5 Steps to BEing Calm

For many of us the daily challenges we face can feel like too much to handle on some days. Modern medicine tells us we must learn to reduce the stress in our lives. We’re told to just calm down, relax, chill! If you’re like me those suggestions are not helpful. So how do we start?

I recently started a daily practice of meditating for ten minutes. Only ten minutes, y’all! And it’s helping my overall emotional and physical well-being. It may seem daunting to BEgin but that’s all it takes. And in the end, learning to just BE is one of the most important things we can do for self-care.

Here are my 5 steps to BEing calm:

  1. BEgin today. Don’t wait any longer. There’s no right or wrong way to meditate. It’s basically sitting still and breathing. You are already breathing so now all you have to do is sit still and just BE for ten minutes. It can be anywhere, preferably where you can BE alone but even if you can’t, you can still BE still and breathe, anywhere. Sitting in a chair, on the floor, with legs crossed or straight out in front, are all perfectly fine. BE comfortable.
  2. Use a phone app if you can. I am using one called Calm and another called HeadSpace. I tried both with free trials and ended up purchasing a subscription to each. These are great tools to help us get started because they guide us through the ten minutes, reminding us to focus on our breath and walk us through relaxing and just BEing. These apps also have tools for helping us sleep with relaxing sounds in the background. You don’t NEED an app to meditate but I have found it excellent for a beginner like me. 
  3. Light a candle or incense if you are so inclined. These are not mandatory but I find it helpful to set the mood relaxation relaxation.
  4. Set reminders to practice at whatever time of day works best for you. Experts say first thing in the morning is best, but I grab my ten minutes when it’s convenient for me – usually in the middle of the day. 
  5. BEgin. There’s no better time than now. The benefits of this short daily practice are immense and cannot be denied. Just ten minutes a day of BEing still, calming the mind, and breathing deeply with awareness of the breath, can reap huge health benefits both physically and emotionally. Now keep it up because before long this new habit will be something you look forward to every single day.

Winter – No Sissies Allowed

There’s no denying winter is brutal. A month ago there was a chill in the air. Today that air has been treated with an arctic blast of frigid cold that can be downright dangerous to living things. At fifteen degrees Fahrenheit, now is not the time to be outside prepping for the cold weather, so I’m happy to report we took care of it back in November. I’m filled with gratitude, to be sure. Along with the extreme chill we have also been gifted with far more than a foot of snow on the ground and covering every horizontal surface. It is a stunning wintery painting everywhere one looks.

Folks who have never had the opportunity to live in a cold climate, on a farm, might be interested to see what it takes to get through a long, cold and snowy Michigan winter. So here are some highlights of our fall preparation: Continue reading

Slow Down and Rest–That’s an Order!

I love what I do at Big Fat Soap, but being a sole proprietor is hard work. One of the reasons I choose to be self-employed is so that my work schedule can be flexible. What a great plan! You may be thinking . . . but reality is when you work from home and are Director of Everything, like me, you tend to work far more hours each day than a typical American employee – 7 days a week. Orders must be filled and shipped, supplies must be inventoried and stocked, marketing and sales tasks must be done, forecasting, reports, planning, follow-up with customers, and on and on it goes. It is truly never-ending. Add to the equation, the personality type who feels guilty sitting down to read a book or relax in the garden during day-time hours, and you have potential trouble.

A friend I’ve met recently—also an entrepreneur—gave me some valuable advice: You MUST take a day off. This is not negotiable. I’ve been replaying her words in my mind and I know that it is important, but I haven’t been able to heed her advice until . . .  one day I got the message. Continue reading