These little habits will help boost your well-being and feel connected to what matters to you most.
This morning, I slid down the lime green wall of our tiny upstairs bathroom holding Magnus’s toothbrush. I crossed my legs, and he gazed steadily into my eyes while crawling into my lap. His flashing green toothbrush already in his mouth moving up and down along his teeth.
I watch him and smile. His skin is beautiful and clear except for a bit of ruddiness in his cheeks from the dairy we’ve been reintroducing to see how he’d react. He’s had an allergy since he was a baby, and we wanted to see if he’s grown out of it. Not yet it seems.
His clear blue eyes smile at me, his mouth open wide as he leans back into my arms so I can finish brushing his teeth.
Oh my god, what did I do to have this perfect child? I think to myself smiling.
When I’m done, I scoop him into my arms and breathe in. Wanting to take all of him into me, chest to chest, before letting him go.
It’s these precious moments of ‘seeing’ and connection that mean the most to me. They are also noticeably absent when I’m stressed, overwhelmed, and needing to “get shit done.” I can’t see HIM, or anyone for that matter. I’m too distracted the story of needing to “do things” so to stop the overwhelm.
And it feels like there is always so much to do. There’s an ever expanding To-Do list with more things to do than there is time, a mess that erupts in every room a 5 year old walks into, and the pressure of life in a pandemic.
I want more moments of connection and love in my life and it’s not possible when my mind is looking through the lens of “everything needs to get done.” We can only have moments of true connection when we are present and at ease.
These are 6 small things that I do to lower stress that boost well-being and remind me of matters most:
- Be intentional – I like to start my day with a few minutes visualizing how I want my day to be, how I want to show up, and what I want to accomplish. Then I make a plan of how I can best make that happen. Without a vision we are at the mercy of everyone else’s vision and we can end up even more stressed because of it.
- Mindfulness – There is over 30 years of research on the benefits of Mindfulness, and it’s benefits can be measured in under 10 minutes a day. It increases our tolerance to build resilience, lowers cortisol levels in the body, increases self-awareness (hello calming reactivity), and is a proven happiness intervention. I credit most of the healing for my complex trauma, my strong self-regulation skills (before this was a buzz word), and self-compassion to Mindfulness. It really is a life changer, even in just a few minutes a day.
- Dance parties – During the pandemic we moved Magnus’s bedtime a little later and we started to have dance parties after supper. Magnus loves to sing, dance, and listen to music and I do too. We all get a turn to pick a song and then we pull out our best, silliest, and craziest moves on the living room floor. My neighbor across the street said it made her day when she saw us all boogeying in the window together. Some of our favorite songs to dance to are: Kung Fu Fighting, Fishing in the Dark, Dance Monkey, and Shake it Off. Anything goes at our house!
- Quick Yoga sessions – I work from home and my posture pays for it. Breaking up my work day with a few minutes to stand, stretch my neck and shoulders, and take a few twists makes such a difference in my body and helps clear my head. When Magnus isn’t at school, he loves to get on the floor with me for quick yoga sessions. We take turns “teaching” the poses and it’s always full of laughs and feels really good. I’ve had subscribers tell me that Quick Bliss Yoga is their daily “prescription” because it helps them so much.
- Get outside – We take Magnus outside to play daily which benefits Dave and I as well. We take him skating, sledding, or just to play in the snow. However, even when he’s at school I’ll often take a quick walk outside to reset, refocus, and be a part of this wider world we’re connected to.
- Hand to Heart – Many times daily I place my hand on my heart and take a few deep breaths to connect to my Self, the deeper part of me that was born into this body. It reminds me of who and what I really am and allows me to live with a greater clarity and purpose than the myopic To-Do list that follows me like a shadow.
The most important part of any of these tips of course is to SCHEDULE them in! Intention is nothing without action, and action definitely won’t happen without a plan. Start with one small thing you can add into your day and then add another, and another. Then soon, you will have a routine that helps you lower stress and feels effortless.
I’d love to hear from you now, what are your favorite tips to reduce stress? Tell me all about it in the comments below.