How to keep the sunshine feeling as your tan fades

Ahhh, summer! Having just returned from a wonderful week of river swimming and rock hopping with my family, I’ve been wondering how to keep that wfabulous feeling of relaxation now that I’m back to the multifaceted demands of life as an entrepreneur.

Here are a few tips that have helped me to avoid the post-vacation blues and maintain that sunshine feeling.

  • Relive a favorite vacation moment – Visualization is a powerful tool, and simply taking a few moments throughout the day to picture a favorite scene from your vacation – especially one that involves nature – can “trick” your mind and body into thinking you are still there. Breathe in the scents, feel the breeze on your skin, the warmth of the sun on your face. I brought back a favorite river rock to hold to help me recreate the feeling.
  • Celebrate – we often vacation during the week of my daughter’s birthday, so for us vacation also involves celebration. But there is always something to celebrate and bring some of that magic into your life – be creative. How about pick your favorite fruit and have a Mango Monday with mango smoothies for breakfast and a mango salsa on your dinner? Or pick your favorite color and have a Fuscia Friday and dress accordingly. Make up your own reasons to celebrate by keeping a gratiutude journal.  The opportunities are endless once you give your imagination a free reign!
  • Try something new -  One of the things I just love about vacations is the experience of going somewhere new, trying a ndifferent activity, a novel food, a new way of spending time.  So how about signing up for a new meet up group, driving a different way to work, learning a new hobby?  Novelty keeps us alive and you never know what you might find around a new corner! 

As summer gives way to fall and the kids go back to school, it is easy to get caught up in the flurry of activity and let stress creep back into our lives …. So remember, take some steps to bring a little vacation magic into your daily life!

You are not behind

As someone who is prone to feeling constantly behind, whether it’s with my on-line professional development courses, my home de-cluttering projects or getting ready for tax season, these words stopped me cold. “But of course I’m behind – I should be farther ahead!” Do these words sound familiar?

Well, here is radical thought. What if you are not behind? Not now. Not ever. What if you are exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to be doing?

One of my favorite mentors, money guru Bari Tessler, recently sent out an email with this title as part of her free mini-course on her Art of Money method (which is awesome and you can access by clicking on the link above).

To quote Bari, “This mantra, “I am behind” is deeply ingrained in our collective psyche. It’s a form of self-directed aggression dressed up in “self-improvement” clothing. It’s an addictive, shaming loop. It’s self-defeating: it drains the energy, empowerment, and peace of mind we need to accomplish the very things we feel “behind” on. It’s time to let it go.”

I SO needed to hear that!

So this week, I am taking Bari’s advice and honoring my own pacing and intuition, learning to trust my own priorities and claiming my choices. Ahhh, what a relief.

 I can hear you saying, “But……”
Believe me, I know. I have that same voice in my head – won't I just be letting myself off the hook?
Won’t I just whittle away my time and not get anything done?

Well, what I have learned so far is that letting go of that stressful “I am behind” mantra, actually gives me the mental space and the emotional equanimity to look at my priorities more clearly and step into my to do list with renewed clarity, intention and energy.

Next time you find yourself clenching your jaw, tightening your gut or taking shallow breaths, take a peek at what’s going on inside your head. Perhaps the “You are behind” mantra is playing in the background – time to hit the eject button, have a drink of water, take a couple of deep breaths, munch on a bite of dark chocolate and play a new tune – I am not behind!

Recipe for a happy marriage

I’ve been happily married to my honey for 13 years now, and along the way I’ve learned a few things. In honor of St Valentine’s Day, here are my secret ingredients:

  1. The right person – and if you don’t get it right the first time, don’t loose heart! I’ve been married twice before, and for a variety of reasons… it didn’t work out. Of course at the time these relationships came to an end, it wasn’t easy and I felt like a failure. Divorce is usually messy and uncomfortable and downright painful.  With the benefit of time passing however, I can see that my former partners were a perfect match for where I was at on my spiritual journey.  I feel immense gratitude for the part they played in my life, for helping me become who I am today, and for fathering my beautiful children whom I can’t imagine life without!
  2. Love, of course. It really is what makes the world go around. And of course, love is so much more than a feeling. I really like David Richo’s Five Keys to Mindful Loving: Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, Affection and Allowing your partner to be themselves.
  3. Being 100% responsible for the success and happiness of the relationship. Yes, you read me right. Not 50%, 100%. It makes an enormous difference to take full responsibility.
  4. Laughter- I’ve realized that it really doesn’t pay to take myself too seriously. So, insert a big dose of light heartedness and a generous sprinkle of laughter. It makes everything so much easier, and more fun.
  5. A healthy mix of togetherness and independence. We love spending time together, and have many shared interests. We also have our own independent interests and activities, and support each other in pursuing them, which allows us to grow as individuals and brings freshness and newness to our time together.
  6. Be more interested in being happy than in being right – huge! Oh the renunciation that is required when you feel So justified in your rightness!
  7. Say you're "sorry" when you mess up.
  8. Don't take it personally when they are going through their stuff.  This one took me years to get.
  9. Hold hands a lot.
  10. Don’t try to change each other. Period.
  11. Be grateful for each other and recognize how blessed you are to be sharing your lives.

The power of taking breaks

Having just returned from an amazing 3 week vacation sailing in the Caribbean to celebrate my husband’s 60th, I can certainly say with profound conviction that taking a real break is definitely renewing, refreshing and simply heavenly. It was all and more than I could have imagined – warm turquoise water, gentle breezes, fabulous sailing, gorgeous views, friendly people….. indeed a dream vacation for which I feel so so blessed. I felt my thoughts slowing down with each passing day, and enjoyed that oh so rare and wonderful sense of relaxation in my body and spaciousness in my consciousness that is so truly lovely.

The reality of juggling daily demands
Now that I’m back home to the reality of juggling the demands of work, family, friends, home and play… I am asking myself how can I recreate that wonderful sense of relaxation and spaciousness?  How can I achieve a higher level of inspired wellbeing in my day-to-day life? Since of course, I can’t just turn around and go traipsing off on another getaway, much as I would love to!

My seven power break tips, one for each day of the week:

  1. If you are at the computer, set a timer to go off a few times an hour and take a 10 second break to take some deep breaths, do some shoulder rolls, look out the window at a tree or the sky, close your eyes and picture a loved one, give yourself a scalp massage.
  2. As you are transitioning between activities, take a moment to be truly present to where you are, and who you are. One full, deep breath can be all that is needed to re-connect ourselves with our Selves.
  3. When you first wake up in the morning, before firing all cylinders and getting stressed out over your impending to do list, take a few moments to consciously relax and start the day off with a few moments of peaceful contemplation…. Visualizing the faces of your loved ones, and feeling grateful for their presence in your life, can do wonders for diverting your attention away from stressful to-do thoughts.
  4. Feeling wired and frazzled? Take your shoes and socks off and stand on the earth, any spot of grass will do, and feel your connection to mother Earth.
  5. Thirsty? Pause to sip on a glass of water, enjoying the sensation in your mouth, going down your throat, and hydrating your body. Take a moment to feel gratitude for this precious liquid.
  6.  Smile at someone, it does wonders for your mood!
  7. End the day by reflecting back on all that you are grateful for today… your heart will open and you will drift off to a restful sleep.

May you be nourished and restored all the days of your life!