Adding more Zen into your day

This post is sponsored by Fitfluential on behalf of Kohl’s. In Kohl’s #MakeYourMove campaign, they’re providing support and resources to achieve fitness and nutrition goals, improve sleep quality and reduce stress. I’m excited to be a part of it, and always love to see companies encouraging others to create happier and healthier lives. 

I’ve always been a little bit of a high stress person, especially since I’ve dealt with anxiety and often feel like I’m two steps ahead in the future. I’ve found that some stress is beneficial to me; it motivates me to work hard. Too much stress, however, can make me feel lethargic and perpetuates this stress cycle (feeling stressed out, feeling bad that I’m stressed, which makes me MORE stressed out, lather, rinse, repeat). A little bit of stress can be a good thing, and the body can thrive on a healthy amount of stress. Stress can encourage productivity, and can even make us more resilient over time. While some stress can potentially boost immunity and brainpower, too much stress can be debilitating and cause adverse health effects. 

Some big game-changers for me:

-Realizing what was worth my stress, and adjusting accordingly.

-Adding little bits of Zen time, me time, “selfish” time throughout the day.

For the first one, I realized that there was no point about worrying about hypothetical situations in the future. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I bring my focus to the present moment and what’s important RIGHT NOW. Usually, it helps me zone into my priorities and I instantly feel more calm. 

I realized how important it is to add small, intentional and enjoyable moments throughout the day. At first, I felt like it was selfish. I’d crawl into bed for a short rest and instantly feel guilty about my looming to-do list. Then, I realized how much more centered I felt, and also how much this helped with the first game changer above. It was so much easier for me to remain present if I’d had some downtime, at some point, during the day.

Here are some of my favorite ways to add some bliss during the daily to-dos and chores:

1) Meditate. Find a quiet spot and a comfortable position, either seated or on your back. Take a couple of minutes to let your thoughts wander. After you’ve had a few minutes, start to really focus on your breath. I like to pick a mantra for the inhales and exhales. Pick two words that you know will help relax you, and think of one during the inhale, and one during the exhale. My favorite combo: peace (inhale), calm (exhale).

Buddha 1 of 1 3

2) Dance. When I’ve been seated at the computer for a while, I’ll sometimes get up and stretch or do a Zumba song. It instantly makes me happy and feels like a nice break. Thankfully, we dance often in our house— I have the best tiny dance partner. 🙂

Dancing 1 of 1

3) Take a short rest. This is my very favorite, as I love naps more than anything. If Liv is napping, I’ll get some work done, and sometimes take a short snooze. It makes a positive impact on my energy levels for the rest of the night, especially if I’m teaching an evening class. 

4) Write down all of your to-dos and everything that’s on your mind. Once it’s written down, I tend not to worry about things so much. Instead of running through the list in my brain, it’s on paper, ready to check off. 

5) Take a walk. Take 15 minutes for a stroll around the neighborhood. Even better: leave your phone in your pocket and just enjoy the fresh air. 

Sedona 1 of 1

6) Get outside with a book. Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, and is something that makes me happy. Since it’s something I like to make time for, I’ll try to go to bed 20 minutes earlier so I can read a bit before bed. 

7) Call a friend or my mom. Texting is convenient, but there’s something so wonderful about hearing someone’s voice. 

8) Get in some cardio or a short yoga flow. Even if it’s just 10 minutes, the endorphins will kick in, and I’ll often feel much more relaxed (and accomplished) after a short workout. 

Yoga pose 1 of 1

Here is a 7-minute workout I designed as part of the MakeYourMove campaign. It combines strength and cardio, and is perfect for a little break during the day:

9) Paint my nails. This sounds like a weird one, but it forces me to do NOTHING for about 10-15 minutes. It’s kind of meditating to paint my nails, and while they dry, I read my Kindle or watch a little TV.

What’s your favorite way to add in some Zen to your day? Any meditation tips? Favorite guilty pleasure? 🙂
xoxo

Gina


 

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.

 

Thank you so much for your continued support of the blog and the companies who help support our family. Share how you #MakeYourMove by joining in the hashtag! xo

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Comments

  1. I also love to read outside and take the time to bring reading for pleasure back in my life after having my son. I like painting my own nails as well to feel put together and it does force you to sit ha. 🙂

  2. Great tips. not seeing the 7 minute routine though.

  3. I just started teaching a coworker how to meditate. We meet in one of the empty classrooms once a week in the morning and I love that I can figure out what she needs and adjust accordingly. 🙂

  4. These are all great! I do feel like painting my nails FORCES me to slow down and do nothing which in turn relaxes me!

    I enjoy reading and cardio to recharge and distress…I always feel less stressed after a sweat session! It is my number 1 go to for a stress reliever! ;-0)

  5. Great tips! I’m really working on trying to meditate more!

  6. Good tips! I have been trying to meditate on a regular basis. I also love walks for making me feel more relaxed.

  7. Painting my nails is definitely on my list too. I think there’s something about physically taking care of ourselves. It sounds cheesy but after long runs or hard workouts I have a bottle of lotion that I splurged on and I always used it. I’ve found that when I use it I slow down and enjoy it almost like a little ritual. I take a moment to think about how proud I am of my body and the way it carries me through runs.

