No, you’re not finished yet. We’re just getting started with mini mindfulness exercises. But I hope that after that little breath break, you feel better. As a recovering perfectionist and workaholic, I learned the hard way that mindfulness is the key to success. Even though success feels different for everyone, how you achieve success is all the same. Consistent hard work over an extended time. Few people tell you you must learn how to do less.
On average, over half of adult Americans are facing burnout. It is due to focusing more on actions that aren’t bringing joy. Instead, time and energy are expended on unfulfilling work, obligations, responsibilities, and pressure to do more at work. Life is intended to be enjoyed. It is your responsibility to find joy every day.
One thing that has helped me find more joy is scheduling “me” time. I don’t just tell myself I’m going to have some “me” time. Instead, I physically schedule the time on my calendar when juggling multiple projects and responsibilities. Without placing that time on my calendar, I know I would never devote time to recharging my batteries. I used to view everyone else that asked for my help as being more important than my free time. It wasn’t until I faced burnout multiple times in a year that I took a hard look at my life.
Maybe you aren’t ready to schedule some much-needed time for yourself. Maybe that’s five steps away from now. But, there are some steps you can take today to help you from reaching the tipping point of burnout.
Take Control of Your Breathing
I don’t know about you, but I find when I’m under a lot of stress and pressure from life, I tend to hold my breath. There have been times in the past when I would be working through a problem at the office, and all of a sudden, I catch myself needing a deep breath. It’s as if I’d been holding my breath for minutes. Of course, that isn’t really what’s happening, but it feels like it.
One thing you can do to be more present with your body is to take control of your breath. Breathe in deeply from your stomach. Hold for five seconds. Slowly exhale over eight seconds. Do this several times and take notice of where in your body you feel your breath flow. Does it tickle your nose? Do you feel your heart beating heavily? Do you feel the air pass through your mouth?
When is the last time you truly wrote out a gratitude list? Sometimes I tell myself I’m going to write out a list, but then I just think it or say it to myself. Of course, that is better than nothing at all, but there’s something very therapeutic about writing everything down. Writing it down forces you to be more present and in the moment.
I challenge you to write out a gratitude list of three things before you go to bed tonight. The list can be anything from earlier in the day. But, it has to be from that day - not two days ago, not a week ago - that day.
Turn It Up
Music is my lifeblood. Growing up in a musical family, it became commonplace in our home to have several different styles of music playing in different rooms. From my father’s classical music to my brother’s heavy metal, to my mother’s reggae - music was everywhere. It’s no surprise that music can help me come home to myself. One activity that has helped me get out of my head, is by turning up a favorite song with a twist. Put on a song that is more than three minutes long. Only pay attention to the sounds coming out of the speakers or headphones. What instruments do you hear? How does the song feel in your body? Are you moving along with it? How does your breath change when you are listening to music?
Move Your Body
Speaking of music, when is the last time you danced, jumped, shook up and down, or just moved around besides walking? If you’re into fitness, you may have moved your body recently. But for those of you who haven’t moved around in a while, movement is a great way to bring your awareness back to the present moment. If you are physically able to move around without harm or injury, I encourage you to put on a song that you feel inspired to move to. Any song will do, as long as it makes you feel ready to move. It doesn’t have to be wild or loud music - it can be soft and soothing. There is no wrong way to do this.
Turn It Off
Do you eat while watching TV, scrolling through your phone, or while working? Don’t! Mindful eating is a great way to bring focus to the present moment. Bonus benefit - you may even realize you’re fuller sooner than usual. Mindful eating includes noticing each flavor and texture in every bite. Focus on the aromas coming from your fork. Every bite you take is a moment for yourself.
Don’t worry if you aren’t ready to execute all of the exercises I’ve included. Every little bit will help you become more mindful throughout the day. Any chance you can get to be more mindful and present in the moment is a step away from creating burnout in your life. I know how difficult the burnout cycle can feel. These tiny steps are going to help you take back control of your day, bit by bit.
If you’re seeking more ways to create freedom in your life, schedule a consultation with me today! Let’s chat about how I can help you streamline your schedule.