Project Love are back on Move Your Frame’s blog, sharing doses of sage advice on all things love – from self love to slowing down. In this installment, Vicki talks to us about the latter…
Does your working day go something like this?
Wake up, mentally rehearsing your to-do list, respond to last night’s emails in bed, skip breakfast (don’t have time), do your make-up on the train to work, text while power walking from meeting to meeting, eat lunch at your desk (lunch break… what’s that?), work late to catch up but STILL end the day feeling like you haven’t had enough time to get everything done.
If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Psychologists have even named it ‘Time Famine’ – a feeling of having too much to do and not enough time to do it. The idea of a work/life balance is becoming harder than ever to achieve, in fact, research shows that we’re getting just 36 minutes of me-time each working day. Thirty-six-minutes!
When we’ve got loads on our plate and are in a constant state of busyness and overwhelm, the idea of feeling grounded can seem so out of reach, almost impossible. When we’re buzzing around from meeting to meeting, from event to event, it can feel like we’re not in our bodies because we’re not being present.
When I have days like this, I feel like I’m floating in air and my feet aren’t on the floor. To me, feeling grounded is like coming home, returning to that sense of calm that I know is deep within me but yet sometimes feels so far away. But no matter how far we’ve strayed, we can always return home.
So how do we return home? How can we get our feet back on the ground and anchor into the here and now while living a busy and fast paced life? Here are 5 ways to get you started.
1. Go on a #DD (Digital Detox)
Our hyper-connected world means we’re ‘always on’ (Facebook’s going, WhatsApp is pinging, work emails around the clock) and so we need to take the time to disconnect to our devices so we can reconnect with ourselves.
Schedule in one evening this month where you unplug from tech – put the laptop away, turn off your phone and enjoy some screen-free me-time. The blue light that is emitted from our devices makes us more alert so having some time away will help you sleep better. And sleep = wellbeing game changer. It’s win-win.
2. Take regular email breaks
Emails are the biggest interruption to our already busy lives, no wonder this alone has us feeling overwhelmed. Research has shown that reading emails can affect how we breathe, leading to shallow breathing or even holding our breath without realising it; it’s known as ‘Email Apnea’. As you’re reading this, check-in with your body and see how you’re breathing. If you notice that you’re breathing is shallow then regulate it by taking some deep breaths. Try it now – breathe in for five seconds, hold for five seconds and then breathe out for five seconds.
Make sure you regularly check in with your breathing throughout the day and if you’re at your desk all day, take five minute breaks every hour or so – move around and make a cuppa!
3. Sprinkle a little magic into the everyday
We’re often so busy and time starved that we miss what’s going on in the world around us. So try a little experiment this week – leave an extra seven minutes travel time between getting to work or travelling to meetings so you can slooooow down. Put your phone away, relax your shoulders, look up and connect with the world around you. What can you see, what do you notice? Enjoy the simple pleasure of smiling at strangers, get present and sprinkle a bit of magic into the everyday.
4. Get out of your head and into your body
A wise man (Einstein) once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” So shake things up and get out of your head and into your body. Step away from your desk regularly, move around, open up the chest and stretch out your arms. Take a proper lunch break and go for a walk. Do some of the fabulous Pilates and Yoga classes at Frame, do a dance class or put on some banging tunes and dance around your kitchen!
5. Bookend your day with two minute ‘coming home’ exercises
Start and finish each day with an activity that will have you anchor into the present moment.
So the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning could be simply breathing in bed for two minutes. Sit up in bed and breathe in, allowing your lungs to fill with air, imagine a ball of light in your heart and each time you breath in and out, this light gets brighter and bigger. Let the light fill your whole body as you breath.
When you prepare to go to bed, do a two minute inventory of what happened during the day. What are you grateful for? What did you love doing? What are you carrying around that doesn’t belong to you? Sometimes we pick up other people’s emotions and problems from the day and we claim them as our own. Give back what doesn’t belong to you.
As you go to sleep, say to yourself, “I am loved, I am supported.” You really are.