  8. Nail painting to relax is something I’ve done for YEARS. Seriously, when stressed a fresh coat of polish can work wonders. Awesome post and reminders about the importance of self-care.

  9. I’ve also been painting my nails as a way to de-stress. Black has been my color of choice. Feeling bad these days.

  10. Great post! It is so easy to get anxious and stressed about things we can’t even control!

  11. Painting my nails!

  12. Love all your tips! I am not much of a dancer, but have been trying to dance more and have noticed it makes me feel much more happy and free! Love the picture of you and Liv dancing in the water!

  13. Rachel C says:

    A work friend and I often take “sunshine” walks in the afternoons to step away from work and relax/decompress from a few minutes. It’s usually just a 10-15 loop around the downtown area, but it’s amazing what that little bit of fresh air and time away can do, especially when we walk by the Coffee & Chocolate Shop.

  14. Great tips! I needed to read these after a crazy day with my kiddos. Peace and calm I am going to use for meditation. Oh how I miss nap time and the chance to get a quick snooze in. Dancing makes everyone happy around here and fresh air.

  15. 10 minutes of yoga is my favorite way to reset and calm myself. I would love to get in the habit of doing that everyday.

  16. I’ve been trying to make a habit of meditation twice a day this year.
    Ten minutes of quiet before bed makes for a peaceful sleep too.
    I use online guided meditations from here: http://www.artofliving.org/in-en/meditation/Online-Guided-Meditation and they’re amazing! There are tons more on youtube.
    So I just pick one each night, depending on how much time I have and how much I’m ‘feeling’ it and go from there.
    Making a home-made face pack or pampering myself in any way also soothes me.

  17. I LOVE YOU and this.
    THIS is so so so how I strive to live, too.

    xo

  18. All wonderful tips! I’m incorporating more and more of these things into my daily routine. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt.

  19. I definitely struggle with the same things. The to do list helps me out immensely otherwise I am just trying to remember everything that I have to do and it’s all noise in my brain. I try and focus on today and the right now instead of worrying about “what if’s” and things that haven’t even happened yet.

  20. Thanks for sharing this! It’s so easy to feel guilty when you carve out time for yourself, but it’s so necessary! I could never meditate, but painting nails kills two birds with one stone! “Sorry, I can’t. My nails are wet.” 🙂

  21. These are great tips and I think I should definitely start breaking out into a zumba dance at work every couple hours. That would seriously help tremendously! My co-workers might give me some strange looks…but hey, they already think I’m nuts.

  22. Lauren W. says:

    I loved this so, so much. From the beginning paragraph, it really spoke to me. Thanks for the reminder on all the little ways to get a little more breath and calm in the day.

  23. I ALWAYS write to do lists! It actually helps to release it from the mind. My favorite way to get out of my head though is doing anything outside. 🙂

  24. Jessie R says:

    I too am a high stress person, but when I started to realize how much of an impact it has on my mental and physical well-being, I had to consciously make an effort to reduce the amount of stress I bring into my life. If it’s something out of my control, or something that doesn’t really matter, I’m trying very hard to just let it go (let it go… sing the song!) . I notice such a difference in my day when I take time to do 10+ minutes of yoga before work, hopefully I can make it a habit, it makes me such a better person to be around. Walks are also great, we have a nice, tree lined trail outside my work (and sunny hallways for cold/rainy weather). Sunshine after hours spent under artificial light just warms my soul 🙂 !

  25. I’m definitely big on meditation. Nothing calms me down like chanting sanskrit for a half an hour! On the days where I can’t devote that much time to meditating, I like to practice the tools in Gabby Bernstein’s book Miracles Now. One of my favorites is saying, “I could see peace instead of this.” It reminds me that I have the power to choose to infuse peace into my life and I could afford to stress a little less. I also like taking a few deep breaths, smelling an essential oil, making myself a cup of chai with stevia and soy milk, or taking an epsom salt bath. Also, and I’m really sorry if this is TMI/inappropriate but a vibrator can work wonders for stress 🙂 Just sayin’

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