11 Ways To Slow Down During The Holiday Season

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

I think I hear it and say it everyday:
“I don’t have enough time! I’m too busy!”

And now the Holiday Season is on it’s way…it can be overwhelming!

And quite honestly it’s true! You have kids, sports, groceries, laundry, cooking and often a job. Throw in a holiday party and you may come undone! When your children are young, they need your attention all the time. You often need to be with them where ever they’re playing.

Part of feeling busy is your perception of time. We all have a natural way of looking at time that is part of our basic personality. Do you see the world as a busy place? Then it is! If you can change the way you look at your day, maybe you can be less busy and feel like you have extra hours in your day.

I realize as I get older that some of my favorite moments in my life have been when time slowed down. I just have to remind myself how to do that! I follow some advice I learned from someone, somewhere long ago. While I don’t remember when or where, I do remember the advice: Make your day last forever. It’s my start to slowing a day down.

So, how do you make your day last forever? Here are some of my tips:

1. Get up one hour early.

2. Don’t complain about being busy. As you think, so shall it be. Try saying instead, “I have all the time in world.” I like to say,“This day will last forever”. When I have a busy day, this seems to slow the day down and give me more time. Read more about stopping the busyness here.

3. Stop the time wasters in your life. Everyone has different time wasters. Mine are checking my email, Facebook and other online related things.

4. Learn to say no. That’s a difficult one. But going out all the time during the holidays can create great stress. Just pick the events that really mean something to you.

5. When doing chores (or things you don’t like to do), time them. You’ll find you only spent about 5 minutes folding the laundry when it normally feels like a 1/2 hour or more.

6. Practice Mindfulness! Take time to slow down all you do. Stop completely at the stop sign. Look at the door you’re opening, slowly eat your food, enjoy the taste of your morning coffee or tea. Be present in the moment.

7. Be in nature. Take a moment for a short walk or even just going outside to watch the sunset. Bring your children out to see the sunset with you. It can turn into a lovely ritual.

8. Practice your hobby/passion a little everyday. Do you love to read? Do you like to write? Do you practice yoga? If you don’t have an hour or even 30 minutes… then do it for 5 minutes.

9. Breathe… In through your nose; out through your mouth. Have a small smile on your face as you breathe. It will tell your brain to be happy just like Thich Nhat Hanh’s saying, “Smile, breathe and go slowly.”

10. Feel gratitude for all the people and experiences in your life.

11. This is the most important – It’s the little things in life that make our day go slowly, a child’s smile, a hug and a great conversation. Don’t put those off these amazing moments just “to get things done”.

I think this quote by Eddie Cantor puts it perfectly, “Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”

If you have a few minutes, watch Carl Honore’s TED Video, In Praise of Slowness. It’s very inspiring!

Hope this helps you to slow down over the holiday season!

Like what you’ve read and want the newest posts from The Zen Mama’s Blog sent directly to your email? Just enter your email address below. I promise it won’t be shared:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Photo credits:



Posted in Balance, Letting Go, Mindfulness, Positve Thought | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

An Attitude of Gratitude Can Change Your Life – 21 Quotes For This Thanksgiving

ZTIPS:Gratitude Hendry Beach

When things are tough or I’m a little down I turn to GRATITUDE as a pick me up and a way out.

Gratitude is much more than being thankful. Thankfulness is an expression of happiness. Being thankful is telling someone you appreciate what they have done. Being thankful is being glad it didn’t rain on picnic day. Being thankful is happiness from a gift.

Gratitude is thankfulness taken to the next level. It is a heart-felt and intellectual acknowledgement of all that is good and maybe not so good in your life. It’s embracing uncertainty. To feel gratitude towards the bad things that have happened to us knowing that will lead you a new opportunity.

Here are 21 quotes that will inspire you to from simple thankfulness to heart-felt gratitude:

“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”
~Brian Tracy

“It is not good for all our wishes to be filled; through sickness we recognize the value of health; through evil, the value of good; through hunger, the value of food; through exertion, the value of rest.”

