Last week I found myself sitting in my car in a downtown parking garage feeling exhausted. All day I had been juggling Austin traffic, conference calls, schedule changes and work requests from my team. Now, I couldn’t find a parking spot, I was late to a meeting and my phone messages were blowing up. I could feel my blood pressure rise, my body was tense and I was short of breath. I had let the outside world dictate my inner world and state of being; my pace was in-humane.
I paused, took a deep breath, exhaled and said a short prayer of gratitude for this awareness. It was time to slow down.
The idea of how to create a more sustainable pace in a 24/7 world comes up every time I speak to men and women around the US on finding balance. Most share they know they are addicted to feeling speeded up and have fallen prey to the seduction of busyness.
Do you sometimes feel as if you’re a robot rather than a homo sapien? Here are seven ways to practice mindfulness, reclaim your humanity and live from the inside-out:
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. Get in the practice of “pausing” throughout your day to take in your environment.
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/circles.
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 play quiet music that supports reading and relaxation. All phones go to “bed” at 9:30 p.m. for the night (and yes, this is really hard for the teen).
Do nothing. Ever heard the advice, “Don’t just do something, sit there.” Stillness nourishes us to our core. Look out 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); leave your phone at home. Our bodies need these experiences to re-calibrate.
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.
Give your brain a rest. Do less, think less, keep things simple. The fewer choices/decisions we have, the happier we are. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
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. Read more.
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. Let me know how it goes, it’s a hard time to be a human.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOU? HERE ARE TWO OPPORTUNITIES:
- Schedule me to plan/facilitate a custom workshop or retreat for your company, team or organization on work-life balance, resiliency or self-renewal. Learn more and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your next event. I am booking into 2021 now!
- In transition and seeking clarity/support and a weekend of deep to-the-bones renewal? Ready to explore/embrace new ways of being in 2020? Come replenish and recharge with like-minded women at my New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat: Jan. 24-26 at Kripalu in the MA Berkshire Mountains (highly recommended!). Almost sold out-don’t delay!
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find 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. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups for women based on her work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 17-year-old son. More on Renee here.