From our friends at The Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm.
Live and let go.
The start of a new year is a good time to release negative habits of body and mind. Don’t be hard on yourself. Create new habits that are sustainable and able to be woven into your routine. For example, start and end each day with intention. Rhythm and routine are comforts to humans and foster a sense of peace.
Come back to yourself.
Every single one of us is overstimulated and caught up in our busy lives and minds. Seek balance and listen to your body. What sparks joy in your life? Whether it’s a watercolor class, a hike though the forest or food and wine tastings, give yourself permission to slow down and be present in your experiences.
From the founder of Ōtium Savannah.
Learn to rely on and build trust in yourself.
Yoga helps instill accountability. Whether it’s making the call you said you were going to make or following through on your promise to send an email, yoga leads to more sound judgement and intuition in challenging situations. That’s a powerful energy to put out into the world and will elevate every part of your life!
Create a sanctuary at home.
Keep lemon or cucumber water in the fridge, spray lavender mist while you meditate and create a special place or time for movement. We have to move to process our emotions otherwise they can stay rooted in our system. Don’t underestimate how powerful cleaning or straightening up to great music can be.
From Carrie Peeples, Founder of NeatSmart.
1. Make your bed.
You are telling your brain that you are finished with sleep and ready to take on your day and completing the first of many tasks for the day. At the end of the day, you have nice reward to come home to: a lovely made bed that welcomes you to relax and recharge.
2. Put an empty bag in your closet to collect donate-able items.
Once the bag is full you can take it to your favorite charity. Too often people want to give something away because they no longer need it but don’t know where to put it. Having a bag there, just waiting, makes it easier to donate what no longer serves you.
3. Write it down.
No matter your age, you will not remember all or even half of the things you need to every day. Writing it down frees your brain from having to remember so it can focus on problem solving instead. Writing it down is the genesis of great things to come later!
4. Don’t let junk mail into your home.
Junk mail is like junk food: it doesn’t add any value and just creates extra work. Toss it in the recycle bin before it even has a chance to land on your counter. Set up a pretty basket as an inbox for your mail to keep it contained.
5. Clean out your car while pumping gas.
Pair tasks to be more productive. There’s a 12-minute window built in that you have to be in or next to your car so use it to your advantage. Spend the time cleaning and once the gas is done, so are you!
I first met Lena, a world-renowned mindful-based psychotherapist and SuthinGirl originally from Virginia, last year during one of her Digital Detox Retreats in Atlanta. She’s a rare bird: a girl’s girl who laughs easily and is perfectly imperfect, but transcendent all the same. When she slips into her groove, you feel it. To your toes.
Lena grew up the daughter of a Buddhist Vietnamese mother and Presbyterian psychologist father, both committed to living a spiritual life characterized by compassion and altruism. “The lesson of consciously living in the present moment was a gift I received from my parents during childhood,” says Lena.
THE SCENE: It’s 9:30pm in Kuala Lumpur when Lena calls me from her hotel room. She’s coming off a big day of travel from Malaysia to India, the next exotic stop in a series of mindfulness vacations she’s leading during several weeks abroad. Wearing a plush bath robe, glass of wine in hand, she reaches me on my cell phone. It’s 8:30am in Atlanta and I’m fresh off the morning carpool run, sipping a peppermint mocha in my car.
We say our hellos. I tell her it’s raining in Atlanta. She tells me it’s 80º and sunny in Kuala Lumpur. I’ve got New Year’s resolutions jumping around in my head and dive right in, asking Lena to talk about mindfulness. As always, she’s wide open and relatable. Our conversation soon veers into a far more interesting realm: coming back into your true power by unlearning your way back to who you really are.
We are all so busy, physically and mentally. Technology is addictive and we tend to lose ourselves in mass media and our daily lives. Lena shares strategies for regaining a sense of power within yourself. To her, it’s about framing each moment with intention, enabling yourself to come back to the here-and-now so you don’t miss your life and its joyful moments.
LESSONS FROM LENA:
Start the day by aligning your mind with intention.
Before you sit up or reach for your phone, set an intention. Ask yourself, “How do I want to feel today? How do I want to feel in this moment?” Joy, surrender, power, abundance or something else? Spend 2-3 minutes on intentional breathing. Inhale “I am” up to the crown of your head and exhale your intention down to the soles of your feet or your belly. These are your grounding spots.
Weave rituals of mindfulness into your day.
Sip your morning coffee or tea and focus on the smell, the feel of the mug, the taste. Take off your shoes and spend five minutes each day with your bare feet on the earth. Breathe into the soles of your feet. Receive the energy of earth’s electromagnetic elements to balance your energy and heal anxiety and stress. End your day with a piece of chocolate or another treat, focusing on the sensory experience and feelings of self love and self care.
Use transitions as opportunities to meditate.
Walking to the car? Waiting for a website to load? Standing in line at the grocery store? Take mini breathing breaks to come back to yourself. Next time, instead of reaching for your phone, use that moment to practice your breathing.
At bedtime, lay on your back and scan the day.
Remember: with each breath we can begin again. Let go of self judgement and guilt. Practice self compassion. Guilt, fear and your inner critic are only thoughts and are not based in reality. Don’t engage with them. End the day with gratitude. Say to yourself, “I am grateful for this life, this breath, this opportunity to be a part of the heart of humanity.”