Sometimes we get to the weekend and instead of relaxing we spend it stressing about work, school, family, friends, just about anything. We want our weekends to be fun, peaceful, relaxing, but when we stress about “stuff” we find Monday has rolled around again and the worrying has wasted the weekend. Time we could’ve spent relaxing. Time we could’ve spent being fully present with our families.
What if we could just let go of the stressors, at least for a couple of days? What if we could put the heavy stuff aside for a day or two and focus on the here and now? This doesn’t mean our stress is magically wiped away, it just means we are going to focus on the present day, and that present day is a Saturday or Sunday. *Please note, this post assumes you work Monday to Friday, but if you work weekends and have the same stress on your days off, by all means, take what you need from this post and apply to your life.*
There is a wonderful, easy, and simple exercise that I have used plenty of times. It won’t take your problems away, but it will allow you to become focused in the here and now and that is what we all want for our weekends off.
BE A TREE: Use your imagination to feel stable, calm and focused.
Mindfully ground yourself with inspiration from nature. Pretend your legs are the roots of a tree, reaching your arms up to be the branches. Sway from side to side as if you are blowing in the wind. Notice your legs don’t move, keeping you grounded. Imagine being a tree when the winds of life whip up. Be flexible, yet resilient, like a tree in a storm.
At first this might seem silly. You might feel self conscious, or wonder what this simple exercise can do to help reduce your stress and bring your thoughts back into the present moment.
Grounding yourself is always a wonderful way to bring your thoughts back to the present moment. This action alone can bring about calming thoughts and help you feel reconnected with the present. When you add the tree exercise to the grounding exercise you allow your thoughts to shift to the present moment, imagining yourself swaying in the wind just as tree does.
Trees are rooted in the earth, they are grounded. They are open to the elements all day, everyday. They take whatever weather system comes at them and they remain rooted and grounded, being flexible by swaying their branches. And so the idea here is to be more like a tree, swaying, being flexible, remaining calm and grounded and not being affected by everything that life throws our way.
This exercise is calming and soothing, and you will hopefully start to appreciate your life within the moment, rather than focusing on issues at work, or school, or even within the family life. This exercise is not intended to push your troubles away, the intent is to bring your focus to the here and now, allowing yourself to be present and shift your focus from stress to calm thoughts and thinking.
Once your thoughts are calm, you then have the opportunity to plan how you are going to tackle any problems you might be facing. You can plan a time and day for when you will tackle any issues, allowing your thoughts to be calm and not solely focused on those problems. Making a plan will help you feel more in control and allow you to enjoy the time you have free throughout the weekend.
Today I am feeling very at peace with life. I have to admit, this has been a long time coming. I’m relaxed, happy, at peace with myself, and the world around me.
Meditation has played a key role in getting me to this point. I have been meditating for many years, admittedly irregularly, but this was the basis for my regular practice.
Regular readers of this blog will know I have had many struggles, so for me to be this well is a huge step.
Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated, unless you want it to be, of course. The simplest way to meditate is to get comfortable, sitting or laying down, then you close your eyes and focus on your breath, the inhale and the exhale.
What I found when I first started meditating many years ago, was that thoughts would pop into my head, distracting me. I also couldn’t focus for a huge length of time; you’re usually expected to meditate for at least five minutes. In the beginning I could barely hold my thoughts still for one or two minutes, so I decided to start with one minute and build it up.
I find that if you cannot follow a guided meditation, and let’s face it, there are times when someone talking away in the background when you’re trying to relax and be at one with yourself, that’s very distracting.
That’s why focusing on your breath is a really good way to get to grips with meditating. Some people will say they don’t do meditation because of their lack of experience and their attention span not being good enough to get in the zone.
Today, just take a moment to focus on your breath. Observe the inflow and outflow of your breath, the rise and fall of your chest. It doesn’t have to be complicated, this simple technique can be a really good starting point for a meditation practice.
Baths aren’t just for washing our bodies, they can be used for time out for ourselves. If it is safe for you to do so you could light candles, incense sticks, and play relaxing music.
Use this time to wash away things that no longer serve you, don’t just “see” these unwanted thoughts, situations, experiences, and so on, wash away from you as you wash yourself. Feel the unwanted feelings, etc, leave you.
Spend as much time as you need to immersed in the water. Imagine that the water is restoring you physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Once you feel ready, dry yourself down and then pamper yourself with moisturiser and your favourite perfume. Treating yourself to an immersive, relaxing experience such as this allows us to put our own needs first and care for ourselves.
I’ve come to understand something lately, belief is power. I always knew that, but never fully embraced what it actually meant, until recently.
I’ve started believing in me. I believe I can do whatever I put my mind to. To me that’s the true beauty of faith, believing in your own power.
That’s not to say I don’t believe in a higher power, I do. Again, it’s taken me a long time to fully realise who I feel that higher power is.
Mother Earth. Mother Nature. I see her everywhere and I marvel at her beauty. I see her ravaged body and I feel her pain. I feel her softness as I walk barefoot in my garden. I watch her circle of life every year unfold before my very eyes.
To hear my story you would think I’d never actually healed my wounds. I have been healed, maybe not wholly, maybe that’s part of the problem, or maybe this kind of wound heals akin to a broken bone; the wound knits together but there’ll always be a niggle there.
I’m reading a book at the moment that is an accompaniment to my self discovery journey and in it the author says “we have to go within and address the soundings that live inside”. Going within over the last few weeks I have realised that time and feeling safe will help me heal the massive wound. But the wounds I didn’t realise I carried inside of me, the wounds inflicted upon me by other women, well, I have absolutely no idea how to heal these wounds.
Today I’ve made lists, if you know me you know I love my lists. Lists of the people responsible for the wounds and the affliction that caused each wound. I’ve listed how I felt at the time and how I feel now. It’s helped somewhat because I’ve identified hurt I hadn’t realised I was carrying around with me.
My lists and the book have helped me to realise that I’ve skirted around each wound that these women have caused me, making excuses for their behaviour, not acknowledging that they have well and truly screwed me over.
Going inside has allowed me to face these wounds, and yeah, they’re pretty scary to deal with – it’s all a huge mess that really could do with cleaning up – it’s allowed me to see that I am not the braveheart people call me. A braveheart would’ve faced these wounds and dealt with the messy business of the pain and the suffering and the raw emotions that are part and parcel of self discovery.
Delving deep into my inner core is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. It’s a journey I’m thoroughly enjoying.