Lately there has been a lot of travel in my life. As awesome as that is it can be difficult to transition back into the day to day routine and schedule. I have been suffering from a little bit of an adventure hangover, which means not practicing regularly, not eating the healthiest meals, and in general not taking the time to take care of myself and find my center. The changing season and the darker days just add to this general sense of unrest and the feeling of being out of balance. So, having recognized that I am not where I'd like to be I've taken several basic steps to come back to balance. I thought I'd share them here for anyone else who may be needing some helpful reminders.
1. Make your bed.
This is so basic but so effective. A smooth bed and neat room add to a mental state of calm. So make your bed as soon as you get up, put things away, tidy your space, light some incense or candles. Make your space a clean, calming sanctuary. It helps.
2. Make a healthy meal
Also a no-brainer. When we are out of balance we tend to make decisions that push us further out of balance, noticeably with food. It is easy to snowball into nachos and pizza for every meal, especially if life is busy and there is no time to make a time intensive yet healthy option. Take the time. Make the healthy option. Best yet make that healthy option a giant meal that can be eaten or added to other meals over the following days. Choose a lot of fresh veggies, and if it's your thing, lean protein. Make the time, enjoy the process and you won't regret it.
3. Invite in whimsy
This is my favorite and nearly always something that is overlooked. What I mean here is do something small for the sweet enjoyment of it. Read a favorite poem, print a happy photo and put it on the fridge, make a cup of tea, pick some flowers, copy an inspiring quote and put it up where you can see it, pull a card (tarot, angel, animal, goddess, whatever!). Do something that has no purpose other than your own personal pleasure. We get so locked in to being functional and achievement driven that we forget the simple pleasure of just being and experiencing. Be whimsical, enjoy it.
4. Do a brief guided meditation
There is a misconception that meditation is hard and/or to truly meditate it has to be for at least 30 minutes, in silence, sitting in lotus. This is not true! There are a million guided meditations out there of varying lengths. Sitting comfortably for 5 - 10 minutes and focusing your awareness on something can be perfect. There is no one way to meditate. The important thing is to do what works for you. When I personally followed this list of steps I did a brief guided meditation. It took about 10 short minutes but shifted my entire day.
5. Get some fresh air
Even if you don't want to, even if the weather is bad; just bundle up, put on some rain boots, go take a walk. Being in nature does wonderful things for the brain and mental health. And what is good for the mind is good for the body. Studies have even found that being outside can increase immunity boosting white bloods cells. This on top of the fact that it helps with stress, depression and overall outlook on life. So go outside, take some deep breaths, connect fully to the world around you even if it's just a walk around the neighborhood.
4. Take a hot bath/shower
If you have a bathtub throw in some Epsom salt and essential oils, if you don't try using a new sugar scrub in the shower. Hey we take it for granted but simple indoor plumbing and hot water is a huge luxury in the scheme of things! Take your time, luxuriate. Don't just use this as a space to clean up but a space to enjoy and relax.
5. Get plenty of sleep
Turn off your devices, cut out the TV and take some time before bed to wind down and feel peaceful. Turn all the lights off (including the digital glow from appliances or chargers) and give yourself at least 8 hours of sleep. This is important. Probably the most important thing and the most neglected in our culture. We do not value sleep. But if you're feeling out of balance, make it a priority. Get comfortable, get calm, get cozy. Get some sleep.
And there you have it! My simple tried and true list of things to prioritize when trying to come back to balance. Of course there are many more things to add into a daily routine but I find that starting simple is effective and not overwhelming. Remember that life moves in cycles, it's ok to get thrown off track. Start small and recenter, you'll be back in balance in no time. xx.