September and October have brought back the busy schedules – school, work and afternoon activities occupy our days from the early morning on. Days are getting shorter and colder and foggy mornings have become a regular feature these days. Autumn feels quiet and calm when looking out of a window, but inside of us, small stresses of daily life and unfinished tasks are piling up. Here is what we like to do to simplify our days, feel less overwhelmed and sneak in little moments of joy.
Create weekly meal plans
The mental load of organizing family meals is heavy. What’s for lunch? might be one of the most annoying and stressful questions there is. Once you become a parent, the freedom of deciding on the spot and being spontaneous around food seems to become a privilege from the past. When managing fridge situation and thinking of recipes that fit everyone’s nutritional needs becomes a necessity, we tend to get uninspired and tired of it. Planning our weekly menus in advance can help us reduce mealtime stress and reduce our mental load throughout the week. It also helps us save money, avoid unhealthy options and reduce the amount of food waste. To inspire you and give you a head start, here is our suggestion of a weekly menu you can use.
Limit social media use
This goes both for business and personal use. Today everyone’s talking about the negative effects of social media – impaired relationships and sleep, lowered concentration and creativity, amplified anxiety, loneliness and stress. And yet we cannot stop ourselves from automatically reaching for our phone whenever possible. We’ve probably all tried limiting the use of social media at some point, some more, others less successfully. What we’ve learned is that, instead of only promising to yourself that you’ll limit your social media use in the future, you need to set very specific and straightforward steps.
These might include:
- setting app timers that close the apps after a set period of time,
- keeping your phone outside the bedroom,
- not checking your phone before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m,
- always keeping your phone in your bag while driving (!!!),
- unfriending, unfollowing and unsubscribing,
- being mindful. These are the questions to practice daily: Can I eat my breakfast looking out of the window instead of scrolling on my phone? Can I read books on the bus? Can I keep my phone in my bag when meeting my friends? Can I leave my phone at home when going for a walk? Can I notice birds, clouds, leaves on the ground? Can I notice the details on the buildings I’m passing? Can I notice window displays? Can I notice people’s outfits, moods and smiles? Can I notice and pick up plastic bottles and cans lying around on the street? Can I notice the variety of blooming flowers in the gardens? Can I … Can I be more present in real life?
Find ways to ground ourselves
Grounding (also called earthing) refers to activities that “ground” or electrically reconnect us to the earth. When our bare feet or skin meet the earth, the earth’s free electrons are taken up into the body, helping neutralize free radicals and providing antioxidant and immune boosting properties. Grounding can look like:
- walking around barefoot
- laying on the ground
- swimming in a lake
- playing in the dirt
- working with soil, e.g. gardening
- touching the moss, leaves etc.
P.s. Speaking from experience: walking under the lowest pine tree branches works as a great head massage 😉
Take tiny breaks
Throughout the day, we like to take tiny, one-minute breaks. Usually, the most appropriate time to take them is … when it feels the least appropriate to do so. One great way to protect yourself from burnout (especially when you’re caring for others and easily forget about your own needs) is to set alarms announcing these tiny breaks throughout the day. What you do during these micro breaks is up to you: it can be one minute of deep breathing, a dance to your favourite song, one minute of legs-up-the-wall pose, one minute of cuddling with your dog or anything else that might fill your cup a bit at that exact moment.
Have a feel-good playlist prepared
This one does not need an explanation. Maybe just a reminder: dance whenever and wherever possible!