Let's face it, life at the moment is pretty hectic. We're getting used to post-lockdown routines, trying to get big and small businesses up and running again. And focusing on the last stretch before those much-needed December holidays. Christmas is only 70 days away! But, we can't live for vacation time all the time. And often, even after a relaxing break, we quickly go back to feeling stressed and frantic. Almost as soon as we've unpacked our bags. These top 7 tips will help you create a sense of calm every day - rather than only on your two-week holiday. Because wouldn't it be great if we could simplify everyday life? Two zen experts, Shunmyo Masuno and Brian Gardner have some ideas...
Top 7 tips on creating a calmer everyday life
1). Start the day with a clear mind
How often do you bolt out of bed and frantically rush to the shower? When was the last time you woke up slowly and took a moment to let your mind adjust to now being awake? The way you start the day is likely to be the way it continues. So a stressed morning won't lead to a calm day. Rather set your alarm for a few minutes earlier and spend five minutes slowly getting up, maybe opening the window and breathing in some fresh air. And try to clear your mind of any lingering concerns. This simple tip will help you tackle the challenges to come in a better frame of mind.
2). Chuck out what you don't need
And this goes for your home and office space. A disorganised, cluttered environment could make you feel anxious and out of place. If you're looking for a calmer, more zen everyday life, make sure the places you spend your time are conducive to this type of mindset. Start with your desk and clear out what you don't need - old to-do lists, extra forms and out-of-date lunch menus. Then, move to other areas in your office and home. Chuck away the clutter and embrace a simpler, calmer atmosphere.
3). Look at the floor
An unusual request, but you can tell a lot about someone's home and work space by what's on the floor. For example, when you walk in your front door at home, do you immediately kick off your shoes? A regular enough habit and an expression of freedom in your own space. But how many pairs of shoes are lying strewn across the floor? If you have to count them, there are probably too many. Try lining them up neatly next to the front door. Or even taking them back to the cupboard. A clear floor space cultivates a feeling of order in your world. Leaving things on the floor is a habit, but all habits can be broken.
4). Review those finances
If you're clearing out your office, home and cluttered mind, why not take a look at the money side of your life, too? Review last month's balance sheet. Do you recognise all those debit orders? Are they all still relevant to your life today? If there are any lingering payments - for old memberships, subscriptions or programmes - get rid of them. Few of us can afford to be paying for things we don't need in today's economic climate. Ditching what you don't need will contribute to a general feeling of calm every day. A bonus to this particular tip? More money in the bank!
5). You are how you eat
Let alone what you eat. Do you often stand next to the kitchen counter, shovelling in breakfast cereal before running out the door? Is lunch enjoyed at your desk in between appointments? One way to create a feeling of calm at regular intervals in your day is to spend a few minutes actually thinking about what you're eating. Even if you're having lunch at your desk, try to pause after every bite or sip and think about what you're consuming. What are the flavours? Where do the ingredients come from? Are they from small, local companies? This kind of mindful eating will make you more appreciative of your food, and it'll calm your mind so that you really taste what's going into your mouth. Food might even taste better.
6). Get outside
An easy fix for bringing calm into your everyday life. But something we rarely do. And fortunately in South Africa, there are loads of open green spaces. Even if you don't have a garden at home, you could stop at a local park after work or go for a walk in the botanical gardens on the weekend. Nature is one of our greatest calmers, and it's all around us. And, if you want to incorporate it into your everyday life, buy a few low-maintenance pot plants for the office. Or even hang a few peaceful nature paintings on the walls. Every little bit helps.
7). Learn to let go
Just as physical clutter gets in the way of you feeling organised and relaxed, so does emotional clutter. If you're hanging on to past grievances - at work or at home - try to resolve what you can and move on. Mental health is crucial to overall wellbeing. And ditching emotional baggage will help you feel lighter and more refreshed. For a calmer, more peaceful life, it's important to work on the inside as well as the outside.