Mindfulness And Self-Care For The Overwhelmed
We all know how important self-care is to our health and stress levels. We hear the mantra all the time from doctors and well-meaning friends. “In an airplane, you’re told to put on your own oxygen mask before you help others. You need to be strong and settled so you can care fully for those around you.”
Sure, it sounds great, but who has time for that? Who can find even five minutes in their busy schedule to breathe?
No Time For Self-Care
I found this out for myself when my novel released. If I thought I was busy before that date, I had no idea what was coming. Suddenly my reasonably solitary efforts of writing and editing were replaced by the taxing rounds of marketing and promoting. Plus, of course, I still love writing. And I still have the myriad of other responsibilities of home, family, and life which are just as important.
That leaves little time for me. The core me which is the ship that sails through this tempestuous sea of life.
But as any good captain will tell you, a voyage is only as sound as its ship, and those airline-metaphor friends do actually have a point. If the ship springs a leak, everything else falls into disarray. And when you actually sit down and think about it, the small investments of time for yoga, meditation, and mindfulness really can be worked in even to the busiest of schedules.
That’s the beauty of these nurturing activities. They are fluid. They are amorphous. They are like the ice cream bowl at the end of a meal which somehow finds a way to fit into a seemingly full stomach.
Making The Time
Time does actually exist for these actions. One needs only to desire it. That’s when modest pockets of opportunity present themselves – when we really want something, when we realize it as critical to our health and well-being. It can be a mindful walk with your dog or spending a minute or two simply observing the sky. Recently I began to deep-breathe while standing in line. Adding a piece of fresh ginger to a smoothie is a nice pick-me-up that introduces a little zing into our day.
It’s pretty awe-inspiring that the build-up of small satisfying moments can lead to some big life changes – if you allow it. What’s even more amazing is that time itself, in some sort of Einsteinian Mobius strip, seems to expand and unfold once you integrate mindfulness in your world. There simply seems to be more of it.
Maybe it’s because lower levels of stress hormones provide clearer focus. I get things done more quickly. I move through tasks more efficiently. Drama takes up less time via racing around and losing things. The world clicks into a flow state where good things just happen. The world begins to feel in tune.
I’m calling this small-mindfulness, and you can be certain it remains a work in progress. But I’ve discovered that the more I not only seek out but actually utilize these opportunities, the more the effort shows its rewards on a daily basis.
It’s not that I’m not lugging around the buckets of stress that accompany a busy schedule, it’s just that I’ve found a way to ease the impact a little.
It’s a voyage of discovery each and every day – and I recommend the journey.
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