5 Ways to Find Tranquility in the New Year

Is it just me or have the past few years felt like a whirlwind – a dizzy, disconcerting blur of time that I am no longer able to account for?! I mean…what did I even do last week? I don’t know…but I’m fairly certain the minutes zoomed by before the clock even registered it.

family huggingMaybe it’s true what they say: the older you get, the faster time goes. And there’s nothing that makes time speed up even faster than having children.

With all the activities, obligations, and tribulations that come from their presence, it can sometimes feel like we moms are terrible Vaudevillian masters of the plate-spinning competition. Stacking ever-higher, spinner ever-faster, the frenetic pace grows until it feels like we just can’t do it any longer.

But it doesn’t stop. Ever.

In fact, life just keeps stacking and spinning with no concern for our feelings. And time just keeps sprinting past us despite our best efforts to slow it down.

So, how can we overcome this feeling to find tranquility? What can we do to make the most of this (and any other) time in our lives? Here are a few tips to manage those hectic intervals with grace and gratitude.


I know it sounds obvious, but the act of focusing on breathing really can improve one’s emotional and physical well-being. Best of all, it’s free (which I always like), it can be done anywhere, and it’s supremely uncomplicated. Just take a moment to close your eyes, count to three as you breathe in, and do the same as you breathe out. That’s it! Easy!

Take a Walk

I am a runner – I like to go fast. I am also a car rider – I like to drive fast. But you know what I don’t like to do?? Go for a walk. Why? Because it’s slow and endless and feels unproductive. However, when the goal is to slow down time, walking is the perfect activity. Not only does it allow for you to be mindful and take note of your surroundings, but it also allows you to clear your head and organize your thoughts in a way that the huffing and puffing of other activities may not. Sometimes it’s important to remember that not everything has to be “productive” to be beneficial. Slowing down (or partaking in active rest) is just as significant as working hard.

Speak in Mantras

Sometimes it helps to have a scripted line or two in your mind, playing on a loop, to remind you that your goals (for peace, serenity, or whatever) are achievable. For example, when I was training for a marathon years ago, it helped me to repeat the words “step by step” over and over again as I ran (until I remembered that New Kids on the Block song and got that earworm stuck in my head). Regardless, a mantra is just another approach to mindfulness and, if you can sidestep poor song choices, they are a helpful tool on one’s path to calm. After all, when the world starts to feel wonky, mantras become a sort of compass to help inch us back onto our intended track.

Give Hugs, Get Hugs

Sometimes life is hard, and we could all use a hug! When I’m having a bad day, a mad day, a disorganized day, or a throw-in-the-towel day, the one magic bullet that makes it all better is a hug. From my kids. From my husband. From my parents. From my friends. Hugs are simply the best!! And giving hugs while saying things like, “I’m glad you’re in my life,” is the best way to reframe your focus for the day.

Write Love Notes

So, maybe we can’t really slow down time…but we can memorialize the little things. The best way to do this is to write notes to the people you care about (and maybe they’ll do the same for you). It doesn’t have to be fancy or even in your best handwriting. Just a short, sweet note letting someone know how much they mean to you can be a great way of slowing the hectic pace and reminding you (and them) of the things that matter most!

As a fellow mom – one who is also caught up in the hustling and bustling, rushing and ripping, spinning and swirling of this era – I can assure you, it’s no easy feat to find calm in our increasingly hectic world. As mothers, we bear the brunt of orchestrating and organizing the lives of our family…and it’s hard.

Though there will never be a magic device to make us stop the clock, we can do our best to make the most of our time and find tranquility while we’re here. Sometimes the spinning will be too much to handle, it’s true! We may even drop a plate, from time to time, and it’s okay. It happens. Just don’t forget to breathe, take a walk when you need it, keep a few meaningful words in your mind, and be ready for a hug. The love notes will follow, along with the calm, and the world will keep turning.

Step by step.

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Cindy Vattathil
Cindy is a native Houstonian who has lived in the same five-mile radius within Spring Branch her entire life. As an artist, she originally had dreams of living in NYC. However, because her least favorite things include cold weather and crowds, it clearly wasn’t meant to be. Aside from the warm climate, her favorite things about Houston include knowing where the best taco trucks are parked, pointing out personal landmarks, and avoiding Loop 610 like the plague. When she’s not doing those things, you can find her running an occasional lap, reading the latest novel, making art, or doing all the stuff you can imagine from a mother of three (except for making Jell-O – never ever ever!). One day she even hopes to write a novel…but that’s another story. In the meantime, you can check out more of her words at www.cindywrotethat.com. You can also check out her art at www.paintingwithscissors.com or follow along on her quest to read all the books on Instagram.


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