During a recent meeting with one of my bridal clients, I noticed that she was clearly stressed.
When asked what was going on, she said that she was anxious about balancing wedding planning with other daily tasks. First, I told her to take a few moments to just breath. She inhaled slowly and exhaled deeply. Then, we acknowledged her feelings and brainstormed. As we were talking, she had an “aha” moment about overly long to-do lists and the perceived need to be constantly on-the-go. She needed to slow it down and reevaluate her plate.
Our conversation reminded me of a recent experience in the shower where my actions were so quick and robotic, I didn’t even remember if I shampooed. I stopped for a moment and asked myself, “Talya, why are you rushing in the shower?” The shower should be a time to relax. It should be a place of peace and solitude to soak in the hot water – even for just a few minutes. I had my own “aha” moment and realized that I was considering a shower as part of my to-do list rather than a treat.
So often in life we just go through the motions. We run from place to place, try to cram too many things on our to-do list, and even worse, we beat ourselves up when we don’t complete the lists. We absolutely deserve to take 5-10 minutes to enjoy a shower! I guess my clients sometimes help with my accountability…who says a coach doesn’t need a reminder every once in a while? :-)
My client and I came up with a few ways to reevaluate the level of importance of the individual items on her daily schedule. We also discussed the need to allow herself to slow down and get more enjoyment from a simple activity such as her shower. The “allowing” part is the key. Many of us tend to think that if we’re not constantly doing or going, we are not good enough. In actuality, in order for us to be our best, we need to give our body and mind a chance to rest.
Below are ideas to help you slow down this holiday season and gradually create new habits to be your best self in 2019!
- Give Yourself More Time to Get Ready in the Morning – Set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier. This extra time will provide a cushion so you can more calmly get ready for your day. I know it can be tempting to snooze and stay under the covers, but your future self will thank you.
- Start the Day with Gratitude – Before you get out of bed write down what you are grateful for in a journal, count your blessings to yourself, or say them out loud to your significant other. It is such a peaceful, positive way to begin the day!
- Make sure to carve out time for you – I know I sound like a broken record with this, but it is so important to schedule time for you. Make sure that you block out some time each day to do something you love!
- Shorten Your To-do Lists – Reevaluate your daily tasks. What are the top 3-4 items that are most important to you? Are there items on your list that can be done the following day or assigned to someone else? Don’t worry, everything will eventually get done, so give yourself permission to spread the tasks out over time.
- Give Yourself More Time to Get to Your Destination– Allow just 10 more minutes! Who needs the added stress of cursing at traffic or red lights? Enjoy this time to listen to music or a good podcast. It’s an added bonus to arrive early and to calmly begin your next activity.
- Take Breaks – Create reminders on your phone to take a few 10-minute breaks throughout the day. Use this time to breathe, stretch, meditate, walk around, listen to your favorite music, or do whatever relaxes you. The goal here is to get away from screen time; so rather than scroll through social media, enjoy these moments to rest your eyes and mind.
- Incorporate Stretching and Low-Impact Exercises –Rather than solely focusing on high-intensity exercise, modify your workout routine to include low-impact movement such as Yoga, Pilates, or Tai-Chi These exercises incorporate mind-body connection, will ground you, and connect you to your breath to promote relaxation and reduce your stress.
- Create a Work Cut-off Time – Work-life balance is key, especially with the constant accessibility via phone and email. Choose a time to turn off the laptop, finish your emails, and shut down until the next day.
- Prepare the Evening Prior – Make lunches, lay out your clothes, and prepare your gym bag at night, so you have less to do and think about in the morning.
- Go to Bed Earlier– Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier and gradually build from there. Try watching one episode rather than binge-watching your favorite TV show at night.
- Unwind before bed – Dim the lights and create a positive setting for a peaceful night sleep. Turn off the electronics, take a bath, read a good book, and perhaps listen to a relaxing meditation.
- Nap on the weekends – Naps are something I am gradually incorporating, but my husband is a pro in this area. :) Allow yourself to take a short nap on the weekend. Even if you just close your eyes on the couch for 10 minutes, give yourself permission to take some downtime.
Rather than criticize yourself for what you didn’t achieve, congratulate yourself for everything you complete each day! Listen to your body, slow down, and allow yourself to rest. The next time you take your shower, cherish the moment -- stand under the water and let it run!