January can be a conflictive and challenging month, so here are our Top 5 tips and ideas on how to stay present and make time for what matters.
“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness.” – Jon Kabat Zinn
Distractions, information overload, pop ups, notifications, ‘to do’ lists, etc. etc. all these things turn us away from being here in this moment. Everyone has different relationships with time, but most would say that they don’t have enough hours in a day to do everything they want to do.
Time is an interesting concept, and you certainly have noticed that when you are doing something that you don’t enjoy it seems that time has really slowed down. Or right opposite, when you are doing something that you enjoy, something that fulfils you, time just flies by. Everyone’s sense of time is different, however most would agree that somehow there never is enough time. Hence, we need to find a little bit more balance in our lives. Swedes have a word lagom, meaning “not too little, not too much”; it describes the concept of having a lifestyle that encourages balance and mindfulness in your life. Carry on and read below our Top 5 tips and ideas on how to be more present and find time for what matters to stay balanced.
- Check in
Check in first thing in the morning, when you wake up and turn off your alarm, just linger in that moment for a bit. Observe how you are feeling right in this moment, check in with yourself, note how your mind is feeling, how your body is feeling, and how you are feeling. Acknowledge it all and take it in for a moment. This morning check in will help you to understand what you need to do to improve how you are feeling both physically and mentally during the day. Checking in with yourself is a simple self-care tool that helps to establish what other self-care tools you might want to use on that day. For example, if you are feeling tired and stiff, it might be a good idea to drink an extra glass of water, if you are feeling overwhelmed, a big long walk out in the nature might help you.
Continue checking in with yourself throughout the day, to see how you have changed. This self-care tool might take 5-10 minutes at the start, but once you tune in with yourself it mightn’t take more than a minute.
- Create space
For all the changes we need to create space physically and mentally. So it is time to get rid of that clutter in the house that can often create clutter in our minds. In addition having clutter around us can slow us down in our everyday things. Make your home function for you and not against you. In addition, the process of cleaning itself can help to calm and organise the mind. Creating space around you will create a space within you. Mentally think of what you need to release within you to make your mind even more spacious. What fears or expectations is it time to release that create an unnecessary stress? Reflect and start de-cluttering physically and mentally.
If you need some inspiration on how cleaning goes together with mindfulness we recommend to read “A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind” by Shoukei Matsumoto or if you need an inspiration on where to start with your cleaning process we recommend, and it isn’t as morbid as it sounds, to read “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” by Margareta Magnusson.
- Meditation practice
Meditation practice is a great way to prepare our minds for the day ahead or quiet our minds before going to bed. Being present during meditation practice will help you to be more present in your everyday life, and also it will help you to be more conscious on of how you spend your time. Soon you might even start catching yourself when you are caught up in the loop of checking e-mails, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Whats App and e-mails again and so on. It will help you to start evaluating what matters and is more beneficial for your physical and mental wellbeing. Start with only 5 minutes a day, and then when you are comfortable with that increase it to 10 minutes or even more.
If you don’t know where to start, we recommend you to try Headspace app, and if you don’t like using your laptop or phone during meditation, we recommend to read “Mindfulness in Action: Making Friends with Yourself through Meditation and Everyday Awareness” by Chogyam Trungp to help you get started.
- Fulfil yourself
It is important to acknowledge things that fulfil you – a little self-care treatments that will boost your mood, as well as productivity. As they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Hence, it is important to put some time aside for yourself; your productivity will increase, as you won’t be run down. These things don’t have to be anything big, it might be as simple as drinking your cup of coffee with phone and laptop turned off. Just sit and for 10 minutes enjoy your cup of coffee in silence, listening to the quiet sounds around you, notice your breath, be mindful that you are drinking coffee at this moment. Be present with yourself, do little things that fulfil you, and notice how it affects your breathing, wellbeing and productivity.
- Do it more often
Find things that matter to you and simply do them more often, you will see eventually time will be on your side and will help you thrive. Learn how to reprioritize what matters most to you in your everyday life and learn to let go when it is needed and accept it, and then start again next day.