I want you to stop and consider that thing you keep doing. That thing that gets in the way of your progress and goals. Maybe you're trying to feel more balanced at home, but are still pulling out your phone to get on Tik Tok instead of making eye contact with your kids. Maybe you keep diving into that candy bucket instead of decompressing with a walk after work. Perhaps you keep meaning to go to bed at a good hour but just let the streaming app load the next episode.
Hey, my dear sweet human, it's okay. First I just want to tell you that the fact that you see that and want to change is huge. It is the first step. So, you're here now, trying to figure out a way to get out of some of these habits that don't serve you so that you can find a healthier rhythm.
When I'm working with women on habit change, one thing I encourage is to find a way to create a buffer from your desire and your follow-through. That buffer serves as a small pause to allow you to do something else that serves you better while teaching your brain that self care can totally take the edge off, center you, comfort you, and give you peace. I kid you not, our enemy, the devil, wants you to continue habits that corrode your health, distance you from your family, and leave you feeling more frazzled. It's a nasty cycle but one you can break free from with these five minute buffers:
1. Get Physical
When we move, our body and brain send out chemicals that make us feel good and relieve stress. Sometimes the simple action of doing a five minute walk, workout, or stretching regime can re-energize us and help us approach whatever was weighing us down from a different perspective.
I love journaling. It's private and incredibly insightful when it comes to figuring things out. Often I’ll be anxious about something and I’ll pull out my handy notebook. Even as I’m writing down my thoughts I start to see solutions or a different point of view that is both healing and helpful. Three common ways that people journal are
Tons and I mean TONS of studying have proven over and over that when people are stroking and cuddling pets both their heart rate and blood pressure lower. It is incredible. What a beautiful gift God gave us! So, set a timer and enjoy your furry friend for a few minutes. They’ll love it, too.
4. Listen to Your jams
Music just does something to our soul. Seriously. It lifts us and moves us and takes us somewhere. So turn it up and let yourself be in your favorite song for a few moments. And, if you are feeling spunky get groovy and do some singing and dancing. I have songs for every mood and especially feel it helpful when my mood is sad or angry to turn on something where the lyrics and melody express that turmoil with me for a few minutes. By the way, it is totally worth it to take the time to create playlists for certain situations and emotions. That way you know right where to go when you need a melody that soothes your soul.
Yes. Breathe in. Breath out. Meditation doesn't have to be fancy and require a special degree. Really, it is giving yourself the space to epically simply live for a few minutes. I think throughout our day, things start to pile up: worries, problems, situations, memories and in order to sort it out it helps to clean off the table and start over. Sleep does this for us, but when our appointment with the bed is still a few hours away, five minutes with soothing sounds while we concentrate on our breathing is worth it.
6. Get Outside
Once again, the studies are out there proving that sunshine does A LOT to boost mood and revive our attitudes. You could walk or even just sit down on your front porch. I know for me, I spend a lot of time indoors as a teacher so getting outside feels like a much-needed change of pace for me. Also, the sounds and smells and sensations can be great to ground yourself in, bringing you away from your worries and back into the present moment.
7. Be Artsy
Many people have an artistic streak that they do not indulge nearly enough. I know five minutes may not seem like enough, but if you are strategic you can make five minutes of art totally work for you. It helps to know what kind of art you like: photography, coloring, sculpting, crafting, knitting, scrapbooking, drawing, painting…you get the idea. Then, make an easy to grab bin with the materials in it. That way when you need to decompress you just have to grab that bin off a shelf and take it to the area where you have some quiet space. For me, I love my bullet journal and writing scripture cards. All the materials I need for both activities are in a bin on my bookshelf. I can set myself up in seconds.
8. Chat with a friend/Pray with God
Just like journaling, often we just need to get it out. We might have a job that is full of worries or a situation that keeps coming up that irks you. We all need a safe person to speak to. Someone that holds space for us, is a good listener, and responds with love and empathy. You will know who that person is if you vent to them and afterwards feel calmer and maybe even with direction for what you want to do next. God is always there to listen and He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit, scripture, and the words of Godly Christians.
Reading is refreshing and can give us a break from the cares of our mind. You might dig into the pages of a non-fiction book to find insight and encouragement. Or, you might turn to fiction for a smile, a reason to release emotions through a good cry, and some inspiration in your day-to-day life.
10. Take care of physical needs
Your body is often aching for some TLC. I want to encourage you to try these activities and really spend those minutes connecting with your body and all the sensations that come with caring for your physical needs.
Okay, my dear, do you have something you could add to this list? Send me a message or tag me in your next social media post. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram with the handle Armendariz.Lora.
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.