The world seems to be such a busy place. There is always somewhere to be and something to do. I found this to be especially the case when I became a parent. It is so easy get caught up in the hustle and bustle of things and forget to look after ourselves. The problem is that living such a high paced, hectic way of life isn’t good for the soul and inevitably leads to burn out. It was experiencing this burn out that led me onto my new path and was the catalyst for me to begin on a journey of mindfulness and self re-discovery.
Starting on my journey of mindfulness and self re-discovery felt like a really daunting prospect. The idea of completely overhauling my life seemed a little too much to deal with in one hit. Instead I decided to change old habits and introduce new ones gradually, starting with the small things.
Buying Fresh Flowers
Having fresh flowers in the house lightens my mood and flower arranging feeds my creative nature. I love being able to alternate colours and change arrangements with the seasons. I also found that by setting a routine of buying flowers on ‘x’ day, pushed me to get out of the house, even on days when my motivation had evaded me. I tend to find that by the time I get back from the florist, I’m brimming with creativity and new ideas.
There is a lot of research on the benefits of exercise and I’ve mentioned before that it is one of the quickest ways to lift my mood. But it goes further than that. Taking the time to exercise gives me the time to re-centre myself. I focus deeply on my breathing and enter an almost meditative state to help me through those final reps or those last 10 minutes. In the longer term, regular exercise makes me feel stronger and more confident, which can only be a good thing.
Shopping for myself
When I became a mum I often felt an enormous amount of guilt when I bought clothes. This meant that I gradually bought new clothes less and less, until eventually I had very little to wear and what I did have was incredibly worn. I was still regularly wearing baggy maternity clothes nearly two years after my pregnancy with my youngest child. The problem lay in the fact that fashion is actually a main interest of mine and I use it as a vice for self-expression. When that aspect of my life is dampened, so is my personality and with it my mood. In order to keep my mind, body and soul in equilibrium, I need to nurture all the parts of myself that make me… well me. So I began to retrain my mind and made a point of buying new clothes for myself when I bought the boys new clothes. It took a bit of time, but I now no longer feel guilty when shopping for myself.
Learning to say no
I used to have a rather bad habit of spending myself too thinly in order to please everyone. I would try and rearrange my schedule in order to cater for this friend or that family member, inevitably it just made me stressed, ill and with little time to do what I actually wanted to do. So I started saying no and doing things I wanted to do instead. I stopped feeling obliged to go to that birthday party, or that dinner and instead thought about what I actually wanted to to. What seemed like such a seemingly small thing, actually made a monumental difference in how ‘hectic’ and ‘busy’ life was.
I’ve always been an avid reader and love throwing myself into different worlds full of complex characters and riveting storylines. However when I started my first graduate job which included 11 hour work days and 2 hours of travel, it left little time for reading… so I just didn’t. I then moved and my entire collection of books were stuffed in numerous boxes, which is where they stayed until after the birth of my eldest child months later. I then got swept up in the world of parenting a newborn baby, which came complete with severe sleep deprivation, constant nappy changes and again very little time spare for reading books. I then had my youngest child and so the pattern replayed. It was only when my youngest child turned two that I picked up my first book in years. The truth is, it wasn’t a case of not having the time, but more of me not making the time. Similar to my point about fashion, literature has always been one of my main interests and in order to keep myself balanced, it is vital to nurture all parts of myself that make me… me. I now don’t ‘find’ the time to read, I ‘make’ the time to read and have placed it in my bedtime routine.
Taking time to just be
Whether this is laying in bed listening to sounds of the ocean, taking part in a guided meditation or just sitting in silence with my own thoughts, I now take the time to just be. In a world that is so busy and incredibly hectic, it is easy to feel that time doing nothing is time wasted. However in reality it is vital in order to care for and nurture our minds. Taking the time to just be allows our minds to rest, reenergise and rejuvenate.
A journey of mindfulness and self re-discovery
The smallest of things make a huge difference in how we feel about ourselves and for me personally it all tends to begin with making small changes in order to properly care for myself. I’m not always successful on my journey of mindfulness and self re-discovery, but then again Rome wasn’t built in a day. It was however, built by placing a few stones down daily.