It’s 2015. Shouts of “Happy New Year!” are fading away and your New Year’s resolutions are needing some attention. Or not. I must admit, I don’t have “resolutions” this year. Or any year. I’m not a natural at setting goals. I have other strengths, but goal setting seems to get me down-it’s too strict, too demanding. Do you ever feel like that? Or do your goals keep you moving forward?
We are all different in the way we approach life and our goals…but one thing I sense we all have in common is that life can get chaotic and crazy at times, and it can be difficult to manage it all. It’s especially difficult this time of year with the focus on getting organized, losing weight, having more fun, making more money, yadda, yadda, all because it’s a new year and we better get a new start. We are being bombarded with “New Year, New You” and “Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever!” messages that are marketing to motivate us, but really, those messages can create more chaos and frustration within us.
If you feel the chaos and frustration, there are a few things you can do to bring in some peace and focus to your life.
Meditate: Wake up in the early morning, before the rest of your family is awake, and enjoy the silence. Choose a phrase that is meaningful to you, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and repeat the phrase in your mind, focusing on the words. For example, the phrase I use is “Be still and Know that I am God” from Psalms 46 in the Bible (a lot of times I shorten it to Be still. . .*breathe*. . .I am God) . By repeating this phrase over and over in my mind and focusing on the words, I am reminded of the love God has for me and my faith is strengthened as I trust him.
You can choose any phrase of positive words that work for you. As you breathe and think on the words in your heart and mind, you will feel comfort and inspiration. You are tuning in to what’s in your heart when you meditate this way, and you will feel more peaceful. You may even have questions answered with your own intuition as you focus on your meditation. During your meditation, If your mind gets distracted and you lose your focus, that’s ok. Keep breathing deeply and go back to focusing on the words. Don’t worry about it having to be perfect. It won’t be, especially as you’re starting out. The beauty of meditating is being able to relax and allow your mind to focus on beautiful words that invite peace and inspiration.
Take a Hot Bath: This suggestion may sound silly, but there is a lot to be said for taking care of yourself with a hot bath. Sometimes you just need some down time in a tub full of water to comfort you and allow you to relax. Before you get in the tub, write down your worries in a notebook and set them aside. You are going to get into the tub worry free, and enjoy your 20-30 minutes of personal time uninterrupted by your family, your phone, or your worries.
When you are finished relaxing, your mind and body will be more clear and able to take on your daily life.
Exercise: Now don’t worry, I’m not going to preach about being healthy and losing weight. We’re just going to talk exercise for the benefit of stress release. Find some kind of exercise that you enjoy-if you’re a social person, maybe join a gym or attend a fitness class. If you’re a mom with little ones, exercise before the kids get up in the morning and get your day off to a good start, if you enjoy being outdoors, go for an early morning walk or run. Exercise has been proven to lift moods and help reduce stress on a physical as well as a mental and emotional level. Also, I find when I exercise, I am more motivated to do other things that I need to do, because I have more energy. It just feels good to get that exercise in.
Pick one of these things and make it a habit. All three of these things have the potential to reduce the chaos or scattered energy you may be feeling after the holidays as we go into a new year. You will notice a difference in the level of peace you feel when you take care of yourself via meditation, hot baths, and/or exercise. Here’s to a peaceful, happy New Year!