from watching horror or violent movies or playing violent video games that will not only affect your conscious mind but also your subconscious mind because our subconscious mind is unable to differentiate between factual reality or fiction and those scenes will continue to affect you beyond your awareness for weeks, months and even years to come!
- Make sure you have some fresh air and keep your room temperature slightly cool and comfortable. Have a plant nearby to provide you with natural air purification. Plants filter the air (by removing allergens, bacteria, dust, and mold spores), they convert CO2 into oxygen and maintain humidity levels. They also help to reduce stress by promoting tranquility. In addition, plants produce negative ions which provide a boost to your mood and immune system, resistance to illness and increase the flow of oxygen to your brain. Some examples of beneficial plants are: English Ivy, rubber plant, snake plant or also called “Mother in law’s tongue” and spider plant.
- Another way to increase the negative ions in your bedroom is to add a Himalayan salt lamp or get an organic 100% beeswax candle and light it each night for a few minutes (while you do your gratitude recall list). The gentle sweet honey scent is aromatherapy and it will not produce the chemical byproducts of petroleum in paraffin and the noxious gasses and toxins from bleach and solvents which are detrimental to your health. Beeswax candles not only purify the air of allergens and other pollutants but also add a serene amber glow to your room.
- Try to have some pleasant quality time with your family, read some inspirational materials or listen to some soft relaxing music before bed time and above all avoid getting into an argument and holding a grudge with your spouse or kids when you go to bed. Always try to make up and express your love before your sleep time.
- If you like praying this is a good time to do it.
- If you are tense after work, go for a walk or have a warm bath with Epsom salts. Epsom salts will alleviate muscle tension, joint inflammation, tension headaches and tired sore feet. These salts (known as hydrated magnesium sulfate) are rich in magnesium and sulfate both elements are easily absorbed through the skin. Our bodies are depleted of magnesium due to soil depletion, massive farming and poor nutrition as well as stress which increases adrenaline and drains our adrenal glands of magnesium. Magnesium helps the body regulate our enzymes responsible for our many bodily functions including circulation, electrolyte regulation and it helps with the detoxification process of heavy metals and harmful toxins from cells. (Discuss it with your doctor if you have any concerns regarding any contra-indications in the use of Epsom salts).
- Pass up on stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine close to bed time. Even though alcohol can make you sleepy at first it can also disrupt your sleep during the night. Also try not to eat a large meal close to bedtime or go to bed hungry.
- Exercise can promote good sleep but vigorous exercise is best during the earlier part of the day while in the evenings it’s more beneficial to practice yoga, Chi-gong, tai chi and meditation.
- Napping during the day can also disrupt your sleep pattern. The best is to have a routine of going to bed at similar times each day.
- Avoid bright lights in your bedroom.
- Try some pure essential oils that promote relaxation such as chamomile, lavender or rose to name a few.
- Check with your doctor if you suspect that you may suffer from sleep apnea. Pay attention if you are snorting or making chocking or gasping sounds, or waking up abruptly with shortness of breath, dry mouth and a sore throat or if you noticed that you are always exhausted, irritable and sleepy. Sleep apnea can have many causes and excess weight is one of them. Unfortunately, this is also a vicious circle because sleep apnea can cause increase in weight due to insufficient sleep! Lack of sleep affects our ability to control weight because it affects the regulation of hormones. In particular it affects 2 main hormones: Ghrelin which urges the body to eat more and our bodies produce more Ghrelin when we are sleep deprived and Leptin the hormone that is responsible for making us stop eating when we are full. If we are sleep deprived our bodies produce less Leptin. Insulin can also be affected by sleep disorders and our bodies resist or block insulin efforts to move glucose into our cells thus making us prone to develop diabetes or to become insulin- resistant. Reestablishing a balanced sleep pattern will allow our bodies to naturally balance our hormones and our weights.
- PRACTICE CONSCIOUS BREATHING AND SCAN YOUR BODY:
Become more aware of your breathing. When you find yourself multi-tasking, tensing your body and shoulders, holding your breath or taking shallow breaths; make a conscious effort to take some slow deep breaths (3 to 10 if possible) even if you have to take a break from your desk or work area and walk to the washroom to do it.
- Learn some simple meditation and breathing techniques from yoga or Chi-gong that will allow you to calm your inner chatter and clear your mind so you can resolve problems easily.
- While you are taking your deep breaths, mentally scan your body for areas where you are holding tension and try some simple stretches to re-align your back.
- Just take a few deep breaths a few times a day and make an effort to increase your awareness of your emotions and your thoughts as well as your body’s needs. Try to make corrections as soon as you notice them. Are you having any toxic thoughts or feelings? Poor body posture? What are you drinking or eating during the day? Are you dehydrated? Are you having too much coffee or too many pop drinks?
- DEVELOP A SENSE OF HUMOR: They say that “laughter is the best medicine” and in fact humor is known to reduce stress and boost our energy. It strengthens the immune system (by blocking the production of stress hormones such as cortisol and increasing the release of endorphins). Humor also relaxes muscles and decreases blood pressure and pain. It’s certainly contagious and it binds people together increasing intimacy, enhancing relationships and diffusing conflict.
- Seek out positive funny people
- Learn to laugh at yourself and don’t take things too seriously.
- Play with kids or pets and get silly once in a while.
- Share some jokes or listen to a comedian that you enjoy.
- Watch a funny movie or comedy.
- Read funny and inspirational stories.
- Smile as often as you can. A smile is a fast and inexpensive non-surgical face lift! Smiling uses so many facial muscles and your brain cannot tell the difference between a fake smile and a genuine one but it receives the messages from our facial expression and matches it to the respective emotions. In other words, you can actually lift your mood by faking a smile and suddenly feel happier!
Don’t wait to do the things you truly love, make the time to do them now! Simplify your life. Life is precious, appreciate it, enjoy it, live it!
Please share your stories about your discoveries that helped you achieve balance in your life. I love to hear from you and if you enjoyed these tips please press “like” below and share my link with your friends.