Hope you are all well.
Again it has been a while but I am been very busy hitting a self destruct button but that is another story, whilst trying to keep my finger off the button I have been looking after myself a little better and I don’t mean in the physical sense of mud baths and massages. I have been giving myself time.
Let me explain.
I have started reading self-help books on mental health and anxiety but as always with me I need to understand the science behind things before I can fully take it in. I went searching for an easy to understand entry level book and came across Ruby Wax and her books of her own story on mental health (Sane New World) and mindfulness (Mindfulness guide for the Frazzled) and how she needed to find out more about it and understand the ins and outs of her own mind to be able to better cope with her issues. I read the mindfulness book, of which I am a big fan, and I am only a few chapters into the other book and already I have been taking some of the things on board.
I’m not marketing for Mrs Wax not at all but I find some of the things she writes about are very similar and I can relate to them in some way. I wanted to share somethings I have learned so far and to issue you with a challenge of sorts. I had a brief conversation with a friend the other day about giving yourself time and it was nice to hear I am not the only one who struggles with inner peace and where to find the time. Some of you may well be calm and collected and at all times and able to cope with everything that life sends you but some, like me, whose life is like the duck on the pond. Effortlessly gliding around the pond, graceful and serene but below the surface legs and working ten to the dozen to keep going. This is me pretty much all the time, but not last week.
So what was different about last week I here you cry, well I gave myself time. Time is one of those things that we always say we never have and I do believe that at certain times of day we genuinely don’t but I challenge you to think right here and now do you have 10 minutes to can gift yourself?
Gift yourself, strange use of words, maybe but trust me on this. Modern society has us constantly on the go with one thing or another, the latest social media app, photographing every aspect of our lives and sharing it, watching the latest box set, buying the latest apps and taking part in latest craze. Then take into consideration the inner self, our minds and emotions. Think of the emotional range you have been through today so far, hopefully it has all been good but so far today I have had happiness, annoyance, anger, frustration, impatience and joy to name but a few, how many of these have you shared on social media or have felt you had to share with everyone? Then consider in relation to our emotions our relationships with those around us, work mates, family, friends and other loved ones. What feelings and pressures have to had from them today so far and what is yet to come.
Work in itself is a big one after all we spend nearly a 3rd of our adult lives at work where we all deal with more emotion and stress that draws on our time, for example, have to get that report in, someone has called in sick and we need to pick up the slack and new management and a dysfunctional work place. Is it any wonder we are frazzled, frustrated and exhausted at the end of the day/week. As I say some can cope with this fully and calmly and fantastic but some can’t and there is no shame in that at all. We are just wired differently.
So let me back track, I gave myself back some time and it has been a joy and made me look at things a little bit differently, I’m not talking about major cataclysmic changes but small changes that have made a difference to me. All I did was give myself some time and use it for me, purely selfishly and yes you are allowed to be selfish from time to time. I downloaded an app called Headspace and started their ‘Take 10’ program which comes free with the app and for 10 minutes every morning I would practices mindfulness. Some days were easy than others and not every day did I really feel I was getting anywhere but after a week I felt just that little bit more in contact with my inner self and learnt the very basic skills to calm my mind and order myself.
I wanted to push on and do more, I downloaded a guided meditation by Glenn Harold and listened to that a few times last week. To me this was about using the power of my own mind to heal myself and give affirmations that help me to calm and as I call it reset to baseline. This was more of a commitment as it was a whole 30 minutes, shock horror, 30 minutes a whole 30 minutes I hear you cry! I gifted myself that time and I have to say I was calm and relaxed all week and to be fair last week was, for me quite a stressful week.
The final thing I did was to stop. Just stop and see what is around me and ask myself if I am cool. This took no time as I used my train ride to work everyday. Normally I would listen to music and play games on my iPhone or I would read Facebook or the news anything to distract me on the 20 minute train ride and in that my mind would race around and the worries and stresses would come. However one morning I put my phone in my bag and took my headphones off and just looked out of the window, simple. I just sat and noticed the world as it went by but more than this it was about giving myself time to breathe and NOT think about everything else, just to notice the world around me and be at peace. Does that make sense? If it doesn’t the best way I can try and describe it was a bit of mindfulness out in the real world, noticing the things around me and not letting my mind full up with stuff, giving me a break without having to find the time to do it.
So that was 10 minutes a day, what’s that, a short conversation on the phone or not reading all of last night Facebook posts just incase you missed something or not reading the news. A couple of times a week I took 30 minutes, I’ll admit 30 minutes is more of a challenge but I promise it is worth it, challenge yourself.
That’s my challenge, for one week take 10 minutes daily and 30 minutes a couple of times a week to gift to yourself, try mindfulness or a guided meditation. If you commute, leave the phone in your bag or pocket and just notice the world as it goes by, give yourself a break. Some other things to try which I have also been trying, watch and TV programme all the way through and don’t pick up your phone to see if someone as left you a message or an update. Can you leave it 30 minutes of so and just enjoy the programme you are watching after all you must have put it on for a reason, you like the programme if not and you are just killing time gift yourself those minutes and reset yourself to baseline and gain some inner peace.
Give it a try, what have you got to lose?