After being sick and taking care of sick people the past few days I will say that I started to go a little batty. Friday night I was so sick that I was waking up every two to three hours because my throat was hurting so badly. It was cry worthy but I was too tired of being sick to have any energy to cry. So I kept gargling with warm salt water all night and watching episodes of parenthood on my computer in bed when I couldn't sleep.
I have not been feeling peaceful. But I have been trying to take small steps every day to get more centered and as I am feeling better I am realizing that the craziness I was feeling was very much to do with having a fever, being stuck in the house and in bed most of the days and just feeling crummy. No amount of lemon-lime soda or anything else is going to make that better sometimes. But it got me thinking a lot about things one can do to regain a measure of peace during difficult times, whether it be trouble with health, family, relationships, work, finances or what may come.
I decided I would create a quick list of 10 things we can do when we need to regain our peace. It seems so often when we are in that not so beautiful place in our lives, it's hard to find something to grab onto, feeling adrift and frustrated. But a quick list means that there are likely at least one or two things that will call our to a person no matter what their troubles. So without further adieu here is my list of 10 easy thing you can do to help regain your peace.
1. Pray: Best option of all to be sure. I honestly had a prayer in the past week where I just said, "God, I can't talk about it, but you know. I just can't go into it, I don't have the energy or the words. But I know you know. I need to know you know and I need your help to give me the strength to continue and to bless the circumstances." Sometimes that is all we can do. But whatever we can do in prayer, it helps. If there is one things I firmly believe, it is that while God can't change our circumstances every time, He will bless us with His peace EVERY time if we just turn to Him and ask. Some days all we need is the opportunity to say thank you for what we do have that reminds us of how blessed we are and picks us up and lifts us to a higher plane.
2. Read something inspiring. Sometimes I even carry an inspiring book in my purse -- now I just carry my phone, but in the olden days, haha... I read self-help books, scripture, inspiring quotes, beautiful personal experiences shared in blog posts -- there is inspiration everywhere if you look for it. Drink it in.
3. Watch something inspiring. There are so many amazing talks and interviews online now. From Ted talks to Super Soul Sunday to online religious services there is so much available. Some days reading just requires too much of us and we really need to just get away. Some days watching something inspiring trumps reading. I find when I am very tired or stressed, watching something works better for me than reading.
4. Phone a friend. Last week I had a wonderful hour-long phone chat with a dear friend. We laugh that every time we talk it's like free therapy for both of us. A trusted, loyal friend can often say just the right thing or hear us in just the right way to soothe our souls and make everything feel doable again.
5. Get out into nature, take a walk, get some exercise. Last Saturday I dragged us to the beach to watch the sunset for an hour. It was a gorgeous sunset, that's it above. I love that sunset communion time when everyone on the beach has their attention focused in the direction of the sun. It's fun to look around and watch other people as they experience the sunset. Some take a loved one's hand, some stand straight and breath deeply, it almost feels like church in those few beautiful moments. My heart rate slows, my mind clears, my skin feels the cool sand as I curl my sweater around my shoulders as temperatures drop. Some days it's a walk around the blog, a swing in a swing, a view from a roof top. Mother nature is truly a mother to our souls and just was a loving mother would comfort an unglued child, Mother Nature knows how to reach our souls and calm us.
6) Create something. Making something is a great way to unite our body and soul in joint action. It can be something as simple as a paper chain or as complex as a painting or sewing or quilting project that will take many months. You might make a vision board, my life chart or a collage of things that make you happy. Taking a few moments to create puts us in the present moment and gives us takeaway results.
7) Make a list of what you CAN do. One day when I was sick last week I just made a list of what I could do that day, what was reasonable. My list included reading, writing, cleaning the kitchen and running a couple of small, simple errands. I did not get everything done, and even though I felt crummy all day I was still able to cross a few things off. That gave me a nice sense of accomplishment that day and made me feel like the day wasn't a total loss. Some days doing just three or four little things in a few minutes time may be all we can do, but accomplishment brings calm, feelings of worth and accomplishment and can carry us through until we are able to do more.
8) Pamper Yourself. One challenging days this may mean just taking or making the time to take a shower and brush your teeth. One day while I was sick I took a chunk of the afternoon just to shower and blow-dry my hair. I didn't rush and rested at times, but it felt so good be freshly scrubbed. Another day I soaked my feet in Epsom Salt and gave myself a pedicure. I was exhausted by the end and it wasn't the prettiest job I'd ever done, but it made me feel a little prettier. Some days pampering yourself may mean splurging at a spa. Do whatever you can, but no act is too small that you won't appreciate it.
9) Take a nap. Sometimes we lose our balance because we are just plain tired. A nice nap can turn the whole thing around some days. A nice velvet eye mask, some peaceful music and a cozy spot may be just the ticket for a few minutes of quality, recuperative rest.
10) Do a guided relaxation meditation. You can find thousands of these on YouTube and many downloadable audio versions on iTunes. I used these for myself and The Bug when we were sick and had a very difficult time resting last week. It worked for both of us and helped us at least relax more and we did both get a few minutes of extra rest. These can also be a great way to settle you down so you can sleep before bedtime. Sometimes having a voice directing you to what you need to do and where you need to go relieves us of our need to be in charge and allows us to just follow the path to a peaceful place.
I have to add this in as well. I found it just as I had finished writing this post. This is Mariel Hemingway and partner Bobby Williams on OWN's Super Soul Sunday talking about the 6 doctors who are available to us anywhere, anytime. Such simple genius. Great reminders!
Again there is no rocket science here but I know when I'm feeling ruffled it's hard for me to start looking for ways to get out from under it. Hope this short list will help. I will probably be turning to it more than anyone. It's good to have reminders.