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The art of zen

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PHOTO: ThriveGlobal

Blink, and we’ve almost through the first part of the year. I don’t know about you but for the last few weeks, I’ve been having similar conversations with people – “Would you believe it’s almost June?” or “I can’t believe it’s middle of May…” or “The year’s going so fast”

Stuck in between post-pandemic stupor and the rush to return to whatever the ‘new normal’ may be I sometimes feel myself rushing ahead, and need to remind myself to calm down and find my zen place. If like me you are struggling to rebalance, here are a few tips for your daily dose of calm.

Take a deep breath
Being calm is the ability to reflect before you react. Take three breaths or slowly count to ten in your head to ground yourself and calm your mind before you engage with whatever drama life has thrown at you. Coming from a place of peace is likely to get you a more pleasant outcome.

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Find a space for peace
Designate an area of your home or office as your peaceful place and keep it as tidy as you can. When the world gets a bit too much or your day gets a bit busy, take yourself to your peaceful place to wind down, reflect and restore your calm.

Bless your mess
Household chores can be boring and time-consuming, but they can also be the perfect way to practise mindfulness. Take it one step and one room at a time and focus on the work at hand to focus your mind. Washing the dishes or dusting the furniture? As they are quite repetitive you can try to focus your mind on the act of cleaning. Anytime your mind wanders or thoughts start speeding, focus your attention back to your chore.

Practise mindfulness
I am fairly new to do this, but I can vouchsafe for the benefits of mindfulness in slowing down a speeding mind. I tend to practise meditation just before bedtime to calm my racing mind, but you can do it anytime, anywhere. In a quiet place, sit comfortably, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Every time your mind wanders, focus on your breathing. It helps to count your breaths in and out.

Create downtime
It is easy to forget about giving your mind and body a rest when we’re conditioned to live at hundred miles per hour. Schedule some time for activities that don’t require you to be on the go – like focusing on the food you eat at lunch without multitasking or setting aside an hour to read before bed.

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Don’t underestimate how long things take
We’ve all made this mistake. We cram our diaries with several things to do during the day and often forget how long some of them take until we end up trying to feel catch up due to the domino effect of one thing getting delayed playing havoc with the rest of our day. Make sure you plan your day carefully to create a distinct buffer between each activity.

Drop the obligations
There is nothing worse that having to do things you are obligated to do. Of course we all have to do things at work or in our personal lives that are less pleasant than others but there are also tasks we feel we can’t quite turn down. If you have a choice to opt out of tasks you do out of a sense of obligation, it is time to consider stepping away and reclaim that time for things you actually enjoy.

Give yourself the day off
Sometimes our bodies and minds need longer than an hour snatched here and there. Once a month, try to take a day off everything that demands your attention and keep your schedule simple to allow yourself time to reboot.

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Art of zen
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