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Meredith’s Meditation Corner: How to Prepare for a Stress-Free Day

MeditationsIt was just the other day that Hilary, Springboard’s Office Manager, was telling me how she admires that I have such a calm way of being around the studio. She said that I rarely seem crazed and I’m seldom rushing around the place with frantic energy. Then, she asked me to think about why that is, and to offer some tips to help others find their every-day zen. Thus, I have prepared to share with you the first of many personal meditations that help me find good life balance.

How to Prepare for a Stress-Free Day:

I believe that planning ahead can help prevent stressful situations. Of course not everyone loves a “to-do” list as much as I, and for many organization doesn’t come easy. Well, I’m here to help if you want it! Below I’ve listed some easy tips to set yourself up for a stress-free day and guess what? It starts the night before! Prepping before bedtime can set your mind at ease. You may sleep more soundly without worry about remembering that important paperwork, grabbing your umbrella, or realizing you are out of coffee and there’s NO TIME TO STOP before your first appointment (yikes!). Check out some easy tips below and give them a try. I’d love to hear how it goes!

Before Sleepytime:

Unload Your Bag From The Day. You don’t want to find yesterday’s banana peel tomorrow afternoon! Put anything into your bag that you need for the next day. If there’s something you’re suppose to grab that’s out-of-the-ordinary (perhaps a book your friend at work asked to borrow) write it in your datebook when she asks, or set a phone alarm if you live in this century, to remind you to get it.

Gather the Essentials. Place all of your essential items (bag, jacket, umbrella, sunglasses, or any other thing that would be easy to forget in the morning rush) in a convenient place to grab before you leave the house. Post-it notes can be great for things that aren’t able to be placed there, like your lunch.

Make a Lunch. I bring mine (and lots of snacks) every single day. Not only does it allow me to eat the way that I want, but it saves money and time in my day. Cutting vegetables, making a sandwich, and packaging dinner leftovers into smaller portions in the evening makes grabbing your refrigerated bag so quick before you dash out the door.

Pick Out Clothes For The Next Day. It’s easy enough to look up the weather on your phone and so lovely to NOT stand in front of the closet for a precious ten pre-coffee-zombie morning minutes thinking, “I have nothing to wear!”

Prep your Caffeine Machine. Whether you favor a coffee pot, teapot, or an espresso machine, get it ready the night before! I’m not enough of a coffee connoisseur to need my beans freshly ground just before brewing, but I understand that you may be. At least make sure your filter and carafe is clean and dry and that you have coffee/tea and all your favorite fixings in stock, then brew away in the AM in no time. If you realize you are out, you can set your alarm with more time to make a stop on your way to work without throwing off your morning commute.

Leave Too Much Time. I live 35 minutes, door to door, from the studio but I have trained myself to leave one hour before I need to be there. This allows room for the unexpected accident, road work, downpour, white-out (depending on the season), or coffee stop (aren’t you glad you checked your coffee levels before bedtime?). If you’ve allotted 30 minutes but it only takes 15, think of it like you’ve earned bonus time to settle into the work day slowly, chat with another punctual co-worker, and breathe before you are needed by others for the rest of the day.

Other Handy Energy-Savers:

Constant Keys: Always keep your keys in the same place when you get home (not in your car in your driveway, either!). This will allow you to trust, over time, that your keys will always be there when you are ready to leave the house.

Eat The Same Breakfast All Week: This may be too boring for some of you, but I find that picking what I’ll eat for breakfast at the start of the week, and sticking to just that, saves lots of thought time (avoiding the fridge version of our closet-zombie noted above), so I can just get to work making it. The extra time I would have spent trying to put something together is instead spent sitting with my cup of joe, watching the morning weather forecast or chatting with my hubby.

Correspond Accordingly: Answer the phone or your emails when you have time, not when you don’t. If you answer an incoming call, knowing you have an appointment in 2 minutes, you cannot be truly present for that person since part of your mind is occupied thinking about how you need to get off the phone. It’s not his fault he called just now when it happens to be bad for you. Next time, let it go to voicemail (or let the darn email wait a few hours – when did we all sign a social contract to reply to email immediately?!). When you have the time to give to the recipient, you’ll be more thoughtful, kind, patient, calm, and effective.

Lastly, remember to take a deep breath, friends. We are all a work in progress!