Happy New Year! How's 2016 going?
For me, I'm uncomfortable. My body has random aches every day. I haven't made time for myself. I've gotten caught up in the daily logistics, and haven't taken the time to enjoy life. I haven't exercised, meditated, or done yoga like I used to. I am less patient. Less sweet. I haven't made time to write (hence four blog posts in 2015), play with my kids, or flirt with my husband (amongst other things). I haven't spent quality time with my friends, or family.
There are lots of excuses I can make: I've been in LA for the past 10 months with my daughter on her TV show (shameless plug: watch The Thundermans on Nickelodeon), and then when I'm home I'm volunteering, cleaning, doing administrative stuff, etc. I'm too tired, too busy, there's too much to do, blah blah blah.
There are lots of resolutions I "should" make. I should resolve to use my gym membership. I should vow to meditate everyday. Or get all romantic and stuff with my husband every Tuesday. I should commit to make an hour of play and creative time with my children everyday, Skype with my Dad every Friday, and have consistent Mom's Night Out. The list is long of the surface level, general, and possibly insurmountable resolutions I "should" make, and that I see others make every January.
Yes, I could go on and on 'til the break of dawn with the excuses and the resolutions.
But there is only one that is really needed: cut through the BS and JUST MAKE QUIET TIME for myself. Just do it. And - if for some reason I'm challenged in doing it, then ask for help, so I can do it.
The act is simple: just sit, quietly. That quiet time will allow me the time and space to support myself Physically, Emotionally, Mentally, Spiritually, and Relationally.
Physically it will allow me to:
• Purposely settle my brain
• Slow down my nervous system
• Relax my muscles from head to toe
• Massage my entire internal body with long, deep breaths
Emotionally it will allow me to:
• Get clarity on what I'm feeling and what I need
• Feel happier and more inspired overall
Mentally it will allow me to:
• Get clarity on the logistics
• Be more rational in my thoughts and actions
• Be more focused
• Be able to prioritize
• Feel motivated
Spiritually it will allow me to:
• Trust myself to make healthy choices
• Trust in the unfolding of life
• Trust in the Universe or God (if you're into that)
Relationally it will allow me to:
• Be more present for my husband, children, family, and friends
• Be more patient, compassionate, loving, and kind to myself and others
If I make excuses that I can't reserve quiet time for myself, then I am full of it. Or if I say it's too hard, then I am the victim. I am giving away my power to the societal and logistical expectations and not focusing on what it healthiest for me. I am stuck and allowing the joy to be sucked out of me.
If you can relate to that stuck-ness and joy suck-ness, and want to make some Quiet Time for yourself, give me a cyber chest pound/peace sign right now!
Here are 7 steps to make it happen:
1. Communicate to the necessary parties your new QT plan.
2. Reserve 5-10 minutes for your QT on your calendar. Give yourself several alerts.
3. Choose your "Power Spots" - think of the places you will do your QT and find your spots that will ensure quiet time. (Hint: It can be the bathroom, your car, or a supply closet)
4. Create some QT ambiance: turn the lights down low, put on some background sounds, light a candle, burn some incense, diffuse some essential oils, use your favorite Glade plug-in. Put on your headset while you're in the bathroom stall. Whatever you want and whatever it takes!
5. Set your alarm for 5-10 minutes.
6. Sit down. Be quiet. Start consciously breathing.
7. Set a simple intention: "I'm just going to Breathe and Sit Quietly for the next seven minutes". Repeat that intention over and over again either out loud in your mind: Take an inhale, and on the exhale say, "Breathe and Sit Quietly."
If you find your mind getting distracted, you can use these tools:
Tool #1: Close your eyes. It will help you to be less distracted and focus more inward.
Tool #2: Pick specific words to flow with your breathing while you're having your quiet time. Using the sample intention above: you can say to yourself "Breathe" on the inhale, and "Sit Quietly" on the exhale. You can also use an effective one from Thich Nhat Hanh, which is simply: "Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out." You can even abbreviate it to "In" on the inhale, and "Out" on the exhale.
Tool #3: Find a 5-10 minute breathing meditation that you can follow for the duration of your QT. I just did a quick search and came up with a gazillion.
Tool #4: If you're children are always in the picture, create Family Quiet Time. This can be done right before bed.
If you are having trouble making this time for yourself, it might be a good idea to get some external support and make some profound life changes. Truly, 5-10 minutes per day is very little - but it can create a huge shift.
Please consider the Comments section an opportunity to ask questions and/or share your Quiet Time stories!