With its budding flowers, crowded farmer’s markets, tasty seasonal produce, and summer looming around the corner, there’s no doubt that springtime is a vibrant time of the year. May is a whirlwind month for most of us as finals, graduations, end-of-schoolyear recitals, weddings, and other festivities fill our calendars to the brim. Taking time for oneself tends to be put on the proverbial backburner as we run from one activity to the next.
But, there are serious effects of a non-stop schedule. From physical effects such as headaches and a weak immune system to emotional effects like anxiety and depression, stress wreaks havoc on our bodies.1 The challenge lies in balancing busy seasons with self-care.
The wonderful news is that you can practice the art of slowing down in bite-sized chunks no matter what season you find yourself in.
Here are a few ways to relax and clear your head as you make the final sprint into the summer months:
Perhaps the easiest of ways to slow down, ease tension, and experience momentary bliss is by simply breathing. It’s something that can be done anytime, anywhere. When I’m tense, I tend to take shallow breaths (or even hold my breath entirely!). But by breathing in through my nose, holding the breath several seconds, and out through my mouth, my body instantly relaxes. Check out these three great breathing exercises.
Calm commute crazies.
Nothing drives me to a state of “Crazy Town” faster than sitting in traffic (cue the cranky kids in the backseat, and, well, I become the worst version of myself rather quickly). To usher in Zen during your ride, try listening to soothing music or an audiobook with great narrating. Add deep breathing, stretching moves like spinal twists or neck rolls, and feel the traffic-induced stress melt away.
Create a morning ritual.
Several years ago, I started training my body to wake up between 5:00-5: 30 AM so that I could move slowly and allow my mind to clear the fog before jumping into my day. I write during this time; I read; I pray and meditate. I’m protective of this sacred time because I know I’m a better wife, mom, and woman when I start my days with time for myself. You can create your own morning ritual by waking up just 10 minutes early and discovering what practices make you the healthiest version of you.
Here are a few ways to relax and clear your head as you make the final sprint into the summer months.
There are countless resources at the tip of your fingers if you want to learn more about practicing present awareness, but try the following at your next event: put the phone away and give yourself permission to ignore your to-do list or the next thing on the agenda. Use your senses by observing all that’s around you. Take in the colors with their varying hues; look at the people and appreciate their diverse skin colors and features. Observe what scents you smell and sounds you hear such as the sweet scent of berries, the pianist’s melody, or the giggling of the young children in the row over. What does the humidity feel like against your skin? The point is to let yourself fully experience the present moment and connect with the world around you; as you do so, stress and tension will fade away.
Create a nighttime ritual.
Just as my kids thrive on a bedtime routine, I do also. Even if it’s just 15-minutes to myself, my nighttime ritual is something I look forward to as evening approaches. I’m a fan of bathing at night so I’m clean before hopping into bed; add jojoba oil, lavender essential oil, a sugar scrub and call me a happy girl. Whether you drink a cup of hot tea, use a gratitude journal, or do something else, find a way to reflect on your day and recalibrate before you doze off.
Here’s to restoring moments of peace and relaxation to your busy days!
Looking for more balance? Don’t miss this episode of our podcast: Is Your Life Out of Balance? – 011
You’ll also like 9 Simple and Unexpected Ways to Relieve Stress, Self-Care: What to Do When It Feels Like Another Commitment, How to Have Your Own Coffee + Bible Time, 7 Easy and Natural Methods to Boost Your Immunity, 7 Easy and Natural Methods to Boost Your Immunity, and Are You Grumpy or Just Neglecting Yourself?.