Peace. What is it? You know the word, and what it means, but what does it mean in 2022 to find peace? Once we find it, how do we keep it? During the next few minutes, we’ll talk about what it is, how to find it, and how to have a greater sense of it during our busy, frequently-not-peaceful days.
Mirriam-Webster defines peace as a “state of tranquility or quiet,” or “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.” Those sound pretty good to me, and I wonder if any of you would like to have more tranquility and freedom. While the solutions to finding personal peace can be pretty radical, (Go on a spiritual retreat! Become a minimalist!), I’m going to suggest five ways to find peace right where you are.
P: Find a place where you can be still and quiet, even if for just a few moments. This might be a bedroom, a closet, or even the bathroom (provided you don’t have little ones at home)! Close your eyes and just rest in the stillness of the moment.
E: Empty your mind of all the things that are swirling around you. Dishes to be done, mail to be sorted, calls to be returned…all of it can wait for a few minutes. Let your mind settle while you breathe in and out slowly and deeply. As you exhale, imagine you’re pushing all the day’s tasks away with your breath. Think about peaceful places, people, and experiences during these moments. While you may have enjoyed being a Room Mom during the Holiday party at your child’s school, this isn’t the time to reflect on that experience. Let your mind and body rest. Let your head droop, rest your shoulders; shake the tension our of your arms, hands, legs, and feet. Just rest your mind for a moment or two, focus on your breathing: slowly in, slowly out. Strive to make your exhale twice as long as your inhale, inhaling for a count of 4, exhaling for a count of 8.
A: Ask for help. This is often the most difficult of these steps, but sometimes we need to ask for a neighborhood teen to come and watch the kids while you go to the grocery store, the bank, and the post office. As you go through your day, ask yourself honestly where you need the help, and do your best to make it happen. Maybe you could ask your parents or your in-laws for help so you can have a long overdue coffee with a friend.
C: Clear your horizontal surfaces. Clutter is a notorious peace-stealer, and we have all been overwhelmed at the sight of a cluttered nightstand, dresser, or kitchen counter. Take a few minutes to pick one area and clear the clutter, and you might feel so accomplished that you want to spend a few more minutes tackling an adjacent area. Turn on some music, set a timer, and make it a family affair!
E: Have you eaten today? (Coffee isn’t food!) It’s hard to feel our best when we are running low on calories. There’s a reason the word “hangry” exists, and it’s for situations just like this. Don’t shortchange yourself and think you're too busy for breakfast or even an afternoon snack. The 3pm slump is real, and sometimes, we just need a bite to eat and some water. Taking care of our families but not ourselves is an exercise in futility, and there’s no nobility in punishing ourselves by not eating well and drinking sufficient water.
The pressures of family, work, and community obligations can seem unbearable at times, and as you read this, I hope that you felt like it was possible to go on a little detour to find relief from those pressures, if even for only a moment or two. If you still feel overwhelmed and like you can’t quite make sense of your noisy world, please give us a call at Calderas Counseling. We’d love to work with you to help you find the peace that you deserve.
Heather Redmon February 2022