Hello everyone! I hope everyone had a lovely Friday, and if not, at least it’s the weekend :)
Today’s post is going to be a little different. When I first started this blog I envisioned it to be a place where I would post on everything from recipes, to healthy living tips, to exercises I enjoy and just general thoughts. I’ve gone on a recipe binge though, which I love and have loved doing (I mean it means more tasty food to enjoy!) but I want to get back to other ideas and topics that are important to me as well. This will help keep things interesting and take a little pressure off of coming up with a food idea all the time.
Today I want to talk about “me time”, something that I think is underrated and under appreciated in today’s society. We have so many demands on our time now from work, friends, family and even our computers through blogs and social networking sites! I am definitely the kind of person who likes staying in and likes being alone, therefore you might think that I get a lot of time alone. And I do. But that’s not what I mean here. I’m not talking about answering emails, reading twitter comments, watching tv or checking your phone for text messages, even if you are doing these things alone. I think we forget that sometimes we need time to decompress- to disengage from the world around us and focus on what exactly is going on inside. Too often I find my time consumed actions such as these:
- window shopping on the internet for things I don’t need simply because I saw an ad for it on another page or I got an email about an ongoing sale. I never stop to think about whether I need these things or whether I could be spending my time in a more constructive way than wanting things I can’t have
- mindless TV watching. I tend to throw the TV on in the morning as background noise and fall asleep to TV at night. What this does though is closes off my mind from opportunities that could otherwise offer valuable time for self-reflection
- checking Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Gmail AGAIN. Am I really that important? Is anything going to happen on there that will dramatically affect me if I don’t check it every 5 min?
When you are constantly engaging in these actions, you are opening yourself up to certain kinds of thoughts as well such as:
- I need that piece of clothing/electronic/product to feel happy
- I need other people and things to keep me occupied
- Spending time alone, not interacting, is time wasted
- I need people/things to experience enjoyment
Even beneficial activities such as reading and working out can simply act as distractions that cloud our thoughts. And while there is nothing wrong with them in-and-of themselves, in fact they are very beneficial and important, they are one more thing on the ever growing list that is occupying our minds and preventing us from self-reflection.
And it just doesn’t give you any time to learn and appreciate what’s happening with you. We forget to consider these things:
- How am I really feeling today?
- How did I feel about that conversation or that incident?
- What did I really enjoy doing today?
- What/who made me happy today?
- What is making me happy long term?
- What can I change to be happier?
- Do I feel balanced?
- Do I feel at peace with myself?
- Do I feel joyful?
These are important considerations that are very easy to get distracted from.
And when you take time to understand how you are really feeling you can make meaningful changes in your life for the better. You learn where to spend your time and how to engage with others in a way that is best and right for YOU.
So I am making a change in my life. Scheduling some me time.
My 30 Minutes. 30 Minutes a Day of just me.
This is definitely going to be a challenge. What I think will work best for me is splitting that 30 min up into two 15 minute blocks each day, one in the morning and one at night. I’ve been brainstorming ideas of activities or things that can help self-reflection and introspection. While I do engage in some of these activities already, I am going to strive to make these a more regular part of my weeks.
- Goal Journal: keep a journal of your goals both short and long term. Take a moment to write down in an activity you engaged in that day to help move you along. Is one of your goals to eat healthier? Maybe write down that you had a veggie-loaded dinner. Is one of goals to save money? Write down a time when you chose not to buy something that day. Looking at what you want and what you are doing to get there will keep you in tune with your goals and motivated to achieving them.
- Gratitude Journal: This is not a new concept, but one that I really want to make part of my daily routine. Take a couple minutes to jot down a couple things you are grateful for everyday, big or small. Happy that it’s sunny out? Amazed at a thoughtful act by a friend? Write it down and go back over past entries. This will help us remember what’s important and serve as an important reminder when maybe it’s hard to be grateful.
- Light Stretching/Yoga: While this could be termed “exercise” light stretching and yoga is an opportunity to take time to focus on your breath and really think about how your body feels. Do you have tightness anywhere? Lacking patience to breath slowly hold a pose? Is your balance off? Or do you feel loose, energized and focused? Just take note and don’t judge. This is good information to inform the rest of your day.
- Take your coffee/tea/water outside and breathe in the fresh air.
- Take a bath, light some candles and just revel in the calming feelings and smells.
- Listen to music: generally I would say listen to calming music that isn’t so distracting so you can take time to think, but if you are feeling energized and great and just want to move? Then blast that dance music and just focus on how good you feel!
- Put a pen to paper. Just write or draw with no intentions or plans and see what comes out. I used to not think anything worthwhile or productive could come from this and sometimes, nothing does. But other times what I find myself doing surprises me.
- Breathe. Sometimes I like to lie on my back, hands on my stomach and feel the rise and fall of my stomach and just get lost in it. I remember I started doing this once for 2 weeks straight and because I had been focusing so much on taking full deep breaths, my lower abs got firmer, so bonus!
- Eat your breakfast/lunch/dinner alone, with no TV or books to distract you. Focus on what you like about the food and how you feel. Added bonus here too: noticing when your full, whether you are really enjoying the food, and whether you’re eating because you’re hungry or a myriad of other emotions like bored or sad
- Take a walk. Instead of listening to music, take time to listen to your surroundings and your own thoughts. Get some fresh air into those lungs!
- Repeat a mantra that you find inspiring, calming or centering. I am worth it. I deserve good things. I am beautiful. Find one that works for you! I think this would really help remind us that we are deserving of a rewarding life and maybe help motivate us to carry our mantra into the rest of our life.
And no matter what you do, during “My 30 Minutes”….
- No cellphone. Turn it off if you have to.
- No laptops, TVor social media devices. Do your writing in an actual notebook with a pen. This will remove temptation to “check your email real quick”. Plus actually holding a book in your hands is really satisfying.
- Be alone! No interruptions. If there are others around just ask that they leave you be for a few minutes.
- Have fun! This is supposed to be enjoyable, not a chore. So if you set out to do 15 min but are ready to tear your hair out after 5, leave it be. Don’t come to dread this time! Above all this is time to show some love to yourself!
I’m going to start doing this starting tomorrow and I’ll do updates every so often on how it’s going. No matter what comes up whether I learn or experience something significant or not, I think it will be time well spent :) I could absolutely use more time with no noise, no demands on my attention and no distraction.
Does anyone else do something like this or think they might benefit from more time truly alone?
I hope you all enjoyed this post, I really enjoyed writing it, but for some reason was a little hesitant when it actually came time to press the “publish” button. I’m sure most of my posts will still be food related but I would like to sprinkle in some other things here and there. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Tomorrows post: lemon coconut hemp seed bites!
Have a lovely evening!