I am a big believer in regularly practicing calming rituals for managing stress. Because for many of us, life is moving really fast and there isn’t much calm available. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and constant movement of life. Being busy is very much engrained in our culture, which makes it easy to get lost in the day-to-day.
If you think about it, how often do you feel like you are just going through the motions and don’t feel like you are very present?
How often do you say to yourself, “omg I can’t believe it is <insert day or month> already?”
Or you think about how the year flew by and you didn’t feel like you really got to enjoy special moments.
I think we all experience this from time to time. As we age, we add on more and more responsibilities (work, children, partnership, marriage, friends, etc.) and it can seem like we are just living our lives for everyone else and not for ourselves.
And if you have any unhealthy thought patterns, unresolved trauma or low self-esteem, this just adds fuel to the fire. Being busy can be a distraction from past suffering or a way to avoid feeling your feelings altogether.
Next thing you know, you are caught up in the busy, 5 years has passed, ad and you have no idea how you got there. It feels like you have been on auto-pilot. And you are exhausted, overwhelmed and desperately need to manage your stress and insert some calm into your life.
You may be thinking – well I exercise! Shouldn’t that be helping me feel better?
And my answer is yes…to an extent.
While exercise is one of my top 5 tools for managing stress and busyness, the problem is most people only want to do hard, fast paced exercise (i.e. spinning, running) with loud music or news / tv / podcasts, and this is literally their ONLY “downtime.” So while exercise is great and I believe in the power of movement, without calming rituals to balance the high intensity, loud exercise out, you are just going from one fast paced thing to the next without ever truly pausing to be still and quiet. Bottom line: Keep exercising, but insert calming rituals into your life as well.
The thing is, most people don’t need MORE fast energy flow in their lives.
In fact, in order to stay healthy and manage the noise and the busyness, they actually need the opposite. They need to insert calm wherever they can.
We can’t always change the pace of life. But we can learn how to manage it better.
So if you have ongoing fast-paced energy in your life, and need some help with balance, I got you.
I believe you will be able to maintain your emotional and physical health much more easily when you insert calming rituals into your regular routine. And I am going to share my 2 favorite rituals that I use personally and always recommend to my clients.
Jamie’s 2 favorite calming rituals:
- Breathing Practices.
This is the single most important thing you can be doing regularly to calm the nervous system and create more balance in your body, mind, and soul. Breath is life. When you are stressed or anxious, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, which means the stress response has been triggered. Your body is prepping itself to either run from danger or fight the danger. Your heartbeat increases, your breath becomes shallower. But if it is just thoughts triggering the stress response, there is nothing from which to flee or fight and you can easily get stuck in this state.
Breathing is the fastest way to turn off this stress response in the body. It helps send more oxygen to the body and switch off the flow of stress chemicals. It also helps you tune into your inner world, pause, reflect, and notice how you are feeling and what you are thinking. It helps you check out of the busy and check in with yourself.
I recommend checking in on your breath regularly throughout the day. It can literally be a minute or less – but in that one, powerful minute you will be able to calm your nervous system. Schedule it on your phone, set an alarm for breath check-ins. Most Apple watches even have this built in! And In that moment, check on how deep or shallow your breath is, notice how your body feels, what you are thinking. And then close your eyes and take a few deep breaths before continuing on with your day.
Check out this link for a guided practice to get you started.
- Alone Time.
One of the issues that many of us face is that we are surrounded by people, things, noises, distractions, ALL day long. We never really have time to ourselves. And if you are over-scheduling yourself regularly or feel the “busy,” then alone time probably feels like a foreign concept.
And while we are indeed social beings, we DO need time to be still. To process, to think, to reflect. If we never have a moment to ourselves, this is going to be really hard to do.
I recommend making sure you have alone time at least a few times a week, if not every day. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time. Even if it is 20 minutes in the morning before everyone wakes up to have a cup of coffee and relax. Or maybe it is taking a bath in the evening when everyone else is in bed or doing their own thing.
However, you choose to integrate alone time, just be sure that it is consistently scheduled into your routine. Make it as important as your exercise or your work. Because YOU are important and deserve space to yourself.
As always, I love hearing from you. If you feel like you could use some help with mind-body-spirit living and being your best self, don’t be afraid to reach out! Connect with me HERE and let’s chat about how I can help!
And finally, if you have any favorite practices that you want to share, or want to explore this further in a community of like-minded women, come join us over in the Be Your Best Self Facebook Group – we would love to hear from you!
Peace and love,