We are already in the heart of summer, more and more of our friends, colleagues, and acquaintance are gone for holidays and finally, we got some time to cool down from the fast-paced lifestyle we are leading. I personally love to stay in the city when it gets quieter; it gives me the chance to redefine myself, my goals and my vision. I take advantage of the free time and I try to literally declutter my heart and mind from all the unnecessary noise, thoughts, destructions have been pilling up all through the busy times of the year. (If you are unaware of the benefits of mindfulness you can read this Harvard health article I found on physical and mental health well-being). So if you are a little bit like me, and you feel the need to take the time and redefine who you are, what you want to be and most importantly how to be more present in this precious life we all lead, then this blog post might come in handy! I’m sharing with you my…recharging tips and practices that help me renew myself from within, recharge and reconnect with my fire and the passion I chose to live and share with the world.
1. First and foremost: A digital detox
Researches show that on average people tend to spend 3 whole hours on social networking and messaging platforms plus all additional screen time watching what’s new on Netflix. Should I say that out loud? This is the exact opposite of mindfulness; it is in fact the definition of mindlessness.
Did you know that when the neurons in our brain become overload with data and unnecessary pieces of information will ultimately get destroyed? In simple words: a stressed and overloaded brain is at high risk of dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases).
I hate the idea of not utilizing my brain in full capacity but more importantly since I am a woman and I have my fair share of vanity I’m dreading the idea that it makes my eyes look tired and shaggy, it damages posture and creates stiffness in every single joint and muscle and eventually speeds up the aging process leaving everyone emotionally unsatisfied. I encourage all of you to try this 20-day period of detoxifying and you will notice the positive changes from day 4 already, seriously!
2. Read books, preferably literature
During stressed periods I don’t have either the time and often not the mood to read books. Now that things are cooling down (and we just saved ourselves from 3 hours of digital nothingness -wink! ) its the perfect opportunity to start a new book. It doesn’t matter which one; as long as it stimulates our imagination and the title is intriguing enough to invite us in. This is what I do and I treasure it the most: I’m sure that it is my secret of keeping my mindset fresh and helps me stay inspired which is extremely important in my line of work. Doing brief research about the benefits of reading showed me that indeed it sharpens the mind, lower stress level, boost healthy sleep (yes it certainly does!), enhances imagination and most importantly improves memory and focus. These days I’m loving my audiobooks as they don’t restrict me from doing things that I need to do such as cooking or even running on a treadmill.
3. Learn a new skill
Again, I always anticipate the time when I’m not that busy such as the heart of summer to start a new activity or improve my skills to things that I love. My personal favorites: dance and swimming. If you have been thinking about Yoga or Pilates and you haven’t tried them yet do that now. Your body will thank you. Being a coach myself makes me an immediate believer of the importance of having someone to tell you how to improve your technique. Plus it is so much fun to let someone else do the thinking for you and finally just move! Other suggestions: try new healthy recipes, study about nutrition, simple and yet a perfect investment in our overall wellbeing. How about Martial Arts? Anything you chose it will be a gift to yourself. Scientists agree with that: learning a new skill enhances our learning abilities, keeps our mind and body young and gives us a sense of pride and accomplishment that is very good for our emotional health. Yay!
4. Start a journal
It is true. I did it for years and it has helped my emotional health much more than a visit to a specialist. Just dedicating 15-30 minutes per day to self-reflexion keeps me in touch with my emotions, clarifies my thoughts and helps me stay present in time and space. I definitely recommend that to everyone. I’m sure that for all the hard part is where to start; you can write about your feelings, your thoughts, your day. A very popular and absolutely powerful practice is to make a list of the things that you are grateful for this specific day -and they have to be new every single day. What I do very often and this is how I started this habit is the following: I’m setting the timer on my phone for 30 minutes and I just start writing whatever comes in my mind. You will be surprised how enlightening this can be. Take advantage of your free time and start this habit now. Don’t be surprised if you keep it for the rest of the year if not your life.
5. Practice Meditation
It reduces stress, helps sleep, promotes emotional health, enhances self-awareness, lengthens attention span, improves memory, can decrease blood pressure. These are just a few of the benefits of regular meditation that have been proven scientifically. It doesn’t have to be too long. Start slow, only 5 minutes but do it two times in a day. Then after of couple days add two more minutes and then two more. Without noticing you would have reached at least 12 to 15 minutes of meditation and don’t be surprised if this becomes an essential habit of your day.
All in all, the message is always the same. Take advantage of this slow period of the year and start some new mindful habits that will just benefit your overall wellbeing. Let’s treat ourselves with the kindness and respect it deserves.