~Greek Proverb

Continue reading

Posted in Gratitude, Positve Thought, Quotes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Future Is Now… 9 Ways To Live In the Moment

From Eckhart Tolle's Book, The Power Of Now

From Eckhart Tolle’s Book, The Power Of Now

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
~ Buddha

There are so many things to take away us from the NOW. Thoughts of the future, regrets from the past, technology, concerns over your children’s lives, the news and the fear it generates, the economy and who’s to blame. Maybe you have health issues or financial worries. All these concerns take us away from the NOW and put you back in the past or into the future. This leaves you with the inability to appreciate this very moment and feel peace.

When we were young parents we learned a lesson on appreciating the NOW. We won a trip to Hawaii from a radio show contest about 16 years ago. We were thrilled. We got to stay at the Embassy Suites with a full breakfast (always important with kids!) and a rental car for 5 days. Little did we know that we’d be getting one of the biggest lessons we’d ever learn in life, “Don’t wish your life away!”

Looking back, we should have been appreciating the moment but we had just been thinking about the future and retirement. We woke up very early because of jet lag. The sun was just rising and the sky was pink and dark blue, the air warm and balmy and the ocean was just the right temperature. I sat on a beach chair with the baby, while The Zen Papa watched the boys, ages 5 and 7, chase the waves. A man in his 60s came up to the Zen Papa and they began to have a conversation. He was in Maui and retired. He had brought his whole family to be with him and his wife. The Zen Papa made this wistful comment to this man, “I can’t wait until I’m retired.” The man’s pointed his finger at the Zen Papa and said, “Don’t wish your life away.” It was a moment we’ve never forgotten.

Living in the moment seems simple but is not always easy. Here are 9 ways to NOT wish your life away and stay grounded in the present:

1. Before you put your feet on the ground when you wake up, think a pleasant thought or think about something nice you can do for someone else that day.

2. Close your eyes. Use your other senses besides sight. What are the smells? What do you feel on your face, the sun or wind? What are you hearing? If you are eating, then really taste the food instead of just eating to satisfy hunger. When you open your eyes you will be more attentive to the present moment.

3. Instead of always feeling stressed or anticipating some anxiety, go out and do something! Take a walk in a beautiful spot, workout; get your body moving and your blood flowing.

4. Be mindful, slow down. Wake up early and enjoy the coffee with your loved ones. Actually stop at every stop sign. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, drive away. Pay attention to where you’re driving and what you’re doing at work.

5. Make a list on paper, so that you don’t have Monkey Mind, that chatter or the running list that is always in your head.

6. Be quiet in nature. I try to go outside and watch the sunset or sunrise each day. I listen and watch the wildlife in our yard. Look at the stars. All simple things, I know, but it works.

7. Have a real conversation. Listen to what a person is telling you. Practice active listening. Look in their eyes, ask questions. Participate. Don’t think of something else while they talk.

8. BREATHE. Many eastern practices have helped people to breathe and live in the moment. Meditation and yoga are just two examples. Andrew Weil has a great breathing exercise.

9. Remind yourself of how lucky you really are. Gratitude can help you to remember this. Gratitude reminds you of all that is positive in your life.

While we never knew his name, the retired man on the beach in Maui left a big impression on us. And while we often dream of the future, we try to stay grounded in the present and remind ourselves daily of how lucky we are!

Running from the waves in Maui

Running from the waves in Maui

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”
~Henry David Thoreau

Like what you’ve read and want the newest posts from The Zen Mama’s Blog sent directly to your email? Just enter your email address below. I promise it won’t be shared:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Posted in Mindfulness, Positve Thought | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Unlock Your Creativity With This Wonderful Book!

Inspiration from the book STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST

I once had an argument about creativity with someone I once knew. He said that there is no such thing as creativity. I argued the point 6 ways to Sunday. But he remained adamant. His main point was that everything has already been done even if it was done by the ancient Romans. My main point was that didn’t matter because you didn’t know that ancient Roman and so you were able to be creative. In the end we agreed to disagree but I knew in my heart that creativity is a real thing.

