I’m sure that most of you can relate to the fact that life in America is moving at warp speed most of the time and we are pulled in way too many directions at once. We have come to accept, in some insane way that it is okay to have too many demands upon our life on a daily basis. Why and when this became the norm and acceptable is a mystery to me. The past four years of grief, loss, trauma and legal paperwork have certainly made me search for ways and time to make my life less chaotic.

For today I will offer you some of the tips that work for me.

1. Take twenty minutes and sit on your deck or patio. Just sitting in nature seems to allow me to breathe more deeply and feel immediately better about life.

2. Take a walk around the block or your neighborhood before the sun sets. Or better yet take a walk on your lunch break. Sitting at your desk doing additional tasks might actually back fire, at some point after sitting at a computer for several hours we all begin to lose steam. Taking that lunch break and taking time for a deep breath, a walk or some food is actually rejuvinating and could make the rest of your day more productive.

3. Play catch with your kids. (okay.. so I don’t have kids.) But I see my neighbors doing this and everyone seems to be having a good time, so I think it might be fun and refreshing for you and your children.

4. Walk your dog at the park or the beach. When I had my cocker spaniel Brandy we both enjoyed a nice walk on the board walk at Pacific Beach in San Diego. It was refreshing and a good way to wind down after a crazy day, she loved it as much as I did. It gave her extra attention and time outside, rather than just a quick stop in the yard.

5. Plant some flowers or vegetables in pots on your patio or next to your front door. If you have a yard make a special spot to create a herb garden or flower bed you can enjoy in the evenings. I find the smell of plants and soil relaxing. I also find the physical action of planting them and tending to them brings a calming pleasure.

6. Turn off the tv and read a book. Some evenings I set aside time to just sit and read a good book or write an old fashioned letter to a relative who doesn’t have email. There is a simplicity in the very act of doing something we rarely do these days.

7. Unplug… I know.. I just said that…can you believe it, and I’m a blogger…. but hey we all need the occasional day away from the computer and internet. I find taking that time to unplug very calming. Its a real wake up call to how much energy and time we spend plugged in.

8. Plan a lunch break with a special girl or guy friend and go somewhere new or different. Just spicing up the day with a new Thai or Indian restaurant and catching up with a friend can make your day much more fun! Think about making it a weekly lunch date.

9. Start a shared journal. My mom and dad I used to do this. I count those journals as some of my most precious belongings now that they’ve passed on. We used a simple black and white kids journal/school binder. To give extra strength to the pages we glued two or three together and each month we each made a page. We included pictures, quotes and special memories of things we did that month. That way even though we were far from each other we had something shared that would always be a memory of where we were and what our life was filled with at that time.

10 Take a long shower or a bath with your favorite bath products. I treasure Hawaiian products. They bring my mind immediately to the islands I love and relax me.