Okay. So this is going to sound like a no brianer. Yet it is easier said than done. This past fall I was noticing I was anxious more than normal. I am typically not an anxious person, this was something new for me. I've had anxiety but not like this low level all day everyday feeling.
I also felt like there was never enough time for everything on my to-do list. It was feeling liek a never ending chore list. I decided to do what I could to make changes. Here is what I did.
First I started listening to up-lifting podcast on my commute instead of NPR. My favorite thing about NPR is the human interest stories and I could subscribe to those in podcast form. I needed to take a break from the news, in an all day way. Along these lines I bowed out of twitter too.
I focused on the things I could control. I decided to put a concerted effort into shifting my mind set. I implemented a few things into my day
- a quiet moment in my morning to focus on my intentions for the day
- I started a joy journal to focus on what I was grateful for each day
- the task that I always complained about I found a different way to look at them.
For instance, I really don't like to grocery shop or cook. These are two things I can't avoid and it becomes even harder because I focus on healthy whole foods for my family and that means I spend a lot of time meal planning, grocery shopping and preparing food. I decided instead of bemoaning these task I would find something joyful about them. I finally get to grocery shop alone. So I look at it as a moment sans kids where no one needs my time and I focus on the task at hand fully, not thinking about what's next in my day. I have looked at cooking as a time to practice being present. I try to stay in the moment and find the joy in the little tasks it requires. I also think of it now as a way that I love my family.
The joy journal has been lovely. I try to write down 3 things each day, but I don't always make all three. The kids and I do this together at bedtime. If I'm going to try to change my habits, why not instill good ones in them at the same time.
Here is the big step. The hardest step. I am also ashamed to admit that this is a struggle and the first few weeks were killer. I put my phone down. Sounds easy right? Or maybe you are already screaming in horror. Yet this step hands down gave me back so much time. Time that I didn't even realize I was missing. Scary. I decided that when I was with my kids the phone would be away. I left the ringer on in case I got a phone call, but I didn't answer any notifications. (Sorry friends for all those text I didn't reply to right away!) I decided I wouldn't pull out my phone in any of the following situations: while standing in line anywhere, while waiting for pre-school pick up or drop off, while sitting at a red light (honestly shouldn't be doing anyway) and lying in bed at night. That last one whew!! I still haven't got a alarm clock yet, so I do rely on my phone for that. I would like to banish it from my bedroom all together, but for now it stays face down on the night stand.
This is still a challenge, and I don't get a perfect score everyday, but on the days that I do I am rewarded with extra time. I also get to be present in the task at hand, look at my kids faces when I talk to them, and even overhear some pretty awesome things while they are playing. I feel like I have some how tricked the space time continuum. Without my constant scrolling I now have those extra minutes in the day that I've always looked for. I do need social media for my business, so I set aside early morning and breaks at work to catch up and stay active on Instagram and Facebook. I think by being present in what I am doing it somehow makes each task easier and more enjoyable.
None of these are new tricks and I'm sure a lot of you practice a few of them. I just know for me it really changed things. The gratitude chases away the anxiety, being present gives me more moments and putting that phone down has endless rewards.
Let me know if you try any of these thing!