It’s been nutty around my house lately.
Between my dietary adventures, dreams of blogging schedule stability, semi-triumphant return to the world of running and Mr G’s work schedule, band practice and household maintenance it’s no wonder that we are in need of some decompression/un-plugging/time off.
Last weekend we decided to go out to the Humboldt Bay Wildlife Refuge and walk the loop. It was a beautiful morning despite the smoke from all of the fires and it was just what we needed to reconnect. With each other and with ourselves. The loop isn’t long but it was long enough to give us uninterrupted time to just be.
Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade when it comes to decompression from the stress that life seems to love dishing out. I’ve chosen 3 quick and easy tricks to share with you.
Step 1: TAKE THE TIME
I know, this seems like a no-brainer but you would be surprised at how many excuses we can come up with to not give ourselves the recharge that we need. Anything from “I really need to get this, this and this done.” to “I’m way too busy to have any time to myself.” to “I can’t take a vacation right now.” to “I’m a mom/dad, I don’t know what personal time is anymore.”. Here’s a few questions you can ask yourself regarding the reasoning why you are making excuses:
What do these internal sentences mean exactly?
Why am I making excuses?
Is my current overloaded mental state really helping anyone (myself included) out?
You don’t have to take a full-blown vacation or even a stay-cation to get away. Even a five minute mental break can do miracles. Some of my favorite things to do are:
-Physically get up from my desk/computer/task at had and walk for a few minutes. It’s a proven fact that physical activity of any kind has mental and physical benefits. Plus moving from one environment to another can re-boot the mind and bring some clarity.
-Close my eyes and take 10 deep (and I mean deep) slow breaths.
-At the start of my day I pencil in at least 30 minutes for myself to do something for myself. Be it reading, writing, exercising or wandering a thrift store. I know there are parents and folks out there that would think that this is near impossible. And I understand, but 30 minutes isn’t that long. I was overloaded a few years ago when Mr G broke his clavicle and had to have corrective surgery. I was talking (more like complaining) to a friend and he said, “Meadow, 30 minutes is not that long. Think about it.” I did and he was right. Take the time after the kids go to bed, before they get up. Make a slight detour on your way home. Set the timer if you have to. Your body, family and friends will thank you!
Yep that’s right.
From the smart phone, the computer, the television, the tablet. Include this in your 30 minutes a day if you want to. I’ve installed a rule in my life. No smart phone, internet browsing or social media between the hours of 7 pm and 6 am. And I steer clear on Sunday totally. (This is a recent development since returning to the world of blogging.)
It really does make a difference. We have become so dependent on our devices. I was in the doctor’s office yesterday and it was packed. I was checked in, grabbed a magazine and sat down. When I looked up 10 minutes later, I was the ONLY person not dickering around on a smart phone. Times sure have changed.
3. BE PRESENT
This may seem like an off shoot of numbers one and two but it’s not.
Ever gone to a restaurant only to see every person at the next table on their smart phones? Ever been at a concert and looked around only to see most people watching it through their filming smart phone? Is the number of followers and internet friends becoming more important than those folks that are in your life physically? Are you in front of a device while your partner is in front of theirs somewhere else in the house? Are your kids entertaining themselves in front of devices also and missing out on the world outside? I ask these questions because taking the time to really be present in whatever it is that you are doing will make you analyze not only the quality of your intimates, actions and thoughts but how you spend your time.
Here are a few things that I do to just be present:
-When going out with Mr G or friends I leave the smart phone at home.
-I stop what I’m doing and look around. Especially if I’m out in and about in nature. This world can be a breath-taking place.
-I utilize steps one and two.
There really is no science to enjoying life and decompressing. I know it’s hard, especially in today’s world where everything moves so fast and I struggle with it too. I guess that my view is as far as we know we only have one shot at enjoying being alive and it’s hard to not get wrapped up. I don’t think technology helps. But I can’t think of one thing that doesn’t have good and bad attributes. So it’s not totally technology’s fault.
Hopefully these quick steps of mine come in handy. If you have any of your own I would love to hear them. I’m always looking for new ways to be still in the moment.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”