Step back from the grind and take delight in the present moment.
By the end of last summer I was DONE. I felt stretched thin and was really struggling to be present in my day-to-day. My fiancé and I had spent three months traveling, going to weddings, and visiting family and friends. While all of this travel created sweet memories and a chance to connect with loved ones, I had become short tempered and consumed with work. I wasn’t sleeping. My nerves were frayed from little rest. I wasn’t myself.
I felt like it was time for a reset and I was ready for a change. In September, I was lucky enough to start working with a life and business coach. In 2016, I’ve started two businesses and helped build and work for another one. All of this growth presented me with incredible opportunities for my career and I’m grateful for every moment of this year so far. However, it took me awhile to adjust to my new role as a business owner and communications consultant.
In my new roles, I’ve had to learn again how to take care of myself and my relationships. Working with a coach has been incredibly helpful in piecing myself back together and adjusting to this new lifestyle. I’m happy to say that I have learned how to be more present and mindful in my day-today schedule. This practice is nowhere close to being perfect but I’ve come a long way!
“Mindfulness” and “being present” have become fun catch phrases recently, but they can also act as building blocks to cultivating a meaningful and happy life. Below are five methods I’ve used to be more mindful and present in my daily life:
Journaling helps you enter into a state of mindfulness by writing out your frustrations, emotions, daily happenings and future visions. Writing daily helps boost memory and comprehension. I’m not going to lie, it’s sometimes difficult to pick up my journal and pen every night but doing it consistently has been very healing. Through writing daily, I’ve become more self-aware by reflecting on my actions and thoughts. Buy a beautiful journal, large or big, and just start writing! Don’t be intimidated and don’t put any pressure on yourself to write a masterpiece. Just write whatever comes to mind, what happened that day or what you’re grateful for.
Clear Your Calendar
You can’t become re-centered if you’re constantly on the run! I decided to know my limits for socializing each week and became disciplined enough to not over-schedule myself. For example, I know that I can do about three social engagements out of the house per week, whether that’s a networking event or meeting with friends for drinks on a Saturday. Although this might seem overly strict, it’s helped me to clear my calendar and say “yes” to more quiet time for myself. Set a limit for yourself and stick to it!
I started a meditation practice in September and although it took about a month for me to see big changes, it has made a huge difference in my life. There are several ways to meditate: there are wonderful guided meditations online or you can simply set a timer to three minutes and focus on your breathing for the set amount of time. Meditating increases mental strength, focus and steadies your heart rate. Start by setting aside five minutes a day for meditation and I promise that you’ll start feeling more calm and present.
Practice Empathetic Communication
I was introduced to this concept by a therapist and it’s been life changing. The point of empathetic communication is to truly understand and connect with the person you are listening to- what they are saying verbally, what they are saying through their body language and what they are saying between the lines. When you are listening to someone speak, there should be absolutely no interrupting. Then, repeat back to them what they communicated to you, without your own input, but let them know what you heard them say. This form of communication helps to increase emotional intelligence and deepen your relationships. By using empathetic communication you can become more present and mindful to your loved ones.
Be Creative and Play
t’s so easy to get stuck in routine. There are bills to pay, work to get done and responsibilities to be met. Let yourself relax through play or being creative. Go to your local museum, take your niece to the park, or pick up a coloring book and let out your inner five year old. When we allow our brains to engage in play, our brain function increases, we become better at problem solving and we improve our social skills. Step back from the grind and take delight in the present moment.
What are your favorite ways to unwind? How do you create mindfulness in your daily routine?
Recommended Resources for Mindfulness and Being Present: