It's amazing what you can do with an extra day! A little more time to spend with family, get in a work out, start or finish a project. Have you ever noticed when we find ourselves with a bit of extra time, we feel a need to fill it? Why is it so hard to create space and just let the day unfold? Maybe you are better at this than I am, but I feel like I must accomplish a certain amount before I give myself permission to relax and do what I want. If, like myself, you juggle many roles, you probably feel compelled to do your best and not let anyone down. The problem is that you end up letting yourself down.
In the "Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" (if you know me, you know there was no way I could resist this book), author Marie Kondo suggests letting go of anything that does not "spark joy" as a method of organization. I love this notion and think it is a great way to look at life choices as well as organization. Certainly, not everything will spark joy but if we can find more joy in the work, food, and habits we have, perhaps our happiness would increase and thus, our health too. This idea is at the heart of mindfulness, and in a world of distraction, is a method that is gaining traction in diverse environments.
So, how exactly does one define mindfulness? According to Psychology Today, "Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience." Sounds pretty good but also a little elusive. My suggestion is to choose a focus. Bring mindfulness to your workouts, noticing what the body is capable of and how it feels rather than how many calories you're burning. Maybe you choose to eat more mindfully and notice the taste and texture of foods, paying attention to the experience of eating and nourishing your body rather than
eating while you surf the web, drive somewhere or watch television.
It's hard not to get sucked into the culture of busy and thinking multi-tasking will allow us to do more. Research shows that for the most part, multi-tasking is a myth. We are actually switch-tasking and the mind is not really meant to be used in this manner. Watch this short youtube video and try the test to see how well you multi-task. www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCeGKxz3Q8Q The truth is, we might be able to empty the dish washer while talking to a friend on the phone but that doesn't mean we can type an email while talking on the phone. If you've unsuccessfully tried this, you know what I'm talking about. Yet, in spite of irrefutable evidence, we still see people (sometimes it's us!) trying to do too many things at one time. Employers will specifically seek those with the ability to multi-task and the world spins obliviously on while we wonder why we feel tired and wired. Our ability to get things done feels like it is slipping away and an exhausted, unfulfilled existence becomes the norm.
Break the cycle! Let's choose a focus: eating, exercise, family time, and try to attend to and live in that moment. Savor the details and let go of what you might be missing to allow yourself to enjoy what you are not. It's not easy, and like anything takes practice but you can get back the joy of reading a book, snuggling with your spouse or even taking a nap if you can simply focus on one thing. If you are of a certain age, you know what I'm talking about. If you're not, trust me, it feels fantastic! Find 5 or 10 minutes and allow yourself to do just one thing. It may feel strange at first but give it some time and see if maybe, just maybe a little less distraction goes a long way.
Book Worth a Look: www.amazon.com/Organized-Mind-Thinking-Straight-Information/dp/052595418X