Easy Does It

Close-up of young woman with eyes closed, feeling the sunshine

Not many of us have the time or money to attend a spa weekend. But we can still find our inner peace one piece at a time.

That's what a practice called habit stacking is about — building a healthier lifestyle by incrementally adding positive habits to your daily routine. If the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown you out of step, habit stacking might help you regain your rhythm with modest, stress-busting practices.

Look for opportunities throughout your day to slip in some serenity. For instance, every time you go to your mailbox, you could make it a point to pause, take in the sights around you and slowly breathe in the outside air.

Here are some other ideas for stacking habits to relax and inspire you:

When you … Try this …
Wash up in the morning Smile at yourself in the mirror. Add in positive self-talk, focusing on your personal strengths and how you'll best address the day's challenges.
Eat breakfast Savor the first mouthful of food. Chew slowly and note the food's temperature, taste and texture. Later, take time to smell (and swish) the coffee (or tea), too!
Check your daily schedule Write down something or someone you're grateful for — and why. Then get in the habit of expressing your gratitude to that person.
Get behind the wheel of your car After you put on your seat belt, take several slow, deep breaths before you start the car, and again when you arrive at your destination.
Prepare for a meeting Roll your shoulders to release stress. Add in some neck and then some hand stretches.
End a meeting List the three most important things you have to do next, personally or professionally.
Finish dinner Take a moment to pet a dog or cat or hug a loved one. Then connect with a friend or family member online.
Go to bed Tuck your phone away at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Read a book or magazine, then pray or meditate for relaxation.

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