Then I met my husband, who stated early on in our relationship, “If I had a boat I would name it Creativity.” I loved it! (and him!)

And yet when asked the question, “How are you creative?” my answer always was, “Oh, I’m not creative.” Because to me creativity = being able to draw. And I can’t draw. Then one day my middle child once told me, “You are creative mom. Look at your photography!” That remark totally changed me. My whole creative world has opened up thanks to my husband and three children who are extremely creative in many ways!

Since then I have pursued all my creative dreams from the photography he was talking about to writing…and now painting or any little projects that come my way. It doesn’t matter if the end product good or bad. It’s the process!

Then today I read this great little book this morning over coffee. It has inspired my creative process even more.

Great book I found at a second hand shop today.

Austin Kleon has 10 short chapters filled with wisdom to his younger self. In doing so he gives all his readers advice about how to start or change or inspire your creative life. It’s great advice for you and it’s great advice for your children or the people in your life.

From Amazon: You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.

When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination.

Early this morning I did a quick read through. Then I did another quick read aloud with my husband over coffee. Now I’m read again and taking notes. I love it and will buy this inspirational book for my creative friends – which is everyone! Now don’t say “I’m not creative!” because I know you are. I’ll be giving away my copy of the book. Just let me know below in the comments how you’re creative and I’ll enter your name in the giveaway!

Thanks Austin! And you can check out Austin’s website here.

Find this book on Amazon:

Posted in Book Review, Changing Ourselves, Creativity, Inspiration | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

15 Quotes by Louise Hay In Remembrance of a Life Well Lived

Louise Hay died recently at age 90. She was an American author, positive thinker and one of the founders of the self help movement in the United States. She left an abusive home and life, healed herself of cervical cancel and remained positive throughout it all. She eventually founded Hay House Publishing enabling like minded authors an venue for their amazing thoughts and ideas. Two of my favorites authors published by Hay House are Wayne Dyer and Dr. Christiane Northrup.

Louise Hay’s many books are many filled with positive affirmations. She even made a movie called You Can Heal Your Life: The Movie. (Read more about Louise Hay life on her website here.) I’m reading her book, YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE right now. (See the cover below!)

Here are a few of her inspiring quotes that I love and I hope will inspire you, too!

“I am in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.”

“Every thought we think is creating our future.”

“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

“I have noticed that the Universe loves Gratitude. The more Grateful you are, the more goodies you get”

“I am willing to release the need to be unworthy. I am worthy of the very best in life, and I now lovingly allow myself to accept it”

“You have the power to heal your life, and you need to know that. We think so often that we are helpless, but we’re not. We always have the power of our minds…Claim and consciously use your power.”

“Love is the great miracle cure. Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.”

“Life is really very simple. What we give out we get back.”

“I say “Out” to every negative thought that comes to my mind. No person, place, or thing has any power over me, for I am the only thinker in my mind. I create my own reality and everyone in it.”

“I do not fix problems. I fix my thinking. Then problems fix themselves.”

“I will not be distracted by noise, chatter, or setbacks. Patience, commitment, grace, and purpose will guide me.”

“Think thoughts that make you happy. Do things that make you feel good. Be with people who make you feel good. Eat things that make your body feel good. Go at a pace that makes you feel good.”

“Each day is a new opportunity. I chose to make this day a great one.”

“As I say YES to life and life says YES to me.”

“Know that you are the perfect age. Each year is special and precious, for you shall only live it once. Be comfortable with growing older.”

Goodbye Louise! You will be missed! Your words will live on and continue to inspire many.

I am giving away a copy of You Can Heal Your Life to give out to a reader. Please leave a comment below telling me which quote you like best and why and I’ll enter your name for the drawing!

Want more of Louise Hay? Watch this interview.

