Manic, chaos, stressed, struggling, surviving, too busy!!
These are the words I seem to be hearing from everyone. It is a busy time of the year and many people are feeling overwhelmed but to be honest, I seem to hear these words all the time these days, regardless of the time of the year.
Recently I was chatting to a friend who used the words ‘manically busy’ and, bizarrely, I felt myself almost apologising for not being as busy – I’m sorry my life is so easy! And then I looked at my diary, thought about what was going on in my life and saw that it was filled with professional and personal commitments and trying to fit in writing Book 2 and look after a forgetful elderly mother-in-law who was staying with us for nine weeks. I then realised that I was busy but I didn’t feel busy. It didn’t feel manic and I didn’t feel overwhelmed.
In case this is starting to sound a tad smug let me reassure you that this isn’t my default setting. Those who know me well know that I once struggled to be still to the point where it made me seriously ill. I spent most of my twenties and at least half of my thirties battling to feel calm and peaceful. Thankfully, I saw the light, started getting better, meeting many helpful guiding angels along the way. But I still have moments when I find myself becoming a bit untethered, when everything feels like it’s closing in on me and I have to go faster and faster to stay in control. But the lessons I’ve learnt have stuck with me and I’ve realised that as life continues to get even busier and faster I have to find ways of making inner peace and calm non-negotiable.
So I think the best Christmas and New Year gift you can give to yourself is the intention to find inner peace and calm no matter what is happening around you and especially when the demands – work, childcare, elderly parents, errands, housework, recreation – are overwhelming you. I have one simple suggestion to help make this happen – my Christmas gift to you.
Find a ritual for starting your day in a centred way – It might be before you even get out of bed, simply lying on your back and breathing deeply into your belly and affirming calm instead of jumping out of bed or reaching for your phone to check your email. You might do this while you shower or clean your teeth, or while you walk the dog, or using some of your journey time to work. If all else fails, use your washing up or ironing as a re-centring practice, planting feet firmly and breathing deeply into your belly as you get the job done. Life offers us a myriad of different ways to find peace and serenity. We just need to be open to the opportunities.
Use this time – even 5 minutes – to commune with yourself and to start to build a strong connection with your centre even when and especially when your days are packed. You’ll be amazed at the difference this simple but powerful routine starts to make to your day.
Be warned! Expect some possible side effects:
One of my best friends is a part-time working mum of two children who has recently been going through some health issues. Her life is undoubtedly filled but now (after some bullying from me) she takes 5 minutes every morning to stand in her bathroom with the door closed and feet firmly planted, grounding herself and putting down roots before starting her day. And I’ve noticed she’s stopped using the words ‘manic’ and ‘too busy’…
Yours in amazing health and energy and have a very Happy Christmas!