Let’s face it. We are busy people. Busy with jobs, families, school, traffic, groceries, and friends, just to name a few. All those things that we do to keep the people in our lives functional and happy.
One thing I left off the list deliberately was that thing that we know “should” be really important and it isn’t. That one small thing called self-care. The idea that we need to take care of ourselves in order to keep OURSELVES functional and happy. (Novel concept.) In the long list of priorities, somehow we put ourselves at the bottom of the list. Somewhere after getting the car’s oil changed and making snack bags for your son’s t-ball team.
So what do we do about it? In this article “10 little things to do with mindful awareness,” Debbie Woodbury talks about the small ways we can incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives. Most people hear about the concept of mindfulness, and they think, as Debbie puts it, “hours spent in the lotus position, eyes closed, blissfully deep in meditation.” (Seriously, who’s got time for that??)
We teach our clients (and remind ourselves too) that mindfulness is simply the idea of being more present in where we are and what we’re doing. If we can focus on just doing one thing, then we will have been more present, and hopefully a bit calmer. It’s often as simple as focusing on just doing the dishes or the laundry. Or just being in a conversation with someone. Or eating a meal. In this fast-paced world that we live in, sometimes it helps to slow down and take in and savor the different parts of life.
My favorite thing on the list of ways to practice mindfulness is #10. Silence. I love turning off my phone and radio in the car. And just sitting. I often forget what it means to turn off everything and sit with myself. Sometimes, I can only do it for about 30 seconds before I get distracted by the thousand other things I have to do. Some people might say that’s not a long time to practice mindfulness. For me and my world, it’s an eternity.