by Kristen Hedges
Too many folks travel through life with eyes half closed. We’re all too busy, too stressed, too distracted and disconnected from what truly matters. Luckily, reconnecting and rejuvenating your mind, body, and spirit is remarkably easy. All it takes is a bit of awareness, and a few simple daily practices to rub the fog from your eyes and brighten up your day.
1. Practice morning mindfulness.
That quiet space between sunrise and the start of the work day can be used to cultivate a feeling of newness and joy. Instead of rushing around and disconnecting as soon as your head leaves the pillow, try beginning your day slowly. Make coffee or steep tea, and sip with absolute mindfulness, as if the entire universe rests within that mug. Smile, set an intention, and begin your day.
2. Energize your afternoon.
When the sun climbs high in the sky and the day seems to sag a bit in the middle, we often have a hard time staying awake and mindful. Around three o’clock, I like to diffuse a bit of sweet orange and peppermint essential oils to liven up the room and keep me energized.
I’ll also spend a few moments checking in with my breath – I make sure it’s slow, steady, filling to the very bottom of my lungs. If I’m feeling a bit anxious (as I tend to do when the work day is coming to a close), I’ll practice a 4, 7, 8 count breath. Inhale for 4 counts, hold that breath for 7, and exhale for 8. This practice will help to rejuvenate your mind and body, all at once! Then pause, maybe renew an intention from the morning, and reboot.
3. Ease into your evening.
The evening is a time for reflection and gratitude. A time to spend with loved ones, to cozy up and wind down. We often rush from day into night, pressing our head down to the pillow before we’ve given ourselves a chance to unravel. I like to spend the last hour or so before bed cultivating a bit of inner stillness. I use warm jojoba oil to smooth the worry lines from my forehead and to wash the day away from my cheeks. I light a candle, turn on some soft music and cook nourishing food.
4. Journal in your jammies.
As the sun hides behind the hills and the stars begin to wink and flicker, I pull out a journal and write: notes of gratitude, reflection, stories about the day, dreams for tomorrow. Cultivating an evening practice – whatever it may be – will help to ensure that you’re sleeping soundly, resting fully and healing – both inside and out.
So, how do you brighten your day? What quick, simple practices can you incorporate more of to make yourself feel alive?
Kristen Hedges became a Certified Holistic Health Coach, a Yoga and Meditation teacher, a homeowner and a wife, all before the age of 22. Her writing, coaching programs and classes help stressed-out spiritual seekers find their ideal lifestyle through dietary shifts, daily mindfulness, and a lot of wild soul searching. You can find Kristen contributing weekly stories to the Free People BLDG 25 Blog, and at her personal blog, kristenhedges.com.