Another winter. Several months of dark before 5 PM and light after 7 AM. It was taking every ounce of energy for me to get out of bed. Me – the one who loves to get up, go to the gym before the chaos, and walk the streets of New York before everyone exits their apartments. Finally, I spoke to my doctor who recommended light therapy.
I have heard of using light therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) but was skeptical whether it would work. I was even more doubtful after spending $200 on the Northern Lights TRAVelite. $200!!!???? However, I learned something on this journey that I thought I would share with you. The ritual of five minutes of quiet time a day has brought me peace and body awareness. This “five minutes” also taught me that “a little at a time” rather than always needed hour-long blocks of time can actually go a long way!
How many times have we avoided doing something because it seemed complicated or would take too much preparation or time to actually do? I remember a recent conversation with a friend of mine who moved out of New York to be closer to family. She says she often sees me on Skype but does not want to call because she knows it would take so much time to do the call and catch up “the right way.” I told her, “You don’t have to worry about the call being lengthy. Skype me, say hi, put your son in front of the camera so I can see how he has grown, and then tell me you have to go. At least I get to see you for 5 minutes!” So ladies, we don’t have to be perfect and do everything just so. Let’s take FIVE MINUTES A DAY to do whatever you need to do – meditate, clean out your wallet, put those bills in a pile, Skype a friend, follow up on that email from three weeks ago, or read a magazine article. (Notice I said read an article, not the whole magazine!)
You may or may not believe me so let me share how I came to this. For several weeks, I used the TRAVelite and some days I forgot because “I had other things to do.” Slowly, I started coming up with various ideas to encourage me to do it. After all, if something is not rewarding, we eventually stop doing it. I noticed a huge pile of magazines and yes, I am a bit OCD and don’t want to throw them out. What if I am missing out on some neat ideas or information!? Each morning, I started going through the magazine, article by article. I was shocked at how quickly I got rid of the magazines and surprised that some mornings, it suddenly seemed OK to take 10 minutes under the light! And I did not feel guilty.
Once I was comfortable that my magazine pile was not as unbearably high, I started to journal. I needed this because my head seemed to be spinning with thoughts. At first, I was worried about doing this overwhelming task. After all, it had been a while since I “journaled” and I had so much to catch up on. But I did it as I found that putting thoughts down calmed my brain. And after about a week, my 3 page entries turned to a half page! Who knew?
So do it. Take five minutes a day to do something for you.
Do any of you have any rituals you would like to share? Are there any rituals you wish you had? Any you used to have? I would love to hear from you!
Last year I started doing Yoga. I know it sounds so cliche… yoga to clear your mind, but it surprisingly has helped me tremendously. You make a good point to take 5 minutes out of your day to stop and do something for yourself. Sometimes it's a struggle to even do that. I found in my 60 minutes of yoga, I get to clear my head, not be within reaching distance of my cell phone, not have my computer in front of me and just focus on my breathing. It has really helped me focus and feel more in control of my actions/reactions.
Might investigate those lights, yoga has really helped me as well….