One of my teachers and favorite wellness gurus, John Douillard, recently wrote about taking the Royal Pace Challenge, and it really resonated with me. In our quest for “fitting in” self-care, it often becomes yet another to-do to negotiate with our schedule. So instead of just squeezing in a few minutes of self-care here and there throughout your week, try this on for size: Pick one day out of your week to live like a queen (or king), and enjoy life at a more royal pace.
What does this entail? Fortunately, untold riches and a cadre of minions are not necessary to reap the benefits of a royal pace. Any one of us can adopt a more royal attitude, if even for just one day, and enjoy the calm, pampering, and refinement that comes with a life lived well. Imagine the Queen, if you will (any queen will do), moving through her day. There is no rushing, no yelling, no unrefined habits like eating in front of the TV or a computer. She goes to bed early, she unwinds from her day of queenly duties with some pampering self-care, she rises in the morning calm and energized, leaving plenty of time for reflection and getting done all the things she wants to do. This may sound like a major luxury, but I promise you, one day a week is doable, even for the busiest, most hectic lifestyle. So give yourself this gift, and note how you feel after just one day of taking care of yourself the way you know you deserve. You just may get addicted!
Your Royal Day
1. Early to Bed, Early to Rise: A queen would never be caught dead working into the wee hours of the night, or worse yet, watching reality television. On the night before your royal day, give yourself the gift of an early bedtime.
- Get the kids to bed (if you have them), or finish whatever work you have early and draw yourself a hot bath at 8pm, with some lovely essential oils of lavender or rose. Soak the day away, and then crawl into bed with a good book (not a Kindle or iPad… so un-queenly!) no later than 9:30 (a very queenly bedtime).
- With such an early bedtime, waking up a good hour or two earlier won’t be a problem! A queen rises early and has plenty of time to take care of herself before launching into her day.
2. A Queenly Morning: Use your extra hour or two in the morning to meditate, do a calming workout like yoga, take an early morning walk, or do some writing. Your morning sets the tone for your whole day, so on your Royal Day, make the morning YOURS. Leave yourself plenty of time to get everything ready for work or the day ahead.
3. A Queen Never Rushes: Can you imagine a queen rushing into a meeting, 5 minutes late, out of breath and harried? Never! For your Royal Day, adopt a policy of being early for everything. Leave extra time for travel and commuting, and enjoy the process. Listen to some music, and maintain a calm, intentional, unhurried pace. Arrive where you need to be early, calmly, and with grace.
4. Eat Like a Queen: No, this doesn’t mean pigging out on foie gras. A queen would never pig out on anything! She eats delicately, calmly, and healthfully. She eats in an undistracted, lovely setting, and she enjoys her meals. You can do this too! In fact, on your Royal Day, you must. Leave yourself plenty of time for each meal (a queen never eats on the run!), and eat some delicious, healthy food in a calm, undistracted space. Sit at a table (not your desk!), or enjoy a meal outside. MAKE TIME for your meals so they can be an enjoyable, mindful event instead of a rushed afterthought. If you don’t have time to cook, than eat out somewhere lovely or order in (very queenly) from your favorite healthy restaurant. Set the table, light some candles, and savor. No cell phones, no TV, no work.
5. Take a Queenly Stroll: As every royal period film has shown us, royals love their meditative strolls. You may not have access to a manicured garden, but you can certainly take time out of your day for a leisurely stroll. After lunch, take a walk in the fresh air, clear your head, calm your thoughts, and reenergize for the remainder of your day. Breathe, observe, and enjoy your surroundings, if only for 1o minutes.
6. A Queen Never Multi-tasks: Can you picture a queen checking her email, talking on the phone, eating and working all at same time? Never! Today, if only for a day, practice the art of focusing on the task at hand, one thing at a time. This is crucial to maintaining your queenly pace of calm and balance. Block out time to accomplish what needs to get done, and when you find yourself drifting and getting distracted, just pause, breathe, and return to the single-minded activity before you. Throughout your Royal Day, be present to the moment you’re in. If you’re speaking to someone, really listen, in an undistracted state. In the evening, set aside some quiet time to relax with a single task. Read a book in your favorite chair, knit, write, paint,
7. Maintain a Queenly Demeanor: Power-crazed, beheading monarchs aside, a queen would never lose her temper or raise her voice. Throughout your Royal Day, if you feel yourself losing control or getting angry, pause, close your eyes and take a breath. Maintaining an external calm makes it so much easier to maintain an internal sense of calm! If you get stuck in a situation, ask yourself, what would the queen do? (WWQD??)
8. A Queen Observes… And Delegates: Obviously you still have to be productive on your Royal Day… Things need to get done. But take a page out of the queenly book, and learn to delegate, if only for this one day. At work and at home, try not to freak out if things aren’t done just so, if a bed isn’t made, or if someone dropped the ball. Calmly and gently delegate the task to someone else, or just breathe and leave it be. A true queen doesn’t rush to fix others’ mistakes, or point out their flaws. She moves through her queenly day observing, but not engaging.
9. Be a Kindly Queen: A good queen takes time for the small kindnesses that let those around her know they are appreciated. On your Royal Day, take the time to call your mom or a close friend and tell them you love them. Write a handwritten thank you note for a gift you received or a meeting you had. Complement those around you. You’ll find that when you radiate kindness, it calms those around you as well, making your entire environment more balanced, serene, and, well, queenly!
10. A Queen Makes Time for Herself: Throughout your Royal Day, be mindful of what you need. A queen makes sure her needs are met, and so should you! If you need a break, take it. If you’re dying to hit the gym, or have some quality time with your special someone, make time for it. Maybe all you need is an hour to yourself… take it.
This is just one day out of your life, but the benefits you’ll reap are boundless. Make note of how it felt to prioritize your needs, to not rush, to move through your day calmly, gracefully, and with purpose. You might want to adopt some of these queenly habits on a daily basis. Or, if not, make room in your life to give yourself this day with some regularity, if not weekly, than a few times a month. You may find that the more often you let yourself live like a queen, the more queenly you’ll naturally become in your daily life. These habits are amazing for developing mindfulness, for decreasing stress and anxiety, and for living with more balance.
Share your Royal Day experience in the comments below!