Don’t worry; we won’t tell you to meditate. Okay, we might suggest it, though. But you can learn ways to bring peace into your home and help you (and your family) live a more serene life. No matter the time of day or night, it is a good idea to know what helps you relax. Whether you can proactively address bringing more Zen into your life, or having a game plan for those times you need to reactively bring calm into your world, knowing how to relax can bring you more happiness. Here are some ideas on how you invite tranquility into your schedule.
Have a Serene Space
Just knowing there is a place in your home to relax, think, or gather your thoughts can bring you peace of mind.
- For Adults: Maybe it is a comfortable chair in a quiet room that also includes a cozy blanket, a yoga mat with candles, and incense that can stay out full-time in your sunroom or a hammock with a soothing wind chime where you can let your worries fade. We suggest you have a dedicated location that brings you joy and comfort.
- For Kids: It’s hard enough being an adult and realizing when you might need some quiet time. Kids find themselves stressed as well, but do not always know what to do with this emotion. Similar to adults, creating a space for children to be able to go to calm down, get away from everything, and do what brings them joy is essential. Maybe a bean bag in a corner with books, a fort with sketching materials or comfortable space in an out of the way room in the house can allow children to escape their concerns and re-focus on what calms them.
- For Pets: Yes, even pets can get stressed. Sometimes rambunctious, active families can be a bit much for a pet full-time. Perhaps having strangers in the house causes them anxiety or, maybe like their human counterparts, they just want a place to call their own where they know they are safe and will not be bothered. Ensuring your pets have a bed, box, or blanket that is away from the action in the house allows them to retreat when they need to recharge their battery.
Create a Sip Station
When it is time to wind down or relax, some people like to enjoy a beverage. Whether it is the beginning of the day or end of one, consider creating an ideal place where you can enjoy a sip. We suggest you pick a shelf, table, or cart to house your beverage of choice. Here are some ideas of sip stations:
- Coffee Station: A little caffeine can help create clarity and jump-start your day. Consider adding a coffee maker near your favorite place to sit and journal in the mornings, where you like to peruse the newspaper or clean out your inbox before starting the day. A coffee station located in a sunroom with lots of light can help get your day off on the right foot.
- Bar Cart: After a long day’s work, sometimes enjoying a glass of wine or an adult beverage is precisely what the doctor ordered. Consider setting up a bar cart near your favorite spot to sit and catch up with your spouse or friends. Sharing about your day is one way to release tension.
- Tea Time: Before going to bed, a hot cup of tea can be a signal to your body that it is time to start relaxing. You can set up a shelf to hold your favorite mug, wind down tea flavors, and coffee maker that provides hot water. With a freshly brewed cup in hand, you can read your favorite book or, listen to a night-time meditation app, like Headspace.
- Anything Time: Get creative and set up a station that helps you achieve peace of mind. For example, a smoothie station can be an opportunity to allow you to re-center mid-day. You can check-in with yourself about what you’ve accomplished and create a plan for how you are going to finish your day while sipping on your favorite fruits and vegetables. Here’s our favorite mid-day smoothie recipe:
- In a blender single-cup (like the Ninja fit one) add the following:
- A handful of greens (spinach, kale or whatever you like)
- A few cubes of cantaloupe
- As much fresh mint as you can take (it is excellent for rejuvenation)
- Some ice cubes (or if your melon is frozen, you can skip this)
- If you like things sweet, consider adding 3-6 drops of your favorite sweetener (for example, SweetLeaf)
- Then fill the cup the rest of the way with your liquid of choice (for example, milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, or even water).
- Blend and enjoy!
Strategize a Game Plan
If only life were so simple that we knew when we might be stressed. Other than the recommendations above, having a strategy for reacting to stress is essential. Here are some scenarios and ways you can bring Zen back when it escapes.
- In the middle of the night: We have all been there. Maybe it is our thoughts or dreams that have woken us up. Or perhaps something in the outside world has disrupted our sleep. Having a plan for what to do will help get you back to sleep in no time. Everyone is different but here are some ideas for how to get your ZZZ’s back on track:
- A sleep app: There are a lot of apps available today that have specific meditations for falling back to sleep. Insight Timer is one of many Apps that helps listeners calm their minds, reduce anxiety, and sleep deeply.
- Let your mind wonder: Keeping headphones next to your bed and an audiobook on your device can help you ease back to sleep. Listening to a story you’re familiar with can help you nod off because you’re not too invested in knowing the ending you’re already familiar with.
- When company is in town: In-laws visiting, grandkids staying for the weekend, or extended guests for the holidays can all lead to stress. First, know this state is not permanent and will change. But a simple breathing exercise can help release stress. According to the University of Michigan, belly breathing is easy to do and relaxing. Try this exercise anytime you need to relieve stress.
- Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
- Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
- Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your stomach, go in, and use it to push all the air out.
- Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
- Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.
Completely removing stress from our lives is difficult to achieve. But having different ways to cope with stress when it shows up and proactively taking a little time every day to add some Zen into your life will help you better manage stress when it arises. Take some time for yourself and evaluate how stress appears in your life, and consider using some of these creative methods to help you prepare for anything the world may bring your way. And remember, there is nothing wrong with a little meditation along the way.