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Simple ways to find more ME time.

18-Apr-2016

Simple ways to find more ME time.

"For every minute you are angry you lose 60 seconds of happiness."

Modern life is busy and many of us get so caught up in the busyness of life that we lose the ability to see the spaces that are lying vacant in our day. Yes, vacant, don't gasp, even the busiest person has pockets of time where we could be investing back into ourselves. Standing in a queue, stuck in your car in traffic, just before you go to bed, prior to the first three times you hit snooze on your alarm, checking your social media feed, on the train to or from work etc. we are constantly wasting opportunities throughout our day to practice more presence and reestablish our calm space. Possibly, the reason that we don't acknowledge these spaces of time is that they appear to be too short to be of any use to us.  Conversely, these can be the golden moments that can help you reconnect with yourself and drastically reduce your stress levels on a daily basis.

Scanning this post? Scroll down to the bullet points for some action steps you can take immediately.

Many of us believe that to eat healthily, include exercise in our day or reduce our stress through meditation lots of time is required that we just don't have. We see working out as a gym membership. We see eating healthy as having the skills of a chef to prepare everything from scratch. We see meditation as something that we need a quiet space away from the rest of the world to achieve and a course taught by a guru to ensure that we are doing it correctly. The reality is that we are making the task of living well far more complex than it needs to be.

Finding time in our schedules to eat well, be active, give more time to our kids/partner/friends and generally feel more present in our lives often becomes another to do that we have to add to our already long list that will more than likely be pushed to tomorrow. Finding more time is not about adding more to your already busy schedule, it is about finding the spaces where you can take small positive actions .

If you are constantly feeling weighed down by a feeling of guilt the first step is to work out what that guilt is about. Are you annoyed because you never get to that yoga class you promised yourself you would start this year? Do you often feel like your days and weeks merge into each other and become a blur of endless and sometimes what can feel like meaningless activity? If we don't take small breaks to check in with ourselves we risk moving quickly towards an inevitable burnout and life spent in a constant state of angst and regret. It comes down to understanding what time we do have and working with that rather than creating unattainable goals. If you are struggling to find 30 minutes in your day for a lunch break to eat, what is the likelihood that you are going to ever make that 90 minute yoga class after work? Start with incorporating small shifts in your day and you will be quite surprised with how quickly the bigger gaps can appear.

The first step is to work out what it is that you want. More me time is a common angst. You spend your day rushing from the time you wake up through to that exhausting moment you collapse in a heap at the end of your day. In your head you are screaming for "a moment of peace" or "just a few minutes to yourself" but what if this time and space is already existed?

If you want to to incorporate meditation into your day. Spend a day noticing all the times that you find yourself with 2-5 minutes. Here are some pockets you may not have considered:

  • Waiting in line at the post office/ bank
  • Sitting in traffic on your commute to / from the office
  • On the train on the way to or from work
  • 5 minutes as you park your car at the front door before you approach home
  • Waiting for a meeting
  • The first 5 minutes of your work day

You don't need to be anywhere special to focus on your breath, you don't even need to close your eyes you just need to disconnect from your computer or you phone and reconnect with yourself. If you were to take these small moments of time that you would normally fill with a check of Facebook/Instagram, the rush from the car to your house after work or sitting in your car cursing the bad traffic and invest this time in some reconnection you might find that your headspace feels a little lighter throughout your day. Repeat this action 5 time through your working day and you have achieved almost half an hour of mindfulness.

By utilising the small spaces of time as they appear in your day to take a breath you may begin to find that you get to the end of your day feeling a little less cramped. By taking regular breaks to reconnect with yourself you are more likely to deal with your full schedule.

When you have that book sits on your beside table, what are the chances that you are going to read any of it before falling in asleep? Why not put it in your bag and use the few minutes that you are waiting in the bank queue to pull it out and have a read. If you have your yoga mat in the attic, what are the chances of getting it down for a workout anytime soon? Why not put it next your bed and start with some simple stretches for a few minutes before you go to sleep? It is the simple act of setting yourself up so that it becomes more of a convenience than an inconvenience to incorporate more of what you want into your life. When we begin to incorporate these small shifts into our life it becomes a stepping stone towards bigger shifts and before long you will have created a habit of making more time to do things that you want in your day. Here are some simple strategies you can use to be more active in your day.

If you want to be more active in your day :

  • Accept that a 5 minute workout is okay
  • Make it convenient for you to change into your workout gear 
    • (have it beside your bed when you wake up / take it in a bag with you to work) 
  • Schedule it into your diary.
  • Make an appointment with a friend to catch up and go for a walk rather than sitting down to a lunch
  • Do your phone meetings while your walking (it is called a mobile for a reason)
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift (yes, 40 floors is a great way to get active)

Creating more space in your day is all about losing the preconceived notion that you have to be somewhere special or do something a certain way for your actions to be effective. It's about finding a way that works for you and noticing that even a small amount of time can make the world of difference to your whole day.

As you begin to practice re-investing into your own wellbeing in small achievable bouts you may begin to notice that your overall productivity increases and before long getting to that yoga class after work or working out for 30 minutes in the gym first thing in your morning becomes easier to fit in.

 

 


 

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