Learn about the important role stillness and relaxation play in being inspired, creative and come up with great ideas and solutions.
Even though I have been working on weekends for the last 3 years and therefore should be used to Sunday being a regular work day, I can still sense a particular collective vibe on this weekday. On Sundays, there’s just a collective laziness in the air, a taste of sleeping in, breakfast in bed, and slowing down. Which usually makes me feel rather tired and unmotivated at the end of the weekend – even if I didn’t go out the night before and got plenty of sleep…
When I still went to school and lived in Germany, I would get a serious case of the Sunday Blues every week. It was like an unseen pressure, a dark heaviness weighing down the poor souls of students and workers who had to go back to routine the next day. Every Sunday evening I would grief the end of the free weekend, and resist the beginning of a new week at work or school. Which is one of the reasons I love my current Thursday through Monday work schedule: Mondays are my Fridays, so when Sunday rolls around, I’m actually getting real close to my days off (Tuesdays and Wednesdays)…which makes Sunday nights a lot easier to handle!
So how do you manage that Sunday blues? Or any evenings before a big event, pressing task or important test?
Here are a few ideas to help you find calm, clarity and relaxation and get some good rest before a big day:
Have you ever had a case of the Sunday Blues? What are your best techniques to beat it? Please share your advice in the comments 🙂
Much love and happy Sunday!
I once read a story about a white researcher hurrying through the African planes to his research destination, pushing his native carriers to walk as fast as humanly possible – until at some point, they simply stopped and refused to move on. When asked why they wouldn’t walk any further they replied: “We’ve been traveling so fast, we need to wait for our souls to catch up before we can move on.”
This story instantly left a big impression on me, and I think about it often. Like this week:
On Monday my husband and me made our way to the airport to fly all the way to Germany to visit my family for Christmas. Even though the 10-hour flight and following 2-hour train ride went smoothly, I felt pretty spacey during the fist 24 hours. Of course there’s the physical exhaustion from the long travel, the time difference and the lack of sleep – but I also felt like I hadn’t really arrived yet, like part of me was still in California. I felt very unsettled, almost nervous, and like a foreigner in my own home country.
My soul obviously still had to catch up…
After 13 hours of sleep, a decent breakfast and a walk outside in the cold winter air I started feeling better. I’m feeling more grounded again, and like all my parts have come back together and into alignment. I feel like I can focus on the present moment again. I’m really here now.
So often we rush through life, not taking the time to process the past and really arrive in the present. Mentally we’re often already at the next task when we haven’t even finished what we’re working on in the moment. The older I get, the more I feel like the whole story of multitasking is more harmful than beneficial: We can’t really do two or more things at the same time; rather, our point of focus goes back and forth in millisecond intervals. Which means, we’re never really focused on anything. This whole process costs us a lot of energy and can cause us to lose touch with the present, become more stressed out and less productive.
If instead we can bring our full attention to one thing at a time and properly complete our tasks, we get better results, feel more fulfilled, more content, and less anxious. At least, that’s the case for me!
Of course it’s not always possible to complete every task in one sitting. Often we have to split up projects into multiple smaller steps, or something comes up unexpectedly that requires our immediate attention. But even then, it’s simple enough to mentally close one chapter, take a deep breath and make space for the next task.
Another great tip is to take a moment to get centered when you’re moving or driving from one destination to the next. When I park my car at work in the morning, I like to sit in the car for a couple minutes before I go in. Perhaps I’ll eat a protein bar, check the weather or read a short inspiring article. That way, I give myself a couple minutes to fully arrive at the new place so I can be fully present at work. It only takes me a couple minutes to get centered after a 20-minute commute – after traveling 8000 miles over 18 hours it takes a little bit longer to fully arrive 😉
We often think we don’t have time to take mini breaks throughout our days, but really, those little moments of tuning in can make us so much happier, so much more creative, stress resistant and productive.
