October has found our family finally settling into the groove of a new school year. The newness has worn off, and routines finally feel comfortable. We went through a lot of change this fall. Two boys went to new school buildings, one started a new (and strenuous) activity, and my husband started a new job. All of the changes were positive, but change of any kind brings stress, so the routine and stability feels good.
Now that things are a little calmer, I’ve tried to pinpoint what’s helped me get through this time of change–or what’s saving my bacon this month.
The first is my bullet journal. Read all about how my un-fancy and basically free bullet journal simplified my life, once and for all.
The next thing is something I never dreamed I would try, and I previously thought was pretty out there. I’ve started meditating, and it has made a huge difference.
Honestly, I realize now that I have meditated in the past, but I didn’t call it such. When I was pregnant, I struggled with worry and fears about my unborn babies, especially at night. As I tried to fall asleep, I started thinking to myself, “Healthy in mind, body and spirit”, over and over. By choosing to concentrate on those words, I pushed other thoughts out of my brain, and it helped me be calmer and more relaxed.
There were several issues I was pretty anxious about earlier this fall. Quite honestly, the world is a very unsettled place right now. There’s plenty of things the imagination can grab onto and run away with, if you let it.
This routine takes only about 10 minutes out of my day, and I can honestly say it has immensely helped decrease my stress level. I do this as soon as I walk back inside from getting my boys on the bus, and it really sets the tone for my day.
I start by reading a daily devotional. It’s short, but usually very pertinent to what’s going on in my life. Next I set my phone alarm for 5 minutes, close my eyes, breathe deeply, and focus on a word or phrase, until the timer goes off. Sometimes the word or phrase is from the devotional, and sometimes it’s not. It may or may not be part of a specific scripture.
I try and pick a phrase that I think I need that particular day, and I try and keep it positive. Instead of, “Don’t be afraid”, I think, “Be brave”. Instead of, “Don’t be impatient”, I think, “Patience and strength”. Today’s word was “Grateful”.
The more you practice something, the better you get at it, and the easier that task is. Relaxing isn’t easy for me. Forcing my body to slow its breathing and be in a calm state has strengthened that skill. When chaos hits, I’m now able to deal with it better. I’m less anxious all around.
Sound a little too woo woo? Honestly, it did to me too. I’m kind of a practical gal, and I was pretty skeptical about the whole thing. However, I thought the benefits outweighed the potential waste of 10 minutes a day. It really has made a huge difference in my life, so try it for a couple of weeks, and see if it helps you. Meditation is supposed to help improve concentration and attention span, reduce anxiety and stress, help with weight loss, addiction and more.
I still have random thoughts pop into my head during meditation, but they’re getting few and far between. It’s amazing how difficult it is in the beginning to simply focus on one idea for five short minutes. I can also tell the meditation has helped me identify when I’m multitasking throughout my day. I usually try and take a step back and refocus on completing one task at a time, which has helped my productivity.
Here are some other articles about meditation to give you more ideas and tips for getting started:
Have you ever tried meditation? Or would you be willing to?