Posted in Book Review, Positve Thought, Quotes | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

7 Quick Ways To Do An Gratitude Adjustment Today!

Cultivate the Habit of Gratitude

We take so much for granted and often don’t appreciate what’s good in life. That’s where gratitude comes into your life. Practicing gratitude changes the way we look at life. Gratitude is a habit. We can get out of this habit when we concentrate on the negative aspects of life. However, like any habit, you need to practice.

Gratitude will make you happier and healthier. Once you started you’ll find more and more things that you’re grateful for.

Here’s seven gratitude adjustments to help you practice and make your habit stronger:

1. Wake up thinking something wonderful will happen today.
As you think so shall it be.

Continue reading

Posted in Changing Ourselves, Gratitude, Positve Thought | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Add A Little Hygge To Your Life to Slow Down and Create Joy!

“Hygge was never meant to be translated. It was meant to be felt.”
~ToveMaren Stakkestad

I was at a farmer’s market recently and came across a little booth selling Hygge items! I was intrigued as I’d been hearing about Hygge and had experienced it some when we were in Europe. Alexandra Gove and her husband Koen first travelled through Europe selling their products. Now they have moved from Europe to Colorado and started this little business called Hygge Life. (Read more of their story here.)I bought this wonderful book, called the Little Book of Hygge (and one of their towels that are more like comfy scarves):

Continue reading

Posted in Balance, Book Review, happiness, Letting Go, Mindfulness, Positve Thought, Zen Meals | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

30 Acts of Random Kindness To Practice

image from justpooh.com

image from justpooh.com

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
~ Plato

Do you ever think about teaching kindness? It sounds very simple but sometimes I think we expect our children to be naturally kind but in fact, like any other personality trait, only some have kindness as a natural part of their personality. And as most parents know, the best lessons are taught by example. You can model kindness. You can be kind to your children. And together you can do Random Acts of Kindness.

Did you know that this week is Random Acts of Kindness Week? It lasts from February 12th through February 18th. What a perfect week to coincide with Valentine’s Day, to teach kindness and love for people we love and for people we don’t even know.

Continue reading

Posted in Kindness, Parenting, Positve Thought | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

21 Ways To Save Yourself From Anger

Save yourself from sorrow!

Save yourself from sorrow!

Kids change your life. We all know that! Before I had kids I imagined all the ways. Was I ever surprised that I often found myself getting angry! I thought of myself as a very calm person. I was never really angry before I had kids but suddenly something would just begin to bubble inside and I’d erupt. Not exactly the best thing for a mother to do to her children. Then I came across this Khalil Gibran quote:

“If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?”

I knew I needed to change. That’s when I decided to become a “Zen Mama”.

What’s the motivation to stop being angry? It’s one of the best ways to happiness for you and the people in your life.

• Anger puts others on the defense.
• It shames and humiliates them.
• It can lead to anxiety.
• Anger can give you health problems.
• Anger causes guilt.

Continue reading

Posted in happiness, Letting Go, Parenting, Positve Thought | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

2 Ingredient Banana Pancakes – A Delicious Zen Breakfast

Yum! The best Zen Breakfast! Easy and good for you!

Over the past two years we have been trying to eat more healthy foods as a lifestyle change, not a diet. It’s amazing how many healthy recipes are still delicious. It’s all about taste. And most of these recipes don’t have too many ingredients. In fact I’ve recently read that if you should find recipes or items you’re buying that have 5 ingredients. These pancakes only have 2! (Minus the toppings)

I cannot believe how easy this breakfast is and how delicious! I am not a fan of pancakes because I just feel too full after eating them. But no this one. I found the recipe on Food Matters TV. Your kids will love them! They’re loaded with protein. They’re quite filling! And only 33 calories minus plus any butter or jam you add. This breakfast has the best of both worlds: they’re tasty and nutritious. It’s idea for your picky eaters.

Continue reading

Posted in Positve Thought, Zen Meals | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments