It’s easy to get carried away by the busyness of everyday life. Between deadlines, bills, emails, traffic, walking the dog, doing the dishes, going to the grocery store (the list goes on), it’s easy to get wrapped up in the cycles of our routines and believe that we do the things we need to do so that, eventually, we can do the things we want to do. Of course we can’t always be doing what we want to be doing, that would risk an imbalance towards the practical things that need to get done in the day to day- but sometimes following the saying and ‘taking the time to smell the flowers’ can benefit our lives in ways that make our routines work for us instead of the other way around. It gives us the opportunity to slow down time, and really absorb our surroundings. It allows us to focus, re-center and go on about the day with a little more vigor.
- Put undivided attention into whatever you are doing at the moment. Whether it’s something you particularly enjoy like watching a movie or taking a walk, or something rather mundane, like driving or filling out forms at work, try to focus on only that activity. Get used to the feeling of concentrating on one thing and you’ll know that it was done to the best of your ability, because you were in that moment.
- Really listen when someone is talking to you. Sometimes we think we are listening, only to find we can only remember parts of the conversation we’ve recently had with someone. The next time you are having a conversation with someone you care about, try to not get distracted by your surroundings or your own thoughts- really listen to what they are saying, and their words will resonate deeper.
- If you are too busy at the moment- take a deep breath and keep going. Sometimes all you need is a few seconds to re-center. If you just feel too busy, take a couple seconds for yourself, and go on with your day.
- Pay attention to the things you enjoy, and make time to do those things more often. Cooking, cross-stitching, biking, running, reading, playing an instrument, bowling, woodworking, traveling- whatever! When you find a hobby you like, make time for it. Not only do hobbies act as a way for us to decompress from whatever we needed to do during the day, they can turn into beneficial skills that can turn into passions.
- Take a moment to reflect on why you are grateful. A little gratitude goes a long way. It could be the qualities of someone you love, having a roof over your head, your dog, your umbrella in a rainstorm, the internet- once you begin to think of something you are grateful for, it’s hard to not think of other, bigger reasons to have gratitude. Try this on a challenging day to help you through.
Fortunately, there may be endless ways to give a little time back to ourselves throughout the day. It’s important to remember, though, that we have to make the time. The more we allow ourselves to have a moment to reflect, understand, or observe ourselves and our surroundings, the more we may open ourselves up to a life that loves a little more, sees things in a new way, and cherishes the fact that we are simply alive :)