The first ten days of 2013 have flown by at lightening speed. If you’re like me, distracted by the many things still to do and see and experience (or sleep through) it’s a wonder anything gets done. When I look back at the past couple of years I am amazed at how quickly life is passing by. My son is 28 months old, I am 28 months older and the list of things to do keeps getting longer with not much crossed off these days. Never mind trying to sort out where I fit in, work-wise and otherwise. Before I know it, OLM will be in kindergarten and I will be left wondering what the hell happened.
Don’t Do Overwhelm
Squeezing as many activities or bits of awesomeness into a day sometimes helps to slow time down. It makes each day feel longer somehow and more luxurious. But, often it does just the opposite. And because it’s not in my nature to be a busy person all the time I like to choose activities I can count on to make the days seem longer. Besides, it’s not healthy to cram day after day full of activities for too long. It’s overwhelming and I don’t do overwhelm well.
Three Ways to Make Time Stand Still
Sprinkling enjoyable activities throughout the day makes for a nice balance. The day goes by neither too slow or too fast. But when I want to eek out every moment, I incorporate a few more of the ideas from the list below. If you are looking for a way to get more out of your day without chock-o-blocking your schedule, I invite you to try an idea from the following.
1. invite stillness into your life
- Listen to music you loved when you were young. Choose a favourite song, learn the lyrics then sing them out loud.
- Turn off the tv and other distractions. Enjoy the quiet and notice how you feel.
- Meditate. Choose a mantra if it helps you stay focused or simply focus on the breath. Meditation can be many things, but mostly it’s spending time getting to know yourself and your thoughts. You can practice contemplation (focusing on a subject) or clearing the mind to stillness. If your body aches, breathe into that pain and notice how it melts away.
- Commit to something that makes your heart sing. Savour it. Don’t worry if you don’t do it all the time or if you forget. Just start again or choose something else.
2. bring peace into your day
- Think of someone you love and send peaceful thoughts out to them. Think of someone you have a difficult or unsettled relationship with. Do the same.
- Replace a habit that contributes to unhappiness with something small that you enjoy. For example, instead of yelling at the poor driving skills of the guy in front of you, sing the song whose lyrics you just learned. Quietly.
- Take a walk outside, regardless of the weather. Take in your surroundings and inhale the freshness in the air. Practice expressing gratitude for what you experience. Share that experience with a friend or write it down.
- Practice patience with yourself. If you notice negative thoughts in your mind, acknowledge them. Then, tell yourself that although they served you in the past you can let them go.
- Start a journal or a blog.
- Practice yoga. Doing a bit of yoga everyday has an amazing effect on the mood. Even five minutes a day can help to sort out the kinks in the body and mind. I love to use myyogaonline.com because I can choose the amount of time, yoga style and even the instructor.
3. be productive, in small bits
- Before you get out of bed, tell yourself that today will be awesome. If you get sidelined, start again. Just keep it simple.
- Establish routines and start by making making your bed. People who make their beds are more productive throughout their day. Probably because they set the tone early, the rest of the day tends to follow suit.
- Do one small chore around the house everyday. Clean out that junk drawer, rearrange the coats in your closet, dust under the shoes. Donate those things that are collecting dust that someone less privileged could use. Make this a daily practice and before you know it, your house is in order, you’ll feel accomplished and you’ll have done something to invite order into your life.
- If you normally clean the bathrooms on Tuesdays, either do it another day or clean the worst bits and let the rest go. Or ask a family member for help. Or even better, hire someone to do it for you if you can. This frees you up to be productive in other ways that you enjoy.
- Do something nice for yourself everyday. It can be a small thing. Choose your favourite colour to wear that day. Make a cup of tea and drink it up before you get up. Being productive doesn’t have to involve chores or tasks.
Be kind to yourself and remember that:
- you are worthy of love. Write it down or tell yourself every day.
- you can accept yourself unconditionally as you are, right now.
- expressing love by making time with your family is top priority.
- doing nothing everyday is a wonderful way to spend a few minutes or an hour. Just enjoy it.
- your emotions are there to serve you and are not to be ignored. Talk about them with someone you trust.
When you make space in your life for stillness, peace and productivity you’ll find that your days won’t go by quite so fast. You’ll learn to enjoy the time you have with yourself, with the people you love and your surroundings more. And when you take the time to be kind to yourself and others, you’ll find those same qualities show up in how you think, leaving space to invite more love and allow time to stand still, if only for a moment. Thank you for reading. Would you like to read other posts in the 50 Days to Grace series? Please follow along by joining the email list.