Ever since I started my career on an international stage at 18, I've tried to practice elements of "slower living," many of them adapted from my memories of childhood in Holland.
Now that I’m a little older (and a lot wiser), I'm convinced that this slower living philosophy can offer anyone a way to stay sane even when they're being pulled in a million directions.
It’s certainly what’s helped me. I’m a mom, a businesswoman in the midst of filming a new TV show, and an entrepreneur crafting a lifestyle brand around all things flowers, so I know the stress of finding the ideal (and elusive) work-life balance.
I follow these simple tips to achieve zen. Anyone can use them to stay calm amidst life's hustle and bustle.
1. Practice yoga and meditation (even if it's just for a few minutes).
It’s surprising what a mere 10 minutes of yoga and mindful relaxing a day can do to calm the waves of stress. Yoga helps me connect my mind and body, and release some of the day's negative energy. When I can't fit an entire yoga class into my schedule, I go back to my Holland roots and practice simple quiet time. No screens allowed! I find some of my most sincere moments of meditation and clarity come from the conscious time I can spend practicing this simple task.
2. Slow down and drink a cup of tea.
Tea can help create a beautiful zen moment no matter the season, especially when you treat yourself to a sweet cookie along with it. There's something incredibly satisfying about the process of making tea. It almost becomes a meditative act all in itself — warming the water, steeping the tea (or using fresh herbs and leaves from my kitchen plants), then taking a deep breath and inhaling the fragrances as I sip. It does wonders to lower my stress and help me let go of the day.
3. Fill your space with flowers.
Growing up, I experienced the multiple ways that flowers can positively impact daily life. Today, my company is centered on their amazing healing power. Studies show that flowers, whether presented as a bouquet or single stem, evoke pleasure and positive thoughts. It's impossible to do justice to all the ways in which flowers affect us. Fresh flowers are a multi-sensory experience — their beautiful colors and lovely scents can bring such a sense of calm. The more fresh flowers that surround you, the better!
4. Surround yourself with friends and family.
Finding your zen doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Sometimes my most peaceful moments come with the company of good friends, food, wine and lot of laughter. Talking about the successful and the stressful parts of my day with those I care for helps me unwind. Preparing a meal with friends can be the perfect opportunity to do this — you'd be surprised at how stress can melt away (pun intended), in those moments of friendship and family.
Photo courtesy of the author