My mum’s favorite analogy comes from a poem by the German writer James Krüss: He talks about a man sweeping the streets, saying: When you look at the whole long street ahead of you when you first start your day’s work, it seems like an impossibly large task that’ll take you forever to complete. But when you take it one broom sweep at a time, you’ll soon look back and realize that it wasn’t so bad 🙂
Take is easy this holiday season, and don’t forget to savor the moment! 😉
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of divine timing. If there’s one thing we can’t control in our earthly existence, it’s time! And yet, we try so hard to do just that…
Take for instance the results that we wish to see as soon as possible. If we had our way, we’d get what we want in an instant! But most things take time: It took me 3 months to get to 30 Likes on my Facebook page, and just now do I slowly see some progress. I thought that by now I’d have an online course released, or a membership site, or an ebook…some kind of sellable product. But, I’m not quite there yet. I also want to be done with the process of selling my car – but manifesting the ideal buyer takes time, too!
There’s a saying that everything will take three times as long to accomplish as you thought it would. Well, that’s almost an understatement! 😀 And while some people work well under pressure, I don’t. I consciously need to let go of all my expectations to get certain things done in a certain time – because that only stresses me out, makes me feel like I didn’t do enough, and like I will never get it done. I tend to get pretty miserable under pressure, and need to feel relaxed and centered to be my most creative and productive.
Trying to force results before they’re ‘meant’ to be completed is a huge waste of energy to me. It’s not that I’m lazy or unmotivated: I spend at least one hour a day working on my blog, my writing, and business stuff. And that has to be enough, even when tasks are piling up on my to-do list – I need to take it one step at a time, one day after the other, in order to stay sane, not burn myself out, and be able to enjoy the process.
Slow and steady wins the race! For someone like me, who’s naturally a quick thinker and a quick learner, gets enthusiastic about something quickly and tired just as fast, it’s important to slow down and get grounded, stay in the moment and take it easy on myself.
So instead of pushing myself with deadlines and unrealistic expectations, I try and focus on divine timing, the idea that everything happens exactly when it’s supposed to happen. It takes a lot of trust – trust in the Universe to take care of me, trust in my own perseverance, and trust that I’m taking the right steps every day that bring me forward little by little.
But then, even if I’m making mistakes or ‘wasting’ time on not so effective activities – that’s all part of the learning process, too! There is a reason why some things take a bit longer – and why others happen surprisingly fast.
For instance, I met my husband when I was only 20 years old, I fell in love with him after about 3 minutes (lol!), and we got engaged after one year – pretty quick, right? I would never have thought that I’d get married at just 22 years old, but it worked out perfectly. I’m grateful for having my wonderful soulmate hubby every day! 😃
Other things, and especially those that are probably not meant to be, take a lot longer: I played in bands for 10 years, dreaming of making a living playing music, without ever really getting anywhere. Sure, I played in LA a couple times and even got paid for some shows (gasp!), but I just don’t think being a professional musician is what I’m meant to do – the whole process seemed to be full of resistance.
Or, I completed my Health Coach Certification in May of this year, but after 4 months, I still didn’t have any clients – until I realized that I don’t actually want to work on the phone with people all day long, but that what I really love and feel called to do is writing. And as soon as I decided that I wanted to be a writer first and foremost, I got a bunch of new Facebook likes 😉
Divine timing is a powerful concept: Things that are meant to be happen quickly and easily. Pursuing things that are not in alignment with your highest good are met with a lot of resistance and seem to be dragging on forever. There are crazy coincidences that help you reach your goal if it’s for the highest good of all. And even though we can’t always know why some things happen (or don’t happen) a certain way or at a certain time, we can trust that God knows what he’s doing – and he probably knows better what’s best for us and everyone else than we ourselves! 😉
To me it’s incredibly comforting to not have to worry about the ‘when’ and the ‘how’ too much – as long as I take my small daily actions and keep checking in with my inner guidance every day, I know that I’m on the right path. It may sound cliche, but the journey truly IS the destination! Trade in stress and worries for trust and love, and take it one step at a time – and you can get results that surpass your wildest dreams! 😃
It’s a dark, stormy and rainy day today – one of those days where you just want to cuddle up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of tea. Alas, I had to work today, and even though the fireplace was going strong, it didn’t quite warm up the store. Cool moisture seemed to permeate everything; and customers were nowhere in sight.
