My Zen Ten Challenge

I’m sitting here on Saturday afternoon, after having made a turmeric latte for myself on this very fall-like day, doing what I do most weekends – reading, writing, researching and daydreaming.

Today, on the weekend, when the world around me is quiet, there is no work to go to, and no appointments to keep, no one asking for anything from me, and I have control over my environment (well, minus the barking from the world’s most vocal puppy). I feel very at ease, calm, happy, peaceful even, and I wondered, how can I bring more of this feeling, this state of being, into my days during the work week?

For me, this is a real and serious question, which I need to figure out in order to be at my best, mentally, emotionally and physically. I feel very different on the weekends when I can control my schedule, versus during the week, when sometimes it feels like my schedule controls me.

Let me give you a run down of a typical day, so you have a feel for that schedule:
3:30 Wake up, wash face, meditate, journal
4:00 Workout
5:00 Shower, make lunch, get dressed
6:00 Head out the door to commute to work
7:00 Work
4:00 Commute home
5:30 Make it home and make dinner, sit down to eat
7:00 An hour to chill, read, etc.
8:00 Get ready for bed
9:00 Usually when I fall asleep

There’s not much time in there for any additional things, and when I do try new yoga classes in the evenings, or I meet a friend for dinner after work, I’m exhausted the next day. Usually the one thing that will slide off the table of priorities above is sleep. I am lucky if I were to get seven hours of sleep, but it is usually more like six. I have no doubt that this contributes to my feelings of stress, but I can’t seem to squeeze everything into my schedule otherwise.

So, the big question is, what can I do with this schedule in order to be more calm? In order to feel more in control? In order to feel better?

By putting some of these things down in writing, I’m making myself accountable to this challenge. Here are my zen ten:

1. Take a five minute break every hour to breathe deeply and reset
2. Bring an essential oil diffuser to work for my office to promote calm
3. Put items that are beautiful nearby – flowers, paintings, decor
4. Eat nourishing food to fuel you for the day – lots of veggies
5. Make time in the evening for reading, not tv, reading – to inspire and relax
6. In the office, after morning emails, set a task list of priorities to keep yourself organized and focused
7. Find new amazing podcasts to learn from on the commute
8. Try to get outside for at least a few minutes during the day (because there is no natural light in my office)
9. Get some pictures of my puppies framed and put in my office for smiles
10. Say no to any additional commitments that do not make me happy

Maybe part of the answer is fiercely protecting this weekend space, all to myself, where I feel calm and at peace. Keeping this as a sacred time for me to take care of me. To recuperate from the week, and do all the things I couldn’t do during the week (re: yoga classes or seeing a friend), yet not too much so as to take away from my rest and quiet.

It is always about balance, isn’t it?
I hope that these small changes will make a big impact.
My health and happiness depends on it.

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