I spent the last four days recharging, relaxing, and honouring myself. I unplugged from Instagram entirely and couldn’t quite believe the instantaneous effects it had on my focus and how I chose to spend my time (...wisely).
Admittedly, there were a few moments in which I caught myself mindlessly opening the instagram app, and I thought to myself, “Wait, what am I doing? Why did I just open that? I’m not using Instagram right now... Did I just click on this out of routine habit? (...yup).” The habit of mindlessly opening the app and scrolling my way down a rabbit hole of perusing things - without intention - was so real, and verging on unhealthy. These four days have really allowed me to be with myself without distraction.
With Holidays in full swing, it can be difficult to sustain energy and patience. Slowing down to honour our needs and lead with self-care often seem out of the question, too. If we do it make time for our needs, however, we truly cannot show up for others - at least not without burning out or succumbing to a cold or flu.
Here are five ways to live with more intention as the New Year unfolds. Taking these sacred steps will enrich your world with more time, increased energy, and positive vibrations.
1. Detox from Social Media
Reflect for a moment on what social media you are scrolling through and why. Are you using it as a medium to promote your practice, business, or product? Or, is it merely a source of “entertainment”? Does the social media you look at leave you feeling inspired, recharged, defeated, or drained? How long are you spending on perusing various forms of social media? Do you find your inner dialogue comparing yourself to or judging what you see? How would you feel if you spent less time looking at social media?
The challenge: Reduce the amount of time you spend on social media. Find a measure that is realistic for you. Maybe once a day for 10 minutes, or opt to quit cold turkey for a set amount of days. If for some reason you end up breaking your challenge, try not to be too hard on yourself. Just observe how you feel, let go, and try the challenge anew the next day. When you feel as though you are scrolling with intention, rather than using it as an aimless distraction, feel free to spend more time on social media. Notice your thoughts and goals the moment you open an app or click to share something with the world. Is this enriching and intentional?
2. Sleep More
More patience. Clearer skin. Increased cognitive function. Doesn’t that sound like reason enough to rack up the zzz’s? Sleep does wonders for our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and it’s the one thing we all seem to skimp on - especially during the holidays! We rely heavily on“recharging” with caffeine and sweet treats to make it through the busyness, but the optimal recharge starts with rest, so we can make better informed choices during our waking hours.
Challenge: Evaluate your sleep hygiene. What is sleep hygiene? Consider it a routine that allows you to power down; a ritual that calms you down and sets you up for restful sleep.
- Turn off screens (TV, Smartphone, iPad, eclectronic readera etc) a minimum of 20 minutes before sleep, as blue light interferes with reaching REM sleep cycle. Tip: keep your charging cords for electronics out of the bedroom, and avoiding bringing electronics into the bedroom altogether.
- Brush teeth. Floss teeth. Oil pull. Wash face. Take a bath. Whatever is part of your pre-bedtime washing-up routine, make it a true ritual...one that you wouldn’t skip even if you had too much champagne or microbrew beer...
- Bedroom climate. Think everything from room temperature, to bedding, to lighting, and overall environment. Ensure your room is cool to promote sleep (recommended temperature is 60-67 degrees Farenheit) and snuggle up with your favourite pillow(s) and bedding. If you want to take it a step further to avoid environmental toxins (hell, yes!) then consider organic mattress (sans springs - springs bounce the bad waves around), bedding, and air purifiers/humidifiers. (Note: The offgas from new (non organic) mattresses/sheets/pillows is toxic so make sure to air out any new furniture/area rugs etc).
- Reminder: those "naughty" things that you think help you fall asleep are actually impeding your REM cycle (most restful cycle) of sleep. Avoid alcohol, drugs, caffeine, and food before hitting the hay. Instead enjoy a nice cup of Golden Mylk.
Challenge: Visualize your bedtime routine, and set some healthy boundaries, such as what time you will be in bed (lights out) and what time you will wake (sans snooze). Play around with pre-sleep rituals that work best for you, and see what works best. This might look different from one season to the next.
3. Breathe, Move, Meditate
Take 5 slow, deep breaths. How does that feel in your body? Do 100 jumping jacks. How does that feel in your body? Clear your mind of chatter, get quiet, observe and let go of thoughts. How does that feel in your body?
Nourish yourself with breath, movement, and mindfulness so you can be better aware of the choices you make. Slow down to speed up is a mantra that I find myself replying in my mind when things start going a little too fast. Allow yourself the indulgence of self-care. Busy doesn't always mean you're killing it... Think about it.
Challenge: Set a clear intention (word or mantra) for your day/week/year. It should be something simple and achievable that serves as a reminder to be mindful of how you show up. Here are some ideas:
Breathe. Let it go. Be kind. Balance. Spread love. Patience.
4. Say “No”
In saying no to things that we know will drain us versus recharge us, we are taking a stand for our innate needs. Respecting and honouring ourselves rather than succumbing to the expectations that others may have of us socially or otherwise, allows us to sustainably give in our everyday life. Listening to that inner voice and knowing when enough outside stimulation is enough is a true art. Being able to voice our need to decline yet another invitation or social obligation is an even higher art form. Listen to your gut, and communicate clearly to your outside world.
Challenge: If you’re feeling run down, and out of alignment with upcoming plans, communicate without guilt and reschedule. Or, offer another activity that will help you to recharge. Maybe meet for a yoga class versus drinks, and see how that works out!
5. Drink Water
Do you know anyone that drinks enough water every single day? I cannot name one person that is consistent in this practice. Hydration is key for survival and plays and important role in cognitive function and detoxification. Living with intention relies heavily on the ability to make strong, conscientious decisions and letting go of the shit that blocks us from doing so. Drinking water is therefore the simplest, yet immensely challenging act that can support us lead a more intentional day to day life.
Challenge: Next time you reach for a sugary juice, coffee, caffeinated tea or beverage, swap it out for a glass of filtered water and see how that changes you one sip at a time.
These are practices that I have come to use to slow down, get centred, and act more intentionally ... rather than unraveling when I've let my cup empty out entirely. I hope they work well for you too in 2018!
be good to you,