Reminder: Be Here Now

Be here now.

I know that can sound like some hippy fluff but when you really think about it, all we have in life is this moment.

How many moments have you let slip by without noticing them? I know I’ve let most days slide by without more than a minute of mindfulness at most. My excuse is always the same “I just didn’t think about it” or “I was too busy”. But the truth is that this is not a way to live. Humans are meant to spend time being present, in whatever way that resonates for them. Not only because we want to savor in the memories but because it will also make us more effective in every other aspect of our lives.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness or any form of metacognition (thinking about how we think) can help us combat anxiety, monkey brain (frazzled reactive thinking) and build our creativity. My Aquarius ass has always wanted to be more creative; it’s one of the reasons why I started this blog. I know that when I am on my yoga, meditation, exercise routine it is so much easier for me to create but I also know how hard it is to cultivate and maintain a routine in our fast paced society.

Being Busy isn’t Better than Being Here Now

To build this routine I had to make the conscious decision (with the help of a great presenter Sally Thornton at the HR West Conference) that being busy is not cool. By that I mean that being a workaholic won’t produce better results and that having a jam packed schedule doesn’t make me successful. A way to prevent myself from being too busy to practice mindfulness I schedule these things in to my day. Every night before bed I meditate. I try to schedule time on my calendar to brainstorm or think creatively AND I leave as much blank space in my days as possible.

There is nothing wrong with scheduling time for you to rest. Not only is it crucial for your mental health but it’s also kind of fun. Enjoy a glass of wine or read a good book, it’s good for your brain.

Be Here Now

Please take some time this week to be here, right here, and notice the world you are in at this moment. Meet yourself where you are and give your soul a big thank you for being here and getting you through the day. It doesn’t have to be all hippy dippy chanting or meditation (though I am always here for that as well) – just make it authentic to you.

Whether your mindfulness takes the form of a yoga with Adriene video, painting, guided meditation or an interpretive (or wildly improv’d) dance it doesn’t matter as long as you are present. Take a time out and after you do drop me a comment on how you feel.

Relaxation Station: 5 Relaxation Techniques for the Technology Addict

In our chaotic, ADD, screen based society it’s almost impossible to disconnect and unwind. I find myself staring at screens almost all day. Some of this is work related but some of these wasted and blinding hours are self-inflicted. I could spend hours watching “Tasty” videos on Instagram, makeup tutorials on Youtube and creating Pinterest boards about my future home, birthday and wedding. I was beginning to get concerned about the amount of time I spend staring at screens so lately I’ve decided to invest an hour of my day in disconnecting and finding ways to unwind.

Warning- I’m still horrible at this but I’m getting better. At first not constantly being in communication with my friends (aka social media updates about people I barely know) felt lonely but I’m slowly beginning to get more comfortable with my alone time.

These are my five favorite ways to relax, unwind and quiet my anxiety.

  1. First on my list is Yoga with Adriene.I once again turned to my best friend youtube to solve my problems and it gave me Adriene. Youtube yoga is an ideal stepping stone for someone like me who needs to constantly engage in human interaction and needs to relax but can’t afford fancy shmancy fitness classes. Adriene has a yoga for EVERYTHING. Yoga for anxiety, yoga for weight loss, yoga for a broken heart – the rock n roll yoga queen does not disappoint. Spending 20-30 minutes a day with Adriene has improved my anxiety, my attention span, my self-esteem and has strengthened my body. This is my favorite way to unwind and put myself in a meditative state without having to sit still. screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-9-02-12-pm
  2. Next is Calm. Calm is a free app on IOS and Android with guided meditations on it.I know what you’re thinking, “But Em, you can barely sit still why are you trying to meditate” and to be honest I thought I was incapable of meditating too. But after laying in Shavasana too long after a particularly hard Yoga with Adriene video I decided to give guided meditation to old college try.Guided meditations are ideal for people like me who cannot be alone with their own thoughts. With the calm app a lovely woman talks me through the entire mediation process. After doing this off and on for months I can now spend at least two minutes in silence without having a panic attack. It works-  I promise. When you download calm you receive a free trial of their subscription service, which is only $30 a year one the trial ends and provides me with hours of guided meditation.

    If you decide to keep the free version and not take the $30 plunge you still receive some of their shorter programs and my favorite, the Loving Kindness guided meditation. Loving Kindness is a program directed at sending positive energy to yourself and others. It’s a wonderful reminder that everyone, even that misogynist in marketing at your work, deserves love and kindness directed at them.

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    The UCSB Labyrinth. A beautiful location for walking meditation.
  3. A new addition to my relaxation routine is walking.Its free, helps with anxiety and is a wonderful form of light exercise. Lately I have been walking to anything that is a mile or less from my house. Walking is another way to disconnect from my screen without feeling alone, there are always a million cars and people moving trying to run into me. Also, Calm has a walking meditation that is perfect for these short strolls to doctors appointments, interviews or the pharmacy.You may wisely point out, “But, it’s almost winter! How are you going to continue this walking practice” to which I say, I live in Southern California and I have no idea what seasons mean.

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    Hermione scolding me for not keeping up with my love of books
  4. Reading.I honestly feel ridiculous for forgetting during college that this is the most relaxing pastime. Instead of scrolling through Instagram in the dark I have been leaving the lights on a bit longer and picking up a book. I love to read! I love to read so much that I majored in books (English). What am I doing with that English major…well I work in HR but that’s beside the point. I’m a huge fan of non-fiction (check out my thoughts on my favorite non-fiction novel at the moment Feminist Fight Club in a previous post) but I think bedtime stories should always be fiction.Lately, I have been rereading my Vonnegut collection, Harry Potter, and The Name of the Rose.

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    The beautiful Comforter Bubble Bar available at Lush
  5. Bubble baths.The finale — and, in my experience, fastest working and most effective form of relaxation is taking a bubble bath. With a little help from our good friends at Lush the bathroom can go from boring to beautiful at the drop of a bath bomb. I have been obsessed with Lush for years and adore most of their products. The comforter is a tried and true classic for relaxation.But with the Holidays swiftly approaching my current favorite is The Magic of Christmas Bubble Bar (And no, dear reader it is NOT too early to be using Christmas bubbles).  

By using one, or more, of these techniques a day I am slowly regaining control of my anxious brain. I’m sleeping better and I have more focus in my daily tasks. I highly recommend creating a relaxation routine and giving it a try. Let me know in the comments if I’m missing out on any good relaxation techniques.

What’s your favorite way to unwind?

-Em