At some point in life we all deal with difficult times in our lives. We feel tired and lost. Sometimes the best thing to do is to withdraw a little more. Relax and sleep more. That way we can slowly get energy and feel better again.
We know achieving this downtime can be difficult. In our minds, others still need us. The world just goes on. Family, friends and colleagues still buzz for our attention or support. They have expectations. And there are so many things we need to do.
But we encourage you to remember that YOU are just as important as those you love, if not more.
If like us you are feeling that push to escape, we challenge you to join us in finding a few moments this weekend to unplug. Let's get some rest. Rejuvenate. Quite or minds. Find new inspiration. A little downtime will do us all well.
Have you forgotten how to have fun? Are you feeling depleted, overwhelmed, stressed-out, and/or wound just a wee-bit too tight?
We’ve all been there. Over-committed and stretched way too thin, we can sometimes lose sight of what’s important and what brings us joy. Caught up in our to-dos, work, and being ALL THAT to everyone else in our lives (husband, parents, children, employers, etc.) can find us depleted.
And that’s not living.
Without realizing it, we’re on Auto Pilot mode; virtual slaves to our schedules and chores! We know you can’t run away from responsibilities, but you can implement a few tactics to help bring you back to your happy place and get you back in the driver’s seat of your life.
Disconnect from Your Phones
We understand that you can’t just break up with your phone entirely. However, you can clean it up from all unnecessary distractions. Do you really need your phone to beep at you every time you receive a new update on Facebook or Twitter? How about instead, you set aside time to proactively check your social media instead of having your phone beep at you? The same can be said for emails and most other apps that reside on your phone. This little trick can trigger a huge mind-shift from being at the mercy of your day to YOU taking control back. The power of how you manage your time is shifted back into your hands.
Connect with Nature
Lush greenery, birds chirping, a lingering sunset – can all gently lull us out of “must-do” mode into the present moment and appreciating the beauty that exists all around us.
A simple walk on a nature trail will do. If time does not allow for that, try kicking off your shoes and walking barefoot on the grass for a bit. Feeling the earth beneath your feet is grounding and reminds us what is REAL and IMPORTANT. Pressures and deadlines are URGENT – not necessarily important. This beautiful world we live in? Real. Enjoying our lives? Important.
Dread your morning commute? Turn up the radio, roll down those windows and sing your heart out. Can’t carry a tune? WHO CARES?
Singing releases endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in the brain. Because the deep breathing needed to sing draws more oxygen into your blood and stimulates circulation, it's also an aerobic activity and a natural stress-reducer.
That’s right. Adults need playtime too. And we do not mean Candy Crush on your phone! We are talking silly, social, smile-inducing, laughter-filled and simply for-the-hell-of-it-fun. We all need a break from our routines. Dr. Stuart Brown of the National Institute for Play sheds some light on this: "Play is something done for its own sake. It's voluntary, it's pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome."
So the next time your child asks you to play Mario Kart, just do it! Your horrible speed-driving skills will illicit peals of laughter from your child. I know nothing makes me happier than hearing my children laugh. The laundry can wait.
Play hooky (aka a take a mental health day) and meet up with girlfriends for lunch and cocktails. We are all about our Herd at Inspired Elephant. It’s critical to keep those connections alive. This is therapy you will actually enjoy.
Not everyone can hop on a plane and jet-set across the globe. We get that. However, you can jump in a car or take a bus or train to someplace new. Getting away for a few days will open your eyes to a fresh perspective and will show you there’s more to life than just your to-do list.
Even if it’s just 45 minutes away, you won’t have Mt. Laundry daring you to conquer it or anything else that needs fixing or doing at your house. Stay with a friend or Air BnB it. It’s not your home to fix and maintain. Just get outside and explore your new surroundings. Turn off your GPS and see where the road takes you. You physically cannot be on auto-pilot while in a new environment.
Friends, summer is not over yet. Don’t let these last few weeks pass you by while you mindlessly knock off tasks. Meet up with friends. Be silly with your kids. Watch a sunset with your sweetheart.
Inspired Elephant is our beloved community and that means we want to hear from you! Feedback helps our Herd grow and thrive. Please let us know if this post resonates with you, has helped you or if there is something you are doing to help bring the happy back into your life.
Have you HERD???
It’s the weekend! Make of it what you will but remember to:
For those of us in the Northeastern US, our winter weather has been anything but balanced. We’ve experienced record lows, highs and a freak blizzard in mid-March. Two weekends ago, we were enjoying sitting out on our patio, today, that patio is covered in snow and ice.
What’s a girl to do? Take extra special care of herself! Here’s how:
Sleep more – it’s like hitting the reset button on your mental, emotional and physical being. Go to bed a little earlier, wake up a little later. That extra time may be just what you need to recharge.
Savor your favorite warm beverage – be it hot chocolate, tea, coffee or even broth. Take a moment to inhale the aroma. Serve it in your favorite cup or mug. Make an event out of it.
Get outside – Yes. I mean it. Even if it’s just from your house into your car and back again at the end of the day. Fresh air is good for the soul. Even the frigid kind! If the sun is out, you get the added bonus of some Vitamin D.
Speaking of Vitamin D - We need more of it in the winter months because our exposure to the sunlight is often limited. Healthy Vitamin D levels are critical for our bone, brain and heart health. Add this supplement to your winter regimen!
