Recognising when you need calm is the first step to building calm into your life. I have to keep learning this the hard way. As a busy person, I am always tempted just to keep going until I crash from exhaustion. This is never a good idea!
Permission to take time to be calm
A couple of weeks ago I arrived home from a family camping trip on a Sunday evening. Mountains of bags, tents and equipment filled the hallway of my house. Everything needed unpacking and sorting out, and then I had more work to do getting organised for Monday morning.
In the past I would have just bashed on with it, and probably ended up cross, grumpy, tearful and exhausted. But on this occasion I noticed that I needed some calm space. So instead of just starting on all the work, first I had something to eat and then spent half an hour on my own watering the garden. I gave myself permission to take time to be calm. After that I felt much better, and I still managed to get all the essentials done well before bedtime.
Recognising when you need to slow down
The key is recognising when you need to slow down, take a break and find a few moments of calm. It’s important to build in regular times for calm on a daily basis, but sometimes we need calm “first aid” too. When we have a lot to do, it’s easy to feel we don’t have time to stop. But that fifteen minute break usually means the jobs get done much faster in the end.
Recognising signs in the body that you need calm
It really helps to be aware of your own body’s signals. When I need calm, I often feel hot and sweaty. Sometimes I get a bit shaky too. I also notice little things that usually don’t bother me have suddenly become seriously annoying! My hands can get itchy, and I find it difficult to focus on the task in hand. I am also much more prone to shout!
Your own warning signs may be different. You might notice your heart racing, or you might get a headache. Everyone’s body is different. The key is being aware of your own body and knowing yourself. The more we practice doing this, the easier it gets.
Giving yourself permission to pause
However busy you feel, give yourself permission to pause. Stop whatever you are doing, and if you can, try to step physically away from the situation. If you are at work or in a public place, get outside, to a break room or to the toilet if need be. Going outdoors can be a lifeline. If other people are driving you crazy, try to step away from them if possible. They may seem more bearable after a brief calm break.
If you are at home, try going to a quiet room, or out into the garden. Splashing cold water on your face will activate your parasympathetic nervous system quickly and help you calm down. Sit down or lie down, or take a gentle walk outside. Focus on your breathing. Simply give yourself the precious gift of a little time and space for yourself. It usually helps to drink some water, and often to eat something too. Having a quick getaway from the daily stresses of your life can make all the difference to your peace and your productivity.
Be your own best friend
Sometimes it helps to imagine you are talking to yourself as if you are a dear friend. Imagine your best friend was tired, stressed and agitated. What would you suggest to her or him to help them relax and find a few moments of calm? Treat yourself with love and respect. Honour your body by giving it the calm space it needs.
More ideas coming
In future blog posts I will be going into more detail about different things you can do to help yourself find calm. For today, I want you to remember that you need and deserve calm space. Listening to your body will help you notice when to take a calming break.
Try to recognise when you need calm today. Notice how you feel. Pay attention to your body. How does it tell you it needs a break? Stop for five to ten minutes, or a bit longer if you can. Go outdoors if possible and look around you. Just sit quietly, or do whatever helps you feel calm. Notice how your body feels different after your calm break. When you feel ready, get on with your tasks. Notice whether you get more done. If you like, share your experience in Nurture Yourself group to encourage others.
Thanks for reading this blog post. I am writing a series of 31 blogs every day this August. I plan to publish them later in the year as a book entitled, ‘Finding Your Calm Space – 31 Ways to Find Calm in a Crazy World’.
I’m Karen. I am a Yoga teacher, Reflexologist and busy mum of seven. I live with my family in Billericay, Essex, UK. In the past I have worked as a Midwife, Health Visitor, Baby Signing teacher and Tax Inspector. I love getting outdoors, swimming in the sea, walking and writing. Helping people relax is one of the things I do best.
You can learn more about my Yoga classes and Reflexology at my website www.thecalmspace.co.uk