8 ways to reclaim your humanity

Yesterday I had a lot of big deadlines to hit. Plowing through work, I began to feel more like a robot than a homo sapien. So midway through the afternoon I made myself pause, found my dog’s leash and headed out with my canine into the chilly weather for a short, brisk walk. I made an effort to practice mindfulness: taking in long deep breaths, appreciating the leaves on the ground, feeling the blood pump through my body and connecting with fellow dog walkers.

How do you preserve your “humanness” in the face of a 24/7 world that loves to hand out badges of honor for busyness?


Do you sometimes feel as if you’re on a treadmill of to-do lists with no end in sight? Based on the life balance work I do with men/women around the globe, I’m offering up 7 ways to stay connected to our true nature.

Slow down. We’ve normalized “busy-ness.” Our external world is speeding us up—if we let it—we’re not wired to go non-stop. Pay attention to your body’s signals and get in the practice of “pausing” throughout your day.

Make friends and social connections a priority (lunches, walks, coffee dates). In our house we say, “People first, things second.” Our quality of life is dramatically enhanced by our friendships; we were meant to live interconnected.

Put technology in its place. Be careful of what you “normalize.” Remember you’re the master (not the slave here). Observe your habits. In our house mornings are unplugged and in the evenings we try and play quiet music that supports reading and winding down. All phones go to “bed” at 9 p.m. for the night.

Do nothing. Ever heard the advice, “Don’t just do something, sit there.” Stillness nourishes us to our core. Look at the window. Lie in a hammock. Sit on your front porch or a park bench. Stare into space.

Seek out quiet, dark places. No, not your closet, I’m talking about natural areas in your state or the US where there is limited or no access to technology (like Big Bend National Park). Darkness nourishes us; our bodies need these experiences to recalibrate.

Take off your shoes and walk outside. Get barefoot on the earth. Walk as much as you can (it’s so good for your body and brain!). Every day go outside and “commune with nature” for at least 10 minutes.

Drink lots of good clean water and eat more fruits/vegetables. How much energy-infused food do you eat daily? My mom used to advocate for eating food that is alive, as opposed to processed, “dead” food.

Give/receive eight hugs a day. Hugs, back rubs, a.m. and p.m. snuggles, embraces with family at the beginning/end of each day—all these things elicit an incredibly positive biochemical response in the body.

These are all ways of being that are innate to the human experience. They’re hard-wired into who we are. On a cellular level, we know this stuff makes us feel good and helps us remember who we really are, but somehow we’ve lost our way.

We’re living in times that require us to reflect and question everything. Ultimately, I always ask, “How bad do you want to feel good?” Consider that even just adopting one or two of these ideas could make a big impact on how you feel pretty quickly (read Are you ready to feel good?). Let me know how it goes and hey, send me good thoughts as I do my best to instill a sense of mindfulness in our teen as he navigates technology and prepares to find his way in our wild, crazy, wonderful world.



Cathedral Park at the Bishop Jones Center where our May 10th 9-4 New Way of Being Mother’s Day weekend retreat will be held. Register now!

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Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/author/speaker and mindfulness advocate Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women experience balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum.  She is the author of three books on life balance and mindfulness including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 16-year-old son. More on her background here.

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