Top 10 Tuesdays: Simple Steps

Top 10 Tuesdays are aimed at sharing resources and tips that have had usefulness in my life.  Mondays can be long, stressful, and disgruntling so Tuesday often is about taking action, making a new plan, or maybe tweaking the attitude just a bit.  Today’s top 10 are going to be simple – nope, no brain surgeon needed here!  The thing is, when life is busy, complex, packed with stress and responsibilities – these simple steps can get pushed aside.  Let’s use them.

1. Breathe – Recently I was told that I have a short breath in, compared to my breath out.  I’ve been working on breathing and counting to 6 slowly, and then out 6.  The simple step of stopping what you are doing, taking the time to breathe and notice your body, can bring you back to a place of calm.

2. Laugh – So important to find the funny in life.  Laugh hard, laugh regularly!  Giggle 🙂  Here’s my example:  

3. Notice – Notice the colors, the texture, the sounds, the smells, the space that you’re in.

4. Show Gratitude – Whether it be leaving a small note to say thank you, or making a quick call, or a quick text message to say you appreciate a gesture – noticing kindness can go a long way.

5. Plan for Success – Now I’m not saying if you plan for success that everything is going to turn out all right, but notice your attitude, your excitement, & your ability to brainstorm when things aren’t going quite as planned.

6. Find Nature – Smell those roses!  And if you really can’t find nature (stuck in an elevator, a building or room with no windows) close your eyes and find nature there.  Your favorite nature spot.

7. Indulge – Make a plan for something you want but haven’t made time, had the $ for, keep forgetting.  How about a massage, or a fruit smoothie, or a fun excursion down the river?  And when you do this, be present.

8. Stretch – Stretch your body out, your necks, your back, your wrists, shoulders…you name it stretch it.

9. Share – We are good at asking kids to share with one another.  Do we do this ourselves?  Share a message, over lunch, whatever it may be – and enjoy the joy your sharing.

10. Play – What’s your favorite recess activity?  Dance to a song, play a sport, chase a pet or a friend, play hard.

Simplify Your Life: Removing Mental Clutter

What is mental clutter? It can be so many things: the daily tasks ahead, the tasks we didn’t do yesterday, the books I want to read, the photos I need to organize, the calls I need to make, the people I miss, the vacations I want to take, the home improvements I need to do, the weeds I need to pull, the report I must write, the hug I want…..the memories.

Yesterday I spoke with a dear friend, who had been watching coverage of stories from 9/11. She was touched by the people, the pain and her heart was heavy. We are encouraged to remember this tragedy, and by golly she was doing just that. After talking a bit about it, I said, it sounds like it might be time to stop watching that. She paused and then agreed. And then she focused on the fun she was going to have with her sweetheart as they would watch a local football game.

I use this example because I want to show the effects of mental clutter. You see this is a woman whose partner has been sick for six months, who is always grieving the loss of her youngest daughter, who has tales of a social worker that are heart bending, and a list of to dos that is likely much longer than I am aware of.

My challenge to you today, is to find a way to simplify your life, so that you are not so drawn in by the mental clutter that you can’t see beyond. It could be as simple as clearing or organizing the top of your desk. Or taking a break to breath and really think about what’s worthy of your attention that’s also healthy for your heart.