It seems that everyone's schedule is more crazy and hectic than ever in this age of technology, education, and self-employment. If you're not running the kids to ballet or football, you're driving to pick up the dry cleaning, or trying to get across town for that coffee meeting with a girlfriend. Maybe you're trying to make ends meet by working an extra job or two. Even if you do find yourself with some downtime, it's likely spent scrolling through Facebook on your smartphone.
I, like most folks, am usually too busy running from my 9-5 to a BOLD meeting, helping my husband with his business, or heading home to bake something for a custom order from a client. Trying to find some downtime is difficult. There are times I'm glad my husband and I don't have children - primarily because I wouldn't know where I would find the time to add a run to or from daycare, school, or extra-curricular activities for another individual in my household. (I'm really glad we rarely have to schedule appointments for our cat and chihuahua - and generally if we do, I have plenty of time to get it in on a fleeting "open" spot on my calendar without having to move a bunch of stuff.)
When we're running around so much, how do we find the time to keep healthy? I'm not just talking about physical health. I'm also talking about mental health. I often walk through the front door of my house, well after dark, set my keys and purse down and either slouch into a chair or head directly to bed - my body and mind completely exhausted from the day. When you think about it, when was the last time you just stopped and took a deep breath? (No, that deep sigh you just did doesn't count.)
As I'm approaching my late 30s, I find myself looking at my parents' health and thinking I should take some steps to start circumventing some of the issues they're dealing with. Did you know that stress is a contributor to "major modern killers" such as high blood pressure and heart attacks? This is something I'm sure we generally know, but do we ever really think about it? Changing some very minute and minimal things in our everyday lives can make more of a difference than we realize.
Did you know meditation lowers blood pressure? Did you know that lavender helps lower the heart rate and blood pressure?
I was really glad when the folks over at The Peace Chain reached out to us to introduce themselves - and their timing couldn't be better as I'm looking at ways to introduce more healthy and mindful practices into my stressful lifestyle. Starting recently in Pittsburgh, The Peace Chain offers an easy, tangible way to remind you to take a moment for yourself. It combines a "small bundle of lavender" contained within a handcrafted pouch with "Peace Chain" written on it - all attached to a convenient key ring so you can carry it with you. I love the smell of lavendar - and I use lavendar-scented dryer sheets in an effort to have it in small part included throughout my day. Thinking about having lavendar on a keychain with a written reminder for me to find peace in my day may be the quickest, easiest way for me get on board that mindfulness train to relaxation and better mental and physical health. And, I get a second Peace Chain in a package so I can share with an equally stressed and fast-paced friend - to remind them that I'm thinking of them, and that they should stop and take a deep breath every once in a while, too.