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.