Happy new month! Happy May to you all!
I love the fresh feeling of a new month. It’s like a mini new year!
Aside from having to pay my rent, I love starting a new month by setting clear intentions. I find intentions to be so powerful. When you clearly state to yourself and the Universe what it is that you want, you tend to either get it or get clear on the things that are blocking you from it (it’s all a journey!).
It helps that the full moon (which was on April 29th) is known as a prime time to release what’s no longer serving you, allowing you to step into the new month lighter and freer.
Keeping all of this new month intention stuff in mind, I’d like to share some of my cornerstone intentions for fostering a sense of inner peace. I shared this on Twenty Somethin’ and Black a couple of months ago and believe it’s still as relevant as ever!
“You’re the only home you’ll ever know. Decorate yourself with love and compassion, furnish yourself with inner learning, declutter yourself with reflection, and don’t let the dust of routine pile up on your soul.”
Often times, we can become so consumed with striving, achieving, and tending to the outer-appearance of our lives that we overlook the quality of our internal state. By following the five keys below, you’ll be right on your way to maintaining a happy and healthy inner state. And when you get the inside right, everything else will follow.
Look down at your body
there is no home like you
– Rupi Kaur
Practice being present
Setting time aside for your mind to be at peace is so essential to your mental health. Incorporating a daily routine of meditation or mindfulness will give your state of mind serious relief. I recently read Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now and the biggest takeaway that I learned was that by focusing on what’s right in front of you, you can practice detaching from the default chaos of the active mind.
Stress and anxious feelings are the result of pondering the future too much while depression and low-energy states of being are the result of pondering the past too much. When we’re truly present in the current moment and acknowledge that we’re not defined by our thoughts (no matter how crazy they get), we are at peace. Meditation and trying to get your thoughts to quiet down may be a challenge at first but I recommend using apps like Headspace and Insight Timer as an introduction to the practice.
Watch what you consume
The things that we consume deeply affect how we feel. We’re all familiar with this when it comes to the foods we eat. We know that if we eat a ton of fried food, sugar and alcohol we’re most likely going to feel heavy and bloated, whereas if we incorporated some fruits and vegetables we’d feel lighter and more energetic. Less commonly acknowledged, however, is the importance of monitoring the content that we consume. Our mental states are sensitive to everything that makes up our daily life. The people around us, the music we listen to, the movies, the news, and the TV shows we watch. Even our environment affects our mental state. Anything that makes us feel discomfort is a sign that an adjustment needs to be made.
Prioritize your relationships
We can do the work of becoming healthy and stable and even manage to feel at peace more often than not, but life loses its color when we go it alone. “Staying-in” is becoming the new hip trend but if your daily life is lacking in interpersonal connection, you could benefit from making it a point to schedule happy hour or dinner with some of your favorite people a couple of times a week. If you’re too busy to make time for meeting in person, then try scheduling a check-in phone call if only for 10 minutes. Feeling connected with others who care about you will infuse your life with feelings of love and a sense of meaning. It’s powerful to know that we’re strong enough to go about this life alone yet not wanting to. The right relationships can propel us to new levels in all areas of our life so make sure you show them the appreciation that they deserve.
Make time for fun
Ever fall into the rut of going about your daily grind during the week? Often, we’ll go to work and if we have enough energy we may hit the gym afterwards, then we’ll go home, have dinner, go to sleep then repeat it all over again the next day. Saturday arrives and the week that just passed feels like a blur of living the same day over and over again. When the weekend comes we may be so exhausted that we just want to laze around, or we’ll have to run errands and do chores that were neglected during the work week. When this becomes a cycle for weeks on end, we tend to start dreaming of a rejuvenating vacation with sandy white beaches and a clear blue ocean view.
Vacations are great and important, but we can all benefit from building in vacation-like experiences into our regular life at a weekly or even bi-weekly basis. What that fun will look like varies depending on your particular taste. For me, fun is reading a new spiritual book in a cute cafe with a latte, going to workshops and seminars, exploring markets with friends, going to the movies, hanging out on the west side of LA (I’ve been loving Venice lately!) and trying new restaurants with friends. Incorporate a sense of adventure into your life to keep your soul happy. If you live near a major city, there are most likely plenty of cool things for you to experience going on.
Get quality sleep
Our lives are more active than ever before and we’re more plugged in than ever before. If we aren’t frantically running around from work obligations to social obligations, then it at least feels like we are to our overstimulated brains as we’re watching TV, listening to podcasts, scrolling through social media, and reading articles and books. If we’re not dedicated to giving our minds a break through being present or we’re pushing it to its boundary with loads of caffeine, then getting it to turn off for deep rest can be a tough feat.
Sleep is the cornerstone of a healthy life. We all know how sluggish our physical bodies get and how loopy and/or cranky our brains get when we’re running on low sleep. Our quality of sleep is directly correlated to our quality of life. We know that we should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night but if we can’t manage to reach REM levels of sleep, it affects all areas of our lives. Start winding down for the night at least an hour before you intend to close your eyes and set a caffeine curfew if your body is especially sensitive. For tips on how to structure your night routine, take a look at our article on the topic!
Cherish the home that is you with these 5 keys and most of all, practice listening to yourself. Listen to your personal feelings and honor what they tell you.
Your mind and body will thank you for tending to its needs and treating it kindly.
(photo source: kevin laminto)