5 Practical Ways to Enter 2014 Stress-Free


Year’s end.

Now.

Anticipation.

A couple nights ago I finally decided to let my 1 year old dog Sputnik roam the house at night.

The first night I left him like this:

Sputnik

The following morning I woke up to this:

Self help

He really did grasp the idea of the book: “Now is the Time.”

Certainly the December month has the same edge the last moment before any event does:

Something is about to happen.  Sometimes anticipation is good.

Sometimes, year-end anticipation just adds a layer of worry on top of whatever else was happening before hourglass hour.

Why?

Worry is the ultimate waste: Pointless, fruitless, stressful and time consuming.  Worrying about time is doubly ridiculous.

Worry complicates the simplicity of choosing differently. We can always choose, our options just aren’t always clear.  Yes, we will always make mistakes.  As we develop and grow and change so will our failures.  

But we don’t have to stress out about any of it.  

Being stressed out can feel like being swept up in a tornado.  Everything is moving, out of control, and just beyond reach.  That’s the worst way to live, much less make purposeful choices.

Instead of slip-sliding frantically into a haze of New Year, here are five steps to help you pause and reset so you move forward happily, intentionally, purposefully.

1. STOP.  Choose to stop whatever you’re doing.  Take three or four deep breaths.   Remind yourself that you and only you, control your life, feelings, choices, desires.

If that’s hard for you, consider this:  If you don’t slow down when needed to make sure you’re headed in the right direction, you will get stopped by a life speed bump.  Those are ugly.  They usually involve things falling apart on you, so you have no choice but to look up and figure out how to salvage health/ relationships/ business/ etc.

So.

Now that you’ve stopped, open your calendar and look at the next few weeks.  Delete or cancel everything you can by simply asking whether it’s on the calendar for you, or for someone else.  Turn off your email syncing and other notifications to your smart phone.

Reflect for a couple of days, on how it feels to have no commitments but those you’re excited about.  People will live.  You will not if you don’t take responsibility for yourself, your life, your joy.

2.  START.  Begin to do those things you enjoy even if no one else does, for you and you alone.  Maybe it’s singing badly at the top of your lungs, or listening to books on tape, or staring at grass, or talking to neighbors. Do those things even for a few minutes as often as you can.

In the backlash of the competitive, selfish, it’s all about me era, too many of us have forgotten selflessness still begins with SELF.  Suicide by charity is still suicide.  No one else can or will take care of you like you can or will.  And doing so, models for those we love both how important it is for them to do the same for themselves, and us.  Win-win-win-win.

You deserve a little more.

You deserve the best.

You deserve fun.

You deserve happiness.

You deserve love.

You are worth it.

So choose it, by giving that to yourself first and watch how the rest of the world lines up.

3.  DIG.  Be willing to look within, and unearth things in yourself that need to be uprooted so they stop choking off other areas.  For example, the perfectionist streak that makes your projects great (while your colleagues groan) may have a root in performance anxiety… In thinking you’re not good enough.  Exhaustion after socializing may be your body’s way of telling you certain relationships have outlived their usefulness.

The end of the year can be a very joyous, reflective time which can mean emotions (good or bad) run high. Pay attention to what you feel strongly about during this time.  Chances are it has nothing to do with a 2013 Christmas or New Year’s Eve around the corner.

It’s probably about your 19_ _ recital your parents didn’t show up for, or some other childhood-rooted hurt.  All that means is there’s a habit of dealing with things a certain way.

Choose to free yourself from the old, bad habits of yesteryear so you bring your best you forward, by uncovering your purpose.  Get help from people who seem to do this well, or have helped others with it.

We’re not robots programmed by our past.  But if we refuse to reset, and renew our thinking we’ll operate that way.

4. PLANT.  The great thing about fresh soil is planting in it!  Where you get rid of bad habits, unfulfilling relationships, or discover new things about yourself, you’ve created space for new traditions, fresh partnerships, for deeper roots of purpose to grow.

Sow seeds of physical, mental and spiritual health by taking care of yourself with joy!

Begin peaceful bedtime rituals to ensure full rest, and purposeful waking steps to activate yourself.  Improve discipline by fasting.  Explore new and exciting ways to fill in your life on purpose with the things you love in the space you’ve created… Even if for a minute, all you want to plant is your butt in a seat for some relaxation.  Enjoy.

5. WATER.  Refresh, rejuvenate, replenish, renew, restore, relax by pouring into your spirit every day first thing when you wake, last thing when you rest and as needed between.  We aren’t made to struggle through life on our own.  Sadly, a lot of folks have given spirituality a bad name by doing outright foul things and claiming they were spirit-led.  It’s up to you to find what you believe. You can quiet your mind by repeating something true, like “I am loved” so your thoughts can stop, and mind rest.  Read scripture.  Pray honestly.  Don’t show off, or religiously babble on in prayer.  

Expect great things.

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