Many women pride themselves on being consummate multitaskers. By noon on a Saturday, they’ve wrapped up 10 different projects and tasks.
I was one of those women until I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at the age of 33. It was only then that I started to re-evaluate my life and learn how to slow down. My a-ha moment came while working with a life coach who asked me what I thought my greatest strengths were. When I listed, “a great multitasker,” she asked, “Are you sure that's a strength?”
Wow. How many of you think multitasking is a positive attribute?
We juggle multiple to-do lists for the home, kids, and work. By the time we’ve paid the bills, cleaned our homes, finished the laundry, chauffeured the kids to play dates, games, and birthday parties, is there any time left for us?
There can be.
It's essential that we, as women, put our oxygen masks on first so that we can breathe in the event of an in-flight emergency. We need to slow down, reconnect to our centers, listen to our bodies, and get in tune with what's going on in our lives.
When we race between activities and other responsibilities, the noise in our heads can be so loud that we lose sight of who we are and what is truly important to us.
Being mindful of how you choose to spend your time and energy is essential for emotional balance and staying centered. Explore these five simple things you can do every day to reconnect to yourself and rediscover what makes you happy.
Schedule in “Me” Time
This doesn't have to be a day trip to the spa. It can be as simple as plopping down on the couch to watch your favorite TV show, taking a walk with a friend, or waking up 30 minutes early to meditate. Whatever it is that makes you feel good and fuels you, find the time to do it. The emails, dishes, and laundry will all still be waiting for you when you’re done taking a little time for yourself.
Find Time to Journal
You don't have to be a talented writer, or even like writing. Finding time to journal simply means taking the time to get in touch with your real emotions. These are the emotions we often repress or ignore as we work, pick up the kids, and handle other responsibilities.
Keep a small notebook in your purse that goes with you everywhere. When you have a few spare minutes, take it out, and ask yourself, “What is going on with me today?” Write what you're worried about, what you're grateful for, or five things you've always wanted to do, but haven't made time for.
The more you write, the more what matters to you most will evolve. It's one of the best ways to really reconnect with your soul.
The old me couldn't sit still for 10 minutes. To me, it was 10 minutes I could have been running on a treadmill, organizing my files, or obsessively rearranging stuff in my house for the 100th time.
When I got sick, I was forced to be still, mainly because I was too weak to do anything else. Being still forced me to get back in touch with what was really important to me. It was a time of soul searching; I reconnected with my passions, rediscovered what I truly loved to do in my free time, and faced some ugly truths I didn't want to look at.
Being still quiets the noise in your head so that you can hear what your spirit really wants out of life.
Find Time to Play
Dance, walk, go to the park, run with your dog on the beach, meet friends for margaritas, or take a class.
Try activities that make you laugh; laughter reduces the production of stress hormones and has the power to heal. Making playfulness a daily habit gives you a chance to work through anxieties that might otherwise make you feel disconnected from yourself.
Most of the time, when I tell people that I meditate they say, “Oh, I really want to start doing that but I just never have the time.”
Everybody can find time to meditate. Meditation doesn’t involve sitting in a dark room for an hour with your eyes closed. It can be a simple 10- to 15-minute practice that you do right before bed or when you wake up in the morning.
The idea is to get quiet and reconnect with yourself and your breathing. Tune in to your body. What are you feeling? What areas of your body are tense? What intuitive messages are you getting when you quiet your mind. All of the answers you need are typically right there inside you, if you just take the time to reconnect to yourself.