Last month, I was listening to a fellow panelist talk about the myth of work-life balance.
General Assembly had invited us invited to speak about mindfulness, what it meant to us and tips for how to build it into a daily routine. He said that the creation of strict boundaries between work and life only pushes us further off balance when we fail to adhere to them. When we’re doing one and we feel like we should be doing the other, we may feel stressed and unfocused. Rather than see each activity separate, he suggested taking a more fluid approach, finding ways to integrate work with life and visa versa.
As a solo practitioner, building my business often flows over into my personal time, making the concept of a traditional working day virtually non-existent. Between client sessions, creating nutrition presentations and organizing events, I love what I do. And while it doesn’t always feel like work, sometimes it can be challenging to draw the line and ‘switch off.’
To help change this mindset from “I’m doing everything but nothing 100%” to “Ok, I’m making progress” I’ve started keeping a daily mini list. Using pen and a notepad, I pull it from my (much) longer to-do list. By being very intentional with what I want to accomplish that day, it helps keep me on task, focused and feeling less overwhelmed. Fun fact: this blog post was on my mini list for today!
Pulled from other panelists and my own experiences, here are three ways build mindfulness into your day.
TRY A (PHONELESS) WALK AROUND THE BLOCK
Whenever I used to take our dog, Dexter, out for a walk, I’d bring my phone. I’d call and book an appointment, look up a new restaurant or scroll through IG. While perhaps efficient with my time, I was distracted and didn’t feel refreshed when I returned home. Now, unless I feel like I need it, I’ve stopped taking my phone on our walks. Stopping multitasking means more time to connect more Dexter, appreciate my environment and take a mini mental break.
While a weekly massage would be amazing, self-care can be practiced in small ways. For me, that means setting some time aside each week for workouts. It also means saying ‘no’ to some social activities. I find that saying ‘yes’ is less painful and often the easier route. When I say ‘no,’ I’ve found that a) no one really cares why you can’t do something or go somewhere b) my work time is more focused and c) my friends are my friends even when I say ‘no’ sometimes :)
PREPARE YOUR SPACE
I love to clean. I find sweeping or scrubbing super relaxing. Having a clean, organized physical space also helps to clear my head; I’m better able to stay focused on the task on hand. Every few weeks, I’ll pick a different space to clean out and reorganize - I’m always surprised by how much stuff has accumulated! I organize items by ‘linking’ them to others to help me remember to do something. For example, keeping Dexter’s tiny toothbrush near his treats as a reminder to brush his teeth after treat time. Or keeping a small cutting board with my dishes to make cutting a piece of fruit or veggies as a snack super simple.