At the time of writing, it is a Tuesday evening. The fire is lit, I am wearing my lovely cosy White Company slippers, burning a handmade candle. It is snowing outside and everything feels happy, quiet and cosy.
I always think that tranquil moments don’t occur very often, yet I think they are often there without me realising. I could be doing something busy, like cooking or walking or writing, but if my mind is quieter with fewer thoughts swirling around, I am calm and quiet. A lot of ‘being peaceful’ does seem to come from your thoughts.
Today I thought I’d chat about a few of the things I’ve been subconsciously doing that have made me feel much more peaceful. Without realising, I’ve had a very ‘zen’ few days.
Keeping a conversation with myself about what needs to be done
It sounds slightly strange, but this really works for me. Whether you write it in a notebook, on a note on your phone, text yourself or send yourself a Facebook message, this has the same effect. Keeping a constant conversation with yourself – sort of like a to-do list – means that you are emptying your brain, freeing up space for calm thinking.
For example, I might send myself blog post ideas, things that need to be done that day, tips for work, dates for my diary, films I want to watch, projects to start etc. Whatever you need to remember, get it written somewhere immediately. You then can let all of the information go, safe in the knowledge that you’ve logged it ready to be dealt with later. Offload tasks onto yourself to be sorted when you actually have chance to sort them.
Music makes a big difference in my mood. I like to distract my mind – I’m not a fan of busy buses or walking on streets alone. For this reason, listening to a good playlist is a great way to quieten your mind. Focusing on the music (or podcast, if that is more your thing) is an easy way to fall into the rhythm of whatever you are doing.
If you have Spotify, there is a playlist called ‘A Perfect Day’ which I love for when I’m working, along with ‘Easy 60’s’ (if you love 60’s music like I do!). If you need to chill out though, pop the ‘Most Beautiful Songs In The World’ playlist on. So calming, I’m listening to it right now.
Look at the bigger picture
Sometimes spending a few minutes thinking about the wider world can help me remember that I just don’t need to spend time worrying about the small issues in life. I’ve been stuck in traffic for the last two mornings for about 2 hours both days. I simply just did not let myself get worked up over it. I was safe, in my warm car listening to my favourite music. That really isn’t the worst thing in the world. Sometimes it helps me to think of someone else, like a brave family member or friend. Say to yourself, “If (insert person who inspires you here) can be brave and get through (insert their scary situation here), then I definitely don’t need to be worrying about (insert your own situation here)!”
I’ve talked a lot about the importance of self-care, along with 10 ways to try this new revolution of looking after ourselves. This will vary so much from person to person. Self-care for you, might be having a week off from the gym. For someone else, it mean taking yourself to the gym three times that week. You know what works for you. I like sitting by the fire, or getting up early to walk outside in the fresh air or spending a day in my pyjamas. It lets my mind feel much more calm.
Allowing myself to be absorbed in a task
Last Saturday evening, I read an entire book in one sitting, stopping half way through to eat. At about 10pm I finished it, realising that I had almost forgotten about everything else. Being completely absorbed in a task or hobby, like reading or baking or running just puts your mind to work, distracting you from everything else. Find some free time and just get started – p.s. the book was ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine‘ – I highly recommend it. Review to follow soon.
Do you have different ways to find stillness and calmness?