One of my intentions for 2016 is to bring more zen into my life. I think of zen as calm and peaceful. I know that often I stress over things that I can’t control and I can’t change. Enough of that, and I end up sick.
You can not control everything, but you can control how you react to it.
That is where I’m bringing in more zen. Instead of freaking out and stressing over it, I have new plans.
Bringing More Zen Into Your Life
Here are the different areas of my life I’m working on bringing more zen into along with a few ideas. It doesn’t have to be complicated. As a matter of fact, I feel like the simpler, the better. If bringing zen causes stress, it kind of defeats the purpose!
1. My Surroundings. I’m taking a close look at my house and how it’s organized and what places stress me out. One of the big stressors for me is the kitchen island. It’s always filled with papers and everyone’s stuff that they drop when they walk in the door (and never put away.) Here are a few things I did:
- Create a filing system for the papers that come in daily.
- Attach the mail every day.
- Add photos and things that make me happy.
- Be sure the area is cleared off every night before I go to bed so I wake up to a clean counter.
2. My Work. Work is probably the one area where I often do not have control over the stress. Even though I run my own business, I still have clients who do things that I can not predict or control. For me, anything unknown, whether good or bad can be a stressor. Here is how I’m dealing with the work stress:
- Creating a plan for the year, then focusing on each 3 month period.
- Finishing work at 6pm each evening and trying not to think about work after that.
- Create a plan for the next day with the top three tasks I want to complete the next day. That way I know exactly what I need to do when I sit down at my desk the next morning.
- Get away from my desk for lunch (preferably outside.)
- Take at least a 5 minute break to walk around every hour. That may mean walking while on a conference call.
3. My Family. Families can be all sorts of stresses. There are 6 of us and we all have our own schedules, likes, dislikes, personalities and somehow we have to all live together in harmony. Easier said than done. I have 1 adult child and 3 children under 18. I love them all very much, but they come with a lot of unexpected stresses. I can’t control them, but here are some things I’m doing to help my reaction to the stress.
- Not reacting immediately. I’m taking a few minutes (or sometimes hours) to react to the kids situations. That helps me process the problem and calm down.
- Telling my family what I expect of them. I can’t expect them to read my mind. They need to know what the expectations are if they have any chance of meeting them. This is as simple as saying, “please have the dishes put away before I get home tonight.”
- Picking my battles. Just because there are shoes in the hallway, it really isn’t the end of the world. My kids are busy too. Let some things slide.
- Telling them all I love them.
4. Myself. I probably should have put this one first because it all begins with me. Changing the way you react to something isn’t easy. But I’m trying to make a good effort to do it. Here is some of the things I’m doing.
- Reading every night before I go to bed. I had put reading to the side for many years and I miss it. Now I make an effort to read every day.
- Taking time every week for myself. To just sit and be alone and think about what is stressing me and where I am in my life right now. Not trying to solve everything, just be ok with where things are.
- Adding aromas to my house that make me happy.
- Getting rid of anything that doesn’t make me happy. No need to hang on to stuff just because.
5. My Marriage. My relationship with my husband is very important to me. Our kids will not be home forever and I chose this man to spend the rest of my life with. I have no plans to change that. Marriage does take work and compromise. Here are a few ways to bring zen into my marriage.
- Take time every week to be alone and talk.
- Remember to laugh. Sometimes a good laugh can make a difficult situation tolerable.
- Do something nice for him often.
- Pick my battles (yes, same as my kids.)
- Talk about the things that stress me BEFORE it gets to me.
These are the main areas of my life that I’m working on bringing more zen. Nothing complicated, just small things to change the way I react to stress.
What are you doing to bring more zen into your life? Share your ideas with me in the comments below. I’m always looking for more ideas.
Disclosure: This post is inspired by the bonsai plant gift sent by ProFlowers. It was a reminder to bring more zen into my life. I was inspired to share these tips in hopes that you will also be inspired to bring more zen into your life.