We are in the final quarter of 2016, and I don’t know about you, but I feel the pressure! While I’ve knocked out the majority of my goals for the year, I still have a few things I’d like to accomplish. Sometimes I overwhelm myself with ideas and possibilities, projects I’d like to work on, or tasks that I simply can’t avoid. When this happens, I find it easy to slip into the habit of procrastination or lack of motivation to get something done, because I simply feel overwhelmed. So, the best advice I can give myself during times like this is to sloooooow down.
If we don’t give our minds a break, we tend to snowball. Thoughts build upon thoughts, upon more thoughts, until we think so much our heads spin. This is when I find myself turning to the TV, extra (but unnecessary) sleep, excessive cleaning, or pretty much anything that keeps me from facing the reality of what I need/want to get done. To keep myself from getting to this place, or to get myself out of it, I need to stop thinking, start breathing, and simply enjoy the moment.
One way I like to clear my headspace is to take a nice long walk. During these fall months, I usually put an electro-down tempo mix on my headphones, bundle up in a scarf and some cozy socks, and I’ll walk down Alberta Street where I’m bound to avert my attention toward dogs crossing my path, graffiti on the brick buildings, or the smell of a delicious food cart…
Maybe I’ll even stop for a coffee at one of my favorite cafes. Maybe I’ll get a latte “for here” and sit in the warmly lit coffee shop, taking in the sounds of the espresso machine, the smell of the freshly roasted beans, and the comforting voices around me. I’ll sit in silence, taking smooth, deep breaths in and out of my nose, warm mug between my hands, and enjoy.
When calming the mind and centering yourself, it helps to pay close attention to your individual senses, one by one. What can you observe with your eyes? What can you hear if you close them?
What type of chair are you sitting on? Are your legs crossed or uncrossed? What does the table feel like if you run your hands over it?
What sensations do you get as you lift a warm latte to your mouth, breathing in the steam, touching the mug to your lips, and taking that first sip? Does it bring back memories of another time? What does it taste like? Mmm… I can taste my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season right now!
Paying attention to these little details can help declutter your mind, calm your nerves, and help you realize that life’s not so bad after all. We have so much to be grateful for, and there is nothing we can’t accomplish if we take the time to slow down and breathe. Incorporating this type of practice in your life will make tackling your to-do lists, goals, and day-to-day activities much more manageable and enjoyable. Bring it on!