- Unplug. If you can unplug for one full day each week, that’s awesome, but for many people, that’s not always doable, either. Try baby steps: put away your phone, shut down your laptop, turn off your television – for a half hour each day. Meet up with a friend for in-person discussion and camaraderie. Take advantage of the silence to breathe deep, stretch, and let your mind wander for a bit. Over time, maybe extend “unplugged time” for an hour or two. If you do have a sudden brainstorm about something you’re working on, jot it down on a piece of paper and come back to it when you’re plugged in again.
- Remember that “no” is a complete sentence. We all have been there: saying yes to an array of things because we felt obligated or pressured to do so, even though we were already overextended with our own responsibilities. Remember, you don’t have to explain or justify to anyone else why you’re not able to do something. Making time for yourself is not selfish; it’s self-care.
- Cut down on multi-tasking when possible. It’s easy to fall into the habit of CONSTANTLY multi-tasking, but make a conscious effort to try to focus on one thing only while you do it, even if it’s only for one thing on your to-do list. You might find that you’re more effective and focused, allowing you to knock it out more quickly than usual.
- Eat slower. Especially when we’re stressed or busy, we tend to grab food on-the-go, or eat while working. We don’t even realize how quickly we’re eating. Take the time to prepare a meal, sit down with no distractions, and eat slowly, really tasting the food and the ingredients. This also helps your body realize it’s full more quickly.
- Remember to breathe. When we’re distracted, busy, or stressed, we tend to breathe more shallowly or even hold our breath. Remember to take a minute to breathe slowly, in and out. You don’t even have to commit to a full minute or mini-meditation – even just one or two deep breaths can help you refocus.
- Schedule nothing. By this, I mean actually schedule a block of time to do nothing. For Type-A personalities, this can make you a bit twitchy in the beginning. Start with just a half hour of “nothing.” If you have small kids, take this time to play with them. Spend some quality time with a partner. Take a nap. Or just sit and think.
- Start the day off slow. Many of us wake up, maybe hit the snooze button, check our phones and social media apps, perhaps shoot off an email reply or two, and get up and fling ourselves headlong into our day. What if we woke up 15 minutes earlier, and let ourselves lie in bed and just breathe, easing ourselves into the day? Don’t look at your phone. Try simply charging your phone in another room so it's not the first thing you see in the morning or the last thing you see before falling asleep. Take time in the morning to enjoy a relaxing cup of coffee or tea, without rushing. This can help set the tone for the day.
- Remember, you can always reset. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing thing. If you realize at some point in the day that you’re starting to rush, or that you could use a break, that’s great! Take a minute to see how you can slow down and what would benefit you most in the moment, and go from there.
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