Today’s post is from Emily Hein, private practice dietitian and food/wellness blogger at Zen and Spice. She's one of my favorite wellness bloggers to follow and has great advice on living a balanced life.
Our lives are so rushed. We’re trying to get a list of tasks done, and finish as much as we can each day, speeding along in our lives to our next destination. We rush what we need to do there so we can move to the next. We’re overwhelmed by what feels like non-stop, never ending demands and to-do lists. Our smartphones keep us always connected with work demands.
At the end of the day, we’re exhausted. Our minds are over-stressed from the busyness. We don’t have time for what’s important to us, what we really want to be doing, and for spending time with our loved ones. But we don’t have to live like this. We can enjoy a simpler life; we only need to choose to. That’s what mindfulness is about. Being mindful of what we are doing in the present moment, taking our time, and only thinking about what can be done in the present moment.
Meditation and mindfulness helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us “rest and digest”—opposite of the sympathetic nervous system, which is associated with the fight or flight response. We may not be running from a wooly mammoth, but stress from work and home life creates the same type of response in our bodies.
Here are some questions to ask yourself the next time you feel stressed about a big “to-do” list. If you don’t have enough time in your day to take care of yourself, it may be time to eliminate some things so you can.
What’s really important?
It may be your family, a spouse, children, doing well at your job, blogging three times per week, or running a ten minute mile. Step back and look at what’s really important to you. What do you really want to be doing? Are you being you? Or are you doing things you think you should be doing? Make a list of things that are truly important to you. Then do them.
What are your true commitments?
We have too many commitments in today’s world. We can’t do everything that we say we’re going to do. Just accept this. Do what’s important to you and eliminate what isn’t.
Do you have enough time to take care of yourself?
If you don’t have time in your schedule to cook yourself a balanced meal, incorporate physical activity, relax or meditate, then you’re doing too much. It’s not worth being insanely busy if your body and mind take a hit. If your body and mind aren’t functioning at their best, it will be hard to put your best self forward. You don’t have to go to the gym every day, but just focusing on moving more throughout the day can make a huge difference. Meal planning and grocery shopping ahead of time can help you eat healthy during busy weeks.
How much are you trying to do per day?
We only have twenty four hours in a day. Don’t fill up your day with tasks. If you try to do ten tasks per day (and fail), do three important ones instead. Save the others for the next day. Complete your three tasks with mindfulness and don’t try to rush through them.
What can you eliminate?
Simplify your to-do list down to the essentials. Again, you can’t do everything. Even if you could, more things will probably pop up. Do you really need to cook dinner, fold laundry, write a blog post, sweep the floor and do the dishes in the next two hours? What can you save for later or tomorrow? What can you delegate to others?
With that said, slow down and enjoy every task. Whatever you’re doing, do it with a sense of calm. Whether it be taking a shower, cooking dinner, or driving. Just slow down. You do not need to complete this task at record speed. Pay attention, instead of thinking about other things. Be in the moment. It sounds silly to “be in the moment” while you’re brushing your teeth, but this is the simplest step you can take to become more mindful in your life.
Have you simplified your life? What have you cut out? What do you slow down and pay attention to?
Emily Hein is a private practice dietitian and food/wellness blogger based out of Dallas, Texas. She thinks eating should be easy and pleasurable-- not a hassle! On her blog you’ll find easy recipes using natural ingredients, intuitive eating advice, and meditation & mindfulness tips. She aims to inspire her clients and readers to fuel their body with real, unprocessed food and live for mindfully and in the present moment.