Inner Peace as Part of Health

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.


A Sweet Taste of Inner Peace

LakeI’m writing this from one of the most peaceful places I know.

I’m in the shade on a dock, the breeze ruffling the leaves overhead ever so gently. The lake ripples and twinkles in the sunshine. The loudest sound is the chirp from a chickadee or the buzz of the odd bee. Absolute heaven.

It’s been an upended summer.

My work schedule didn’t work out as I’d hoped, which meant I was often scrambling for last minute child care. Some days, I was so focused on getting parts of my business together that I lost hold of the daily basics: adequate meal planning, soccer practices and birthday parties. (Ok, let’s be honest, some of those things had just slipped through the sieve because I never wrote them down.)

Time out of the city has been hard to plan or totally impromptu. To put flame to the fire, there was a family crisis that compounded my chaos with worry.

Could it be that a lack of any kind of routine or schedule is what had me feeling so chaotic?

And then there are moments like this. Utter peace.

It surrounds me, and yet I feel it deep in my bones. In the expansion of my belly, in the drop of my shoulders, in the ease of my breathe. This sense of peace is available to me at all times because I feel it in my body.

At times like this, when I feel like life is living me, I’m reminded how important it is to make sure I look after myself first and foremost. What some call the airplane theory: put your own oxygen mask on before you attempt to help anyone else.

What can I do to recreate that sensation of inner peace back at home?

I take this moment of tranquility to reassess what it is I need. What will keep me grounded when life doesn’t quite work out the way I hope and anticipate? What routines do I need to have in place so that the daily flow can continue when curve balls come my way? What amount of sleep, which quality of food, and how much time to just chill out with my sweetie?

There it is, an important aspect of self-care we don’t often consider: Routine.

Sounds boring. I know.

But let’s think about it:

  • When you set aside time for the necessary tasks of life, you stop stressing out about them. Rather than worry that there’s a stack of bills on my desk that I  must remember to pay at some point, I take a half hour every Friday morning and look after it. One simple step that opens up time & mental energy.
  • Think about when you were a little girl. Your parents had a structure in place. They set expectations and curfews meant to keep you safe, and you were free to run around and play all day They could trust that you would bike home at sunset, you could trust there’d be a hot meal waiting for you.
  • Look at your own kids. One of my sons is all for being a free spirit and “going with the flow”, but left too much to his own devices and he becomes bored, pacing the house like a caged animal. It never ceased to amaze me, when he was small, that the more firmly I maintained the routines & structure I’d set up, the better behaved he was.
  • The FLY Lady has built her entire business around developing routines. First Love Yourself. Her whole premise is that if you create habits for the little chores that need doing around your house (making the bed, cleaning the toilet, laundry) then they happen without you having to think about it. Habits not only remove the burden from housework: your mind & imagination are then free to expand in any number of creative ways. (Not to mention, you’re equipped to catch the odd curve ball.)
  • Your body is the same way. Sleep cycles, digestive health, hormonal fluctuations all work on a clock. If it knows what to expect when, your body functions more efficiently.

Perhaps I’m no longer in school, but this time of year still has me excited about cleaning off my desk & getting all my notebooks in order. This year, my organizing will include putting absolutely everything onto my calendar.

As business mentor Marie Forleo says, “If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real.”

The thought of a hectic fall schedule can leave me with a huge knot in my belly. But if I sat with my calendar and put a framework around my weeks and days, the knot releases and my heart lifts. I face the fall with a sense of peace and renewed energy!

What’s your “Back to School” plan for yourself? Leave me a reply below and tell me about it.


It’s with this very sense of peace and freedom in mind that I came up with the idea for the first talk in my series… starting next week!

My intention with “Self-Care as a Spiritual Practice” is to set a foundation on which all other aspects of health can be built. It’s designed to relieve the burden of how to go about fixing the big stuff, by establishing a healthy mindset around the daily stuff.

Click here to learn more about the whole series: “Good Health Starts Here: 6 Talks for Women”

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