Exercise – You may not feel like it because it feels better to snuggle in your footie pjs but exercise can not only warm your body temperature so you don’t always feel cold, it’s a mood booster as well. If you are feeling lethargic, go for a yoga class or something else low impact. Don’t like the gym? Shake it up at home with FREE challenging workouts offered by programs like FitnessBlender.com.
Hydrate – If you are anything like me, you tend to drink less water in cold temps because it makes us feel colder. It’s important to hydrate year round so keep up with your H2O! I’ve learned to keep a pitcher of filtered water on my counter as opposed to my fridge. It’s visible so it serves as a reminder to drink up and it’s kept at room temperature so it doesn’t leave me shivering.
Connect – It’s so easy to become a hermit. Instead, invite friends over for that snow day. Or put your devices down and play a board game with your family.
Help Others – I think we can all agree that shoveling sucks. Especially, when it’s the wet, heavy, icy kind of snow we had to deal with yesterday. Thankfully, I had loads of help with clearing out my car, driveway and walk yesterday. In turn, I cooked and baked and shared those goodies with those that helped me. Helping others warms everybody’s hearts!
Speaking of helping others, you can help us right now! Please share your tips on staying balanced this winter in our comments section below. Our herd would really appreciate it and we’d love to hear from you!
We have some positive news for members of our herd experiencing the umpteenth gray day in a row. Lack of sunshine can be a real downer. (We’re right there with you, sisters.) But here is something to consider: Gray is comprised of both black and white. While black is the complete absorption of color and absence of light, white contains all colors of the spectrum. Therefore, (drumroll, please)...
There is a HIDDEN RAINBOW in every gray day!
So rather than letting the weather get you down, look for your hidden rainbow instead. Maybe it’s snuggling with loved ones at home while catching up on a Netflix marathon. Or maybe it’s indulging in some belly-warming comfort food with friends. Hot chocolate with the kids? A good read and your favorite tea? Frankly, they all sound good but mine was receiving and being able to share this nugget of wisdom with you all. Thanks to my angel who shared it with me. #ThankfulThursday #HiddenRainbows
Please share with us...Where does your hidden rainbow lie?
"What is really hard, and really AMAZING, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of BECOMING YOURSELF." -- Anna Quindlen
The best part of that quote is what came to me next: ..."And realizing that you are amazing."
Yup. Flaws and all. Cellulite and all. Less than ideal balance in the bank... and all.
Giving up on perfection is like quitting the hamster wheel. It's utterly exhausting. You think you have to run it and finally, you jump off.
I've been letting go of a lot lately. Like dieting. Mind you, I am eating healthy but I am allowing myself a treat here an there, wine with dinner, an occasional bite of chocolate. And the irony is, I haven't gained a single pound.
In the process of letting go, I've been consciously ALLOWING.
I'm allowing a very sweet man be kind and generous to me without trying to prove my worth to him. He thinks I'm great. So, who am I to question or try to top that?
The unforeseen result of this is that I am much more present in my life. In the process of letting go and allowing (aka JUST BEING ME), I am having new and fun experiences, am much more relaxed and care less about what others think.
Now, don't get me wrong. It's not all rainbows and unicorns. In fact, I just had a really craptastic week. And as a result, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, fell by the wayside. So I gave myself a day to recover. Did I get up at dawn and go for a run? No. Did I cook our family meals for the week? Don't be silly. The perfectionist in me was nowhere to be found. I slept in. I went for an easy hike in a beautiful park with my sweet man. I read my book while I treated myself to a pedicure. I meditated and wrote this post. And yes, I tidied up, did laundry and went grocery shopping as well. Like I said, it can't all be rainbows and unicorns.
What about you? Are you ready to jump off that hamster wheel? Yes, I am singling you out because believe me, the world needs wonderful YOU. Not some Stepford Wife version of you.
Learn to appreciate and honor yourself. Your quirks, your imperfections...even your penchant for bad reality TV. WHO CARES?! Embrace it. Own it. Marinate in your own magnificence.
After all, the most important relationship you'll ever have is the one you have with yourself.
What does balance look like for you?
For me balance means exercising and eating right, being mindful over my finances, spending quality with my family, being successful at my job and dedicating my time and creativity to Inspired Elephant. I can’t have it all every single day, so it’s about making choices and trying to fit it in however and whenever I can.
During the month of October, I felt very UNbalanced. I was overcommitted and my children overscheduled. I was exhausted, late to everything, and was met with some upsetting news about people I care about. That really threw me off.
It’s during these crazy times that I’m reminded that balance is not really a state of being but more of a moment-to-moment decision making process. I can choose to say no to an obligation – even if I’ve already said yes. (YES! You really can do that!) I can choose to ask for help with my children. I can choose to take a few deep breaths and tell myself, “This too shall pass.”
Yesterday, I declined an invitation to an event I had already planned on attending. Instead I went for a 2 mile run. Let me tell me, it was the best run of my life!
In this instance, I chose to take care of myself before taking care of obligations. As a result, I felt calmer, energized and more equipped to handle life.
Little by little, I am regaining my balance. One choice at a time.
How do you achieve balance in your life, especially when things seem to be spiraling out of control?
Please share your comments below!
Inspired by: Carolyn Duarte