On this gloomy Saturday, the card of the day is, very fittingly, Body Care. Fall and winter in general remind us to go inwards, slow down, take care of ourselves and recharge our batteries. A little self-care goes a long way on a day like this!
So I made tea instead of coffee this morning, did gentle Yoga instead of core-strengthening Pilates and took time to have breakfast at home instead of having a snack in the car on the way to work (I know, bad habit^^).
I’m working on an e-book at the moment, and the whole infrastructure that goes with releasing something online. It’s a lot of work and there are so many smaller tasks and bigger projects involved, at times I feel like my to-do list doesn’t get shorter at all, no matter how many hours of work I’m putting in. And I have to be careful that I don’t get stuck in hustle mode – over time, it leads to stress, anxiety, frustration and exhaustion. And I’ve definitely been feeling like I’ve just been spinning my wheels lately!
But this internal pressure and inability to relax is so not necessary. Sure, you have to put in the work to build a business, perfect a skill or finish a personal project. But in the end, you have to love and enjoy what you do. If you infuse your work with stress and hectic vibes, it’ll be noticable in the result. Instead, you want to infuse your work with love, and the end result will be so much more powerful and beautiful!
As with everything in life, you want to enjoy the process. It’s a necessary part of every journey to make space for breaks, slowing down and relaxing. Through taking breaks you are able to stay focused, inspired and enthusiastic – which is part of being productive! We need a mindset shift from judging breaks as “laziness” to valuing them as essential part of any creative process.
So today, I’m taking it easy. I allow myself to slow down and take care of my body and my soul, and I trust that the work will get done in time. I’m taking things one thing at a time, and I’m okay with that! I’m exactly where I need to be.
Enjoy your day! 😃
Sometimes I’m just tired. There’s all this stuff to do, places to be at, work, chores, action steps towards accomplishing big dreams, and then you’re supposed to eat healthy and think good thoughts and be kind to everyone.
Phew. That’s a lot!
There’s always something to DO. But sometimes, like today, I don’t feel like DOING anything.
Can I just BE for a while?
I have to correct myself: There actually are a few things that I’d like to do today: cuddle up with my blanket on the couch reading a good book, smelling incense, listening to the wind flowing and a stream trickling. Drinking tea. Breathing. Letting my thoughts go by like fluffy clouds and letting the sun shine on my back. Feeling one with the moment.
Here’s what I definitely DON’T feel like doing today: sitting in traffic, or even just driving my car. Counting the hours at work until I can finally go home. Taking phone calls. Making small talk. Getting groceries in a crowded super market. Ugh.
But alas, life doesn’t always allow me to just BE and let all responsibilities slide on days like this. And don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy getting stuff done and being productive! Just…not today. Please?
I did get in the car this morning and drove to work. And at first, I was fighting it inside. Ever had the thought “I SO don’t want to be here right now”?
Well, that doesn’t help. So I decided to start writing on my lunch break, and I started to notice all these little ways in which I can just BE, even at work, even when busy life surrounds me:
I made a cup of my favorite green tea and enjoyed every sip. The sun is shining on my back right now. I can hear the creek trickling and wind chimes ringing softly. A gentle breeze is playing with my hair. My thoughts come and go quietly. I’m still tired…but I’m one with the moment.
And suddenly, all chores and responsibilities just become part of a game I’m playing with myself. How can I just BE when everyone around me is hustling? How can I stand still in the moment and flow with time? How can I relax into what is? How can I observe without partaking?
I’m in no hurry. I’m observing, watching, being. I’m taking in the day one moment at a time. I’m tired, but I’m content.
