September. Gathering books, starting new activities, buying new clothes.
Like the squirrels around the neighbourhood, I max out on local produce, fill the freezer, get the roof patched, and make sure everyone’s got boots & a coat that fit.
Nothing like the fall to stir up a flurry of activity.
Some days I don’t know what to do first.
It adds to the stress load. But it also means I can hunker down and ride smoothly through winter.
Any transition’s like that.
How can you keep it all going without falling apart?
Create inner peace.
When you address daily well-being as part of your spiritual practice – your ability to stay connected to your purpose and act from what’s true to you – everything you do deepens your connection to self and opens space for the Divine.
In this case, maintaining a clear inner atmosphere, a positive mindset, work wonders for your entire life and health.
In August, we had to replace the basement floor after a flood, which meant that all the stuff from down there got moved upstairs. The big stuff went into storage, and some fit in the garage, but then every other room in the house acquired boxes and odd bits of what-not.
If there’s one thing that stresses me out, it’s clutter.
I’m one of those people who need to wash the dishes and clear the counter before I cook. I need to put away the clothes once the laundry’s done. So, having our already small rooms packed with more stuff added a sense of constriction to my summer.
Now, on top of having the usual back-to-school frenzy, I also have the daunting task of putting it all back in place, plus I’ve been asked to teach a class on relatively short notice. (Did I mention my husband’s away for a month?)
All of it’s great, but thrown onto the To Do list all at once, it feels like a pile of dirty dishes and unfolded laundry threatening to topple on over me.
Mentally, it’s the same. Your mind gets too full of trying to keep it all organized.
If you’re anything like me, you can get so caught up in worry about the details that you
- Micro-manage (= don’t delegate easily);
- Lose sleep, either because you stay up too late working on it or because you lie awake trying to figure it all out;
- Start 12 different projects, then never finish any;
- Forget your priorities as you get swallowed by the task at hand. The other night I had a dream that I was so busy trying to clear a clog from the vacuum hose, that I didn’t notice the entire house burning down around me;
- Eat too much sugar to keep you going;
- Get sick. You see, when stress is high (too much cortisol all the time), your immune system is suppressed while your body’s energy goes to getting you out of “danger”.
Basically, I turn into a crabby bitch with no time for anything or anyone.
It comes down to creating space.
Space in my home.
Space in my mind.
Room to breathe.
And as much as I’d love to be able to wiggle my nose and have it all sorted out this minute, the reality requires small, sustained steps.
The beautiful thing about the mind is it’ll bend & flex to integrate new habits. According to research, it takes anywhere from 24 to 60 days for a new routine to become unconscious habit. Once those pathways are established, though, it means it all happens automatically – without having to think about it!
With more headspace, you give your creativity, your memory and better moods a chance to flourish.
Take these 3 steps every day for a week and notice what happens to your productivity, your stress level, your sleep.
1. Schedule your day.
The most brilliant tool I ever tried since working from home has been a timer. I decide what I need to accomplish in a day, allot each item a set time and stick to it.
Parkinson’s law is the idea that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Without a framework, whatever you do will inevitably take longer. You know, like when you pop into social media for 5 minutes, only to surface an hour and a half later…
Magically, if you set a timer to keep track for you, you’re free to focus on the task at hand. You’ll be amazed how quickly things get done – sometimes with time to spare!
Bonus: Take time to do nothing.
When scheduling your day, be sure to include a break.
Sit in the garden, meditate, journal, take a nap, stare into space, daydream, read a magazine,…
Turn off. Unplug. Just be.
2. Clear your space.
Spend each week focused on one room in your home/office. (Do this in small bites – 15 minutes – for easy digestion.)
Clean a drawer.
Wash a window.
Rearrange the artwork. Set out some fresh flowers.
Give away books you’ve read and gadgets you don’t use.
Let the each room reflect who you are and how you want to feel when you’re in it. Let the outside reflect the inside. Let the outside inspire the inside.
3. Express gratitude.
Whether you prefer to do it in the moment or journal about it before bed, take the time to appreciate food, acts of kindness, people, challenges from your day.
Step back and acknowledge the tidy drawer, the vase of flowers, the wholesome meal.
Express gratitude to others. Express it to yourself. Express it to the Divine.
Honour when you succeed. Be gentle with yourself when you don’t.
Now that you notice what works, commit to repeating it daily for a month or two – the time it takes for your neurons to establish the new pathways.
Give your mind the chance to embrace this calmer approach to stressful times as the norm.
Leave energy for your body to keep up with its own healthy activities.
Offer your inner yearnings a clear path to expand and be heard without the din.
What do you do to keep yourself mentally clear when things are overwhelming? When you share in the comments, you open the possibilities for others.