We love that feeling when we’re on holiday and we finally begin to relax (usually on day 6!). We dig our toes into the sand, our mind quietens and we finally feel at peace. As hard as it sometimes seems, it’s our aim to get a touch of this into every day of our lives. We don’t think this feeling should be limited to just one or two moments every now then so over the years we’ve introduced some practical ways to get stillness into our days.
At our design studio in South London we’re a busy bunch, we constantly balance our work with raising children and maintaining relationships with our partners and friends. We know all too well how the pace of modern life can cause stress, anxiety and worry about what we haven’t done or could have done better. This can sometimes lead to feelings of worry, guilt and resentment so it’s important that we don’t allow them to develop.
In order to avoid these thoughts and feelings we try to bring some stillness into our lives, we find it makes us more productive, relaxed and all round happier people.
Here are top 10, tried and tested tips for balance and taking a slower approach to life:
It may seem hard at first but this is our top tip for slowing down and adding some peace to your day. Finding 10 minutes out of the day was a challenge when we started but as the saying goes; ‘if you can’t find time to meditate for 10 minutes then you need to meditate for an hour’. We’re not suggesting that anyone meditate for an hour (who has time for that?!) but finding 10 minutes before bed, to calm ourselves and breath slowly, can help us fall asleep quicker and reduces anxiety.
Try meditating on what you are grateful for. We often think things are not going our way, but once we take the time to deliberately think about things that are working for us. It can have a tremendous effect on our outlook.
2. Be kind to yourself
You can’t do everything. This a fact that we can often forget to tell ourselves. We’re sometimes a little critical of ourselves in a way that we would never be about others. It goes without saying that we should try to have compassion and kindness towards other people but we sometimes forget that we should have these same thoughts about ourselves. Tell yourself positive statements like ‘I am doing my best’ and ‘everything will be ok’ when things don’t go to plan. It’s amazing how quickly this starts to ease our anxiety and stress levels and we start to relax.
3. How to worry less
Problems and unexpected situations will always happen, we use the 5-minute rule to help tackle anxiety and worrying. This approach reduces the time we spend over thinking about our problems, it’s a simple but effective approach that really works for us. When we use this approach, we feel a sense of achievement and like we’re moving forward rather than getting anxious about our problems.
The 5-minute rule; 1. think about a problem for 5 minutes 2. make a plan 3. carry out the plan 4. evaluate the results for 5 minutes 5. repeat if necessary until you are satisfied you have down everything you can to resolve a problem.
4. Go with the flow
We try not to resist change and to embrace the unexpected. Sometimes no amount of planning can stop life getting in the way of our best laid plans so we try to resign ourselves and give in to what life has in store for us.
For instance, we did a poll in the studio, and one of the most frustrating things in our lives is sitting in heavy traffic. To combat this, we utilise this time by seeing it as an opportunity to spend time with the people we’re with, in the car, or make the most of the precious time we have to ourselves if we’re alone. It helps reduce stress and frustration for us when we take away the anger and frustration.
5. Having some ‘me time’
We’ve come to terms with the fact that ‘me time’ is not selfish. It’s hard to think this way when our families and jobs demand so much of our time. We love to give ourselves over to these parts of our lives but also recognise that we need to look after ourselves.
Not only is it important that we do the things we love so that we can give more to the others around us but it also reduces our stress and increases our overall happiness.
We make time for things like exercise, our hobbies and even just going for a coffee by ourselves as it really helps to recharge our batteries.
6. Reduce sugary and fatty foods
As the saying goes; a healthy body equals a healthy mind. We’ve found that it gives us more energy, reduces our anxiety and makes us feel better about ourselves when we have a healthy and balanced diet that’s low in sugar, refined ingredients and fatty foods.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or time consuming, there are thousands of cheap, quick and healthy recipes online that help us out when we’re planning our weekly shopping list. Some of our favourites are from Hemsley and Hemsley and Deliciously Ella.
7. Spend time in nature
We’ve found that spending time outside, where it’s green or by the sea can really help lift our mood. It also encourages us to spend time with those we love and has the added benefit of adding exercise to our day. If you live in a city then even just spending time in the park usually does the trick.
8. Making time for a hug
There are countless studies show that cuddling and hugging our pets, friends or family improves the mood and makes us happier. It works for us so we try to incorporate this into every day.
It’s hard when there’s a lot going on in our lives to keep things fun but, for us, it’s key to a happy life. Bringing more fun into your everyday life, into the little things we do, can really make the difference for us between a good and a bad day. At the ID Peters London studio, we make sure we do things like playing games when we’re cooking or in the car with our children or partner.
10. Internet and phone restrictions
This is a must for us, although a hard one to implement and follow! We have introduced times of the day where the internet and mobile phones are left to the side so that the family can spend time talking and it really amazed us how much of an impact this had on our lives. It reduces stress and anxiety by slowing us down and having meaningful conversations with the people that we spend our lives with.
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