What can you do today to become one with the moment? Please share! 🙂
*This post was first published on http://www.energiesinmotion.com on August 1st, 2016
I’ve always been someone who likes to be comfortable. Sure, I like to have little adventures every now and then, but at the end of the day, I like to sleep in my own cozy bed. And I LOVE cuddling up on the couch with a blanket (and my beloved hubby).
The apple certainly hasn’t fallen far from the tree: Growing up, my family life was full of little daily rituals, family dinners, candlelight, incense and reading books. Seriously, the whole family could be in the same room without saying a word, everyone deeply immersed in their own book in their own cozy corner.
Recently, my parents send me a book full of essays about the Germans and their quirks. I’ve always thought the need to be comfortable was just prevalent in my own family, but according to the author it’s a typical German thing. Even Baloo from the Jungle Book doesn’t sing about the bare necessities in German, but claims that being comfortable and relaxed will bring you good luck and happiness!
We Germans love our comfort so much that we have a special word for it that doesn’t have an exact equivalent in English: Gemütlichkeit. It means feeling comfortable and safe; feeling at home, arrived at your destination, ready to put your feet up; it’s absolute contentment; it’s candlelight, a wood burning stove, a cushioned couch, a warm blanket and a cup of tea. Curtains in the windows and apple pie baking in the oven, filling the whole house with a comforting, sweet cinnamon scent. Preferably, it’s dark outside, or overcast, or raining. Aw, the Gemütlichkeit!
What got me thinking about this whole topic in the first place is a quote from the above mentioned article. Translated, it goes something like this:
“The less comfort and contentment naturally live in one’s heart, the bigger the need to create castles of comfort all around oneself.”
For me, that’s 100% true! I worry easily and frequently, I’m very sensitive and I need a lot of alone time to process things. There are a lot of vague, underlying fears in me, and therefore I always need to make sure that I feel safe in order to be my best self. Plus, life in general is pretty hectic and busy these days! So it makes sense that I have this need to make my surroundings as cozy and comforting as possible.
Especially now that I live in a completely different part of the world: Three years ago I moved from small-town Remagen in Germany to the famous, crowded, traffic-y and always hustling San Francisco Bay Area.
Perhaps I’m not the only one here in need of more comfort – perhaps some of the hyper busy Northern Californians could use some more Gemütlichkeit, too! 😉
Here are some suggestions from a life-long expert:
Sit down and take your time for dinner with candlelight and nice music – no matter if you have a partner, kids, both or none of the above!
Light your favorite incense in the morning as you get ready for the day or in the evening when you get home from work
Cook dinner together with your spouse or a friend
Schedule a cozy couch night with tea and a good book and a cuddly blanket once a week
Always have breakfast at the same time in the morning
Take a couple precious moments to really savor the first sip of your morning coffee
Enjoy a hot shower every morning
Go for a hike every Saturday
Put up the same Christmas decorations every year
Meet with friends at a certain restaurant once a month
Buy some extra comfy socks
Have some nice pillows or stuffed toys sitting on the couch
Establish a morning routine that makes you feel energized, happy and focused
Comfort is really about slowing down and savoring the moment. It means feeling calm and centered in every situation. It means discovering the things and activities that soothe your soul and recharge your batteries, so you can relax into the uncertainties of life. As much as a calm, content heart can ease any stressful situation, a safe, comfortable environment can bring more ease and joy into your heart. Practicing Gemütlichkeit regularly can give you the strength, clarity and contentment to take on anything. (Yes, I have listened to shamanic drumming music in Bay Area traffic before to successfully prevent road rage ;))
Now it’s your turn: What does being comfortable mean to you? How can you bring more comfort into your life? What makes you feel calm, centered, strong and content even when life gets all crazy around you?
Please share in the comments below, I love hearing from you! 😃
Much love and ease for your week ahead!
*This post was first published on http://www.energiesinmotion.com on August 29th, 2016