Finding Joy in Your Fast-Paced Life
Are you stressed? Have you locked your keys in the car twice in the past two weeks AND forgotten to pick up your daughter from school?! Yikes! But don’t worry, you are not alone! It happens to all of us, and it’s NOT because you’re a bad mother.
You are juggling so many balls that one is bound to fall every now and then!
Does tending to the needs of your family and work have you falling into bed exhausted every night? Only to wake at 2am with anxious thoughts about what needs to be done the next day? You are a mother, daughter, wife, business owner, employee, hostess with the most-est, and a back-up player for your neighborhood volleyball team. Whew. . . you’re one busy girl! It’s no WONDER you locked you keys in your car without even realizing it!
As fellow working mamas, we understand what you are going through, and we are here to help! And, since we KNOW you’re on a tight schedule, we’re going to give you three quick tips that just might change your life! If you want to relieve stress and get more joy from your fast-paced life, you need to create a habit of using the following scientifically proven methods:
You probably already knew this one! You know that exercise is good for your physical well-being, but did you know it also boosts your mood? You may be thinking, who has time for a gym?! If exercise is not a part of your current routine, don’t sweat it. You can start with just 10 minutes a day! Set a timer for 10 minutes and clean one room in your home. Or go for a 10-minute walk. Just 10 minutes a day for 21 days can set you on a path to a new healthy habit! Not only do you get the added benefit of multi-tasking, but also after 21 days, your hard work and effort will create a new habit. Once you have the habit of 10 minutes comfortably in your schedule, gradually increase the duration and intensity of your movement. If you already exercise regularly, we hate you! Just kidding. But seriously, we want to encourage you to gravitate toward physical activities that bring you joy. If running is not your thing, don’t push yourself to do a half marathon. Try Zumba instead. In the game of stress relief, it’s not about what you do, but only that you keep your body moving. You may even find a new activity that you love! Some suggestions: biking, tennis, hiking, home workouts, (there are a plethora of online workout platforms! Beachbody on Demand is one that we love!), or walks with your spouse or friend or dog. Set a goal, get out there, and achieve it!
2. Go outdoors
Tired of typing for hours on that report? Stressed about the deadline looming on your next big project? Bored to tears with meetings huddled around a long conference table and stale coffee? Get up and go outside! One simple yet effective way to increase your mood and immediately reduce stress is to be out in nature. Nature is an organic mood booster. So instead of reaching for your 3rd cup of coffee to curb your stress, get up and get out of the office (wherever that may be)! And remember when we talked about increasing your work joy in our previous article? This would be a great time to invite a co-worker to go outside with you for a quick walk or chat!
3. Practice mindfulness:
One of the most effective ways to relieve tension and stress in your body is to intentionally slow down and look inward through mindfulness exercises. What does that mean? There are many different mindfulness activities, so if you have tried a mindfulness activity in the past and it was a miss, try another! If this is a brand-new idea to you, let us walk you through one specific type of mindfulness activity: the Body Scan.
A body scan begins with you lying on your back with your palms facing up and your feet falling slightly apart. This exercise can also be done sitting on a comfortable chair with your feet resting on the floor. You will need to lie or sit very still for the duration of this exercise so you can move with awareness. If it becomes necessary, adjust your position.
First, begin by bringing awareness to your breath: notice the rhythm, the very experience of breathing in and exhaling out. As you are breathing, be careful not to try to change the way that you’re breathing, but rather just hold gentle awareness of your breath.
Next, guide your attention to your body: how it feels, the texture of clothing against your skin, the contours of the surface on which your body is resting, the temperature of your body, and the environment around you. Notice if there are parts of your body that are tingling, sore, or feeling particularly heavy or light. Take note of any areas of your body where you don’t feel any sensations at all OR are hypersensitive. Run your mind through each part of the body, paying special attention to the way each area feels. The scan usually begins at the toes, working your way up the body, and ending at the face and head.
Why is this simple exercise so effective in reducing stress? Because it shifts your attention from negative, stressful thoughts to the peaceful awareness of your own body and environment.
And there you have it! You are now equipped with three quick steps to relieve the stress of your roller coaster life! If you will take the time to nurture yourself in these small ways throughout your day, you will notice your mood will improve and your stress will decrease. And we call that a victory!