According to Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey’s book Immunity to Change, the increased complexity of modern life has left many feeling “in over their heads.” It doesn’t help that so many of us now spend an hour or more scrolling through social media, causing some of us to feel inadequate about our physical appearances or the state of our lives. Because of all these things, we experience isolation, depression, and anxiety.
The result of the above circumstances is a reactionary approach to our to-do lists and what we see online. Our minds and bodies are forced to run in survival mode. We continuously engage based on the stimuli rather than taking the initiative and starting from a proactive place to do our tasks. Our bodies don’t recharge properly, and we run by default on ‘exhausted’ mode.
Thankfully, taking steps to regain the right mindset only takes around twenty minutes to an hour each day. If you are feeling drained or anxious, here are some suggestions on how you can incorporate some “me time” into your daily routine:
1. Unplug from Technology
Spend at least 30 minutes to an hour away from your phone and other gadgets. Keep them as far away as possible during this period. Turn off all the notifications as you don’t want to be tempted to read them.
During this no-gadget period, do an activity that doesn’t require looking at a screen. Examples include gardening, eating a delicious meal or snack, sitting by your window and watching the outdoors, or journaling. Be mindful when engaging in your chosen activity and simply enjoy it.
2. Go for a Short Walk
Each day, take a quick break so you can go out and explore your neighbourhood. It can be a short 15-minute walk, but you can go on a longer one if you have the time. You can even use this as an opportunity to walk your dog, bring your kid along for some bonding time, or meet and catch up with a friend.
If you live in a rural area, try going even further by exploring a nearby trail. When you walk outdoors surrounded by nature, your brain enjoys entirely new scenery, and you return to your desk refreshed and energised.
3. Read a Good Book
Another great way to clear your mind is to relax by reading a good book. Grab one from your favourite author or see if there’s a title on your bookshelf you’ve been meaning to read for a while now. Don’t overthink how long you read. Go for a realistic goal like 10 to 20 minutes or a chapter each day. Read in a place that allows you to focus and immerse yourself in the book’s story or narrative, too.
Meditation has many benefits, such as strengthening your emotional well-being and boosting your sense of calm. It also helps in reducing negative emotions, increases tolerance and patience, and manages your stress.
To start meditating, sit in a room and get comfortable. You can sit on a chair, on a mat, or your couch. Ground your feet on the floor if you’re sitting up, or sit up straight if you’re seated on a mat. Take a few minutes to breathe, and focus on your breathing. While you do this, your body resets and takes your mind out of flight or fight mode.
5. Call an Old Friend
Catch up with an old friend and talk about your life. Having these kinds of conversations can help you relax. Plus, if you’re struggling with certain problems, you may just need to receive encouragement from someone you love. Let the conversation flow, and you will soon find yourself laughing as good friends always do.
6. Write in Your Journal
Sit down and release all your thoughts through written words. Don’t worry about having a story to tell. Practice freewriting, or verbalising your thoughts by putting them into concrete words. Simply write down what’s been burdening you and what you need to unload. You’ll soon find yourself expressing thoughts, ideas, and concepts you couldn’t say out loud or think about while going about your day.
Do a Hobby You Love
What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do or used to do for fun? Is it running, dancing, crocheting, gardening, or cross-stitching? Schedule 20 minutes to an hour to let yourself indulge in this hobby or activity. Spending time doing what you love refreshes and excites your brain as you immerse yourself in a new experience.
7. Treat Yourself
Do you have the budget to indulge in a shopping spree or a gourmet meal? Give yourself a treat and spend your hard-earned money on yourself. Buy your favourite ice cream, visit your favourite restaurant, or buy new clothes you’ve been eyeing for weeks. Think of these treats as gifts for yourself to thank yourself for all your hard work.
Having “ME TIME” can give you many health benefits physically, mentally, and emotionally. It can also boost your immune system, prevent and relieve chronic pain, and give you better sleep. Enjoy the benefits of spending time on and for yourself to feel re-energised, refreshed, and ready to tackle the world afterward.
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