As I say those words, “making time”, I can already hear the voices inside saying “but, I have no time.” The reality is we do. We just don’t make time for things that involve nurturing ourselves, exercise, eating right, playing a game with our kids, rolling around in the leaves or throwing the ball with our dogs. Work, errands, to-do lists, facebook, twitter, instagram, tv and checking our cell phones every 2 minutes for a new email or text message are our priorities. We are a culture addicted to the distraction of mindless activity. And, all of this feels so important.
Don’t get me wrong . . . work is important. Our jobs and/or careers are a necessary part of our lives. And for many of us, a very fulfilling part of our lives. However, in this fast-paced world we think we’ve created, things actually move slower AND we’re getting VERY sick. Have you actually paid attention to how long it now takes to get anything done? What’s been the price for all of this advancement and speed? Economically our country is in crisis. Our health, wellness and well-being has reached epidemic proportions with no end in site.
Humor me. Can we take on this thing we call stress and save this response for life threatening situations? Can we use 1 day of your time to try an experiment?
1. Wake-up 45 minutes earlier than your usual time. DO NOT look at your cell phone, TV or computer.
2. Empty your bladder. Find a quiet place to sit in your home. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and breathe. If you wish, set your alarm clock for 5 to 10 minutes. Pay attention to your breathe. Every time your mind wanders (and it will), come back to paying to deepening your inhale and lengthening your exhale.
3. Take a nice long hot shower. Stand under the shower head and just enjoy the feeling of the water. Breathe and allow the steam to penetrate mucus and inflammation in the sinuses. After your shower, moisturize your skin with massage oil or lotion. Yes guys, this means you too!
4. Make yourself your normal cup of coffee or tea. I would offer a suggestion to add drinking a cup of warm water with lemon, honey and ginger juice (recipe is 3 tsps honey, 2 tsps lemon, 1tsp ginger juice). This aides the digestive track for the cycle of elimination (That’s what your body is focused on at this time of day. Our minds are focused elsewhere.)
5. Before leaving the house, enjoy a piece or bowl of fruit OR piece of whole grain toast with honey or peanut butter OR some other form of complex carbohydrate.
6. On your drive to work, NO CELL PHONE. Listen to calming music or nothing at all.
7. Eat Lunch. Something healthy and nourishing.
8. Throughout your day:
a. take 3 small 3-5 minutes break to walk away from your desk/cell/computer. Take this time to close your eyes and breathe OR take a walk.
b. challenge yourself to leave your cell phone untouched for at least 15 minutes each hour. It does NOT require your attention every 2 minutes.
c. notice how many mindless activities you are tempted to engage in. bring your attention back to actually accomplishing your to-do list.
9. On the ride home, listen to calming music or nothing at all.
10. When you get home, give yourself only 1 hour (at most) to look at anything work related. The rest of the evening is spent alone OR with your wife/husband and/or children. Make time to read, cook a healthy dinner, talk and enjoy your loved ones WITHOUT distraction.
11. Bed by 10:00 pm. Lay in bed and breathe as slowly as you can. Double the length of your exhale and let go of your day.
The day after you read this article, structure your day with this simple routine.Your biggest obstacle in accomplishing this routine is YOU. Your mind is going to challenge you at every turn. But, I would ask you to pay attention to how you feel during this day and the next day. I would ask yourself how many hours of time you discovered you actually have in your day when you participate in it mindfully instead of mindlessly. Stress is a choice.
Tomorrow, try this again. And, again. Until this becomes the normal pattern of your behavior. Watch how much time you have AND how much enjoyment and fulfillment you can gain from your life. Go “BE” Great
Author: Ed Harrold