Allowing Time

In last month’s blog I explored the practice of self-care as a way to nurture the seedlings of our life, e.g. work, relationships, kids, creative endeavors. Nurturing these seedlings helps to ensure a bountiful garden. When we approach them only with our minds, we cut out a vital part of the equation. The universe, you see, responds not only to our thoughts but also to the way we are being.

If we are stressed, fearful, worried or negative — that’s what we will attract regardless of the mindful intentions we send out.

Dinosaur resting in hammock - Allowing TimeSince I have started to sit on the blue medicine ball at my desk, things have started to shift and other self-care practices are falling into place.

I put lotion on my body every morning, taking the time to feel inside as well as outside. I eat without TV or book. Instead, I go out to my garden. True, my mind often steps in to entertain me, but I’m noticing more of what I’m eating. With repetition, the self-care tasks get easier and I notice other habits I can change.

One morning I woke up with the realization that I push myself too much. Behind all my pushing is the assumption that there’s not enough time. This is an easy assumption to accept in this fast-paced, technological world of ours, which continuously bombards us with information while constantly changing the rules of the game before we’ve even mastered the last set.

I often feel like a hamster running on a wheel — and not those cute YouTube hamsters that were having so much fun.

The belief that there’s not enough time generates a lot of stress in my life. Fear and panic take over whenever I can’t find something quickly enough, or it takes too long to get Mailchimp to do what I want, or the printer gets jammed or I’m stuck in traffic on the way to a speaking event. The story I tell myself is that no one will wait for me and I will fail.

What I need to remember is that when I am stressed, everything takes more time and time seems to move faster.

Reducing the stress in my life by mentally allowing myself more time turns out to be an excellent self-care practice. At a Meet-up on stress reduction, Vaihbavi Patel, the stress expert, recommended getting enough sleep. You do this by taking time to prepare for bed at night and by slowly transitioning to work in the morning.

I thought I already had my morning routine down. I get up at 5:30 am, do yoga, meditation, walk and eat, before I get on my computer. It takes about 3 hours. But at night I often get to bed much later than I want. Vaihbavi suggests preparing for bed at least 3 hours in advance — no eating, watching TV, or perusing Facebook posts. THREE HOURS!!!!????

My first response was rebellion — to eat late, watch TV and get to bed at midnight.

Her instructions, however, made me more conscious of my choices and their consequences for my body. The concept was sinking in.

Last Saturday, through some unfortunately miscommunications and wishy-washiness on my part, I ended up watching a movie with a friend until 1 am. I did this even though I always feel awful when I stay up that late — which I did. Finally I understood that this was not OK with me. So this week, when my friend called again to see if I wanted to watch a movie and it was after 10 pm, I said “No.”

Not only am I learning to prepare for bed earlier, I’m learning to take a stand for what I want! This is big shift for a life-long accommodator like me.

What’s interesting is that I am now allowing myself more time in the morning too. I’m not jumping out of bed at 5:30 am. I’m taking time to write down my dreams, which I can remember when I have enough sleep, and I’m setting my intentions for the day all while I’m still in bed. This might cost me an extra 30 minutes, but so what? Does it really make that much difference? Well, actually, YES, but in a positive way.

I’m more relaxed and less stressed for the rest of the day. This practice sets the tone.

What I am discovering is that self-care does not have to be a daunting project. I don’t have to drop a bunch of money on facials, massages and pedicures — although I hope I will some day. I can start small, like sitting on the medicine ball and eating mindfully. Magically my life begins to shift.

What self-care practices do you use? Please share in the comment section below.


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Grief, Loss and Death Expert Michelle Peticolas, Ph.D. helps professional women struggling with grief and loss to have peace-of-mind, closure and a life worth living. If you’re ready to shift into a whole new way of being with death and loss, a new way of living your life, get Michelle’s complimentary guide, Essentials for Grieving Well at

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