Thanksgiving and Christmas are joyful, peaceful and love-filled, right? Then, why are people more stressed out this time of year than any other time of the year, even more than tax season!? The obvious reasons: glutton, commercialism, distractions out of routine and focus away from our quiet time.
Over the next 5 days I’m going to share some of my practices that help with less stress and more joy.
[Less Stress. More Joy] DAY 1 – Bookend The Day
The first and last hours of my day are structured and have purpose to set the tone for my day and a restful sleep. My normal routine is to wake up around 6:00am, without an alarm clock. I turn on the coffee maker, do about 30 seconds of some flow stretching and then retreat for prayer and daily reading for at least 20 minutes. Recently, I’ve been reading the Psalms and then rotating through two books from my nightstand. After that, I spend about 20-30 minutes to be creative. I write. Today I’m writing this post. Sometimes I might be creating a training or something for my home school. That is the first bookend of my day.
The bookend that ends my day is a bit shorter. I turn my phone off and computer, on most nights, at 830pm and leave it out of my bedroom. I take a few minutes to journal at least one success from the day and one item of gratitude. That’s it.
I’m not perfect and this doesn’t happen beautifully all the time. But, the practices do help with keeping out distractions that regularly crept in when I slept with my iPhone, turned on, next to my bed. I used to check it, along with email and social media, before I put MY priorities first. That simple shift has brought less stress and more joy to my days.