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find a moment for yourself today

girl sitting on rock having a quiet moment

the last couple of months has been tough…

If I put it into perspective…  at least I don’t live in Syria…  it’s nothing I can’t manage.  Health issues on many fronts, stretching myself too thin and, once again, not listening to my body has meant the time has come where something had to give.

Our bodies don’t coming with warning lights to let us know that something is about to break. But they do give us signals when they are running low.  And running on empty seems to be a modern epidemic.  Meet a friend down the street and ask them how they’ve been, and I’ll bet that part of their answer is “busy”.

busy.  that badge of honour worn with pride by so many

Life is busy.  There’s no denying that.  We’re all plugged in, with time flying by. Places to be. People to see. Things to do. Not enough time.

And then we stress about our lack of time.

How often, though, do you schedule time to yourself?  Time to unplug.  Decompress. Take a break.

no distractions, no people, no guilt, nothing but yourself and your thoughts

Solitude is a beautiful thing and can work wonders when you let it. It’s when you neglect that need for time alone that things come unstuck.

Stop forsaking solitude to keep up with the demands of life. Carve out moments, a brief as they may be. Because once you realise that time to yourself is as real a need as food or sleep, the rewards will be worth it.

So where will you find a moment for yourself today – a moment to feel. to think. to sit – and what will you do with it?

Me?  I’m eating cake and reading a new magazine.  Care to join me?

Image found here.

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9 simple ways to just do as much as you can

blurred photo of woman standing in forest

“besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone.
the wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”
~ Lin Yutang

Life can be complicated. We’re all busy.  Too much to do, too little time to do it. Work. Family. Business. Friends. Commitments. Life. Too many demands on your time and all with conflicting agendas.

Sound familiar?

It was while reading the latest edition of Flow that I came across the phrase ‘just do as much as you can.

I read that phrase and there was a lightbulb moment for me. A sense of joy to know that others were embracing the do-less-go-slow concept. That I’m not alone and not lazy. And the realisation that I wanted to commit to this concept for the next 12 months.

If I’m honest with myself, I’ve been doing this for the last 12 months already. The last 3 months out of necessity, not choice, as my health and energy levels plummeted to all-time lows.

Letting others do for me, and not insisting on doing everything myself. Giving my inner perfectionist permission to leave the mess. Not spending my every waking hour in helper mode. Delegating more at home and freeing up my time for things I love and excel at.  Just doing as much as I can.

it’s time to slow down

I can hear you all inwardly screaming “But how do I do that?  I’ve got too much to do and not enough time to do it!”

Here are 11 ways to get you started:

Make a conscious decision to do less. Focus on what is important, what needs to be done and let the rest go. It might take some practice but keep at it.

Find pleasure in what you are doing when you are doing it. Chose one task to do mindfully today, like, folding the washing. It’s fresh from the line, crisp and clean, and most importantly, now folded.

Disconnect from your technology.  The constant interruptions of messages and calls, and being at the mercy and demands of others. There are benefits to being unreachable.

Be present when you are with others. Without close contact with other people, we grow into cold, lonely beings. Make time every single day to spend with loved ones. Listen. Share stories. Share moments. And you won’t end up with a single death-bed regret.

Learn to say “no”. Alexandra Franzen has even written a 5 step script to saying the perfect ‘no’ if you’re stuck on how to do it graciously.

Eat slower. Savour the flavours, the texture, the taste. And take the time to eat proper food at a sit-down dinner with your family.  Ask about their day and talk about yours. It’s important.

Drive slower. Notice the sights when you drive. Wave to passers-by. Allow yourself to enjoy your inner Miss Daisy.

Stop multi-tasking. Focus on just one task. If you find yourself tempted to wander, stop, breathe and come back mentally to what you are doing.

Take a moment to breathe. There will be moments when the stress and overwhelm will hit.  This is when you stop and take a moment to breathe. And if you need to, take another breath. Continue breathing until the feeling has passed.

and just do as much as you can

2017 is my year to embrace the simplicity, to find time to unwind and to slow down the pace of life.

want to join me?

photo credit: mariateresa toledo Un bosco, un sogno.. via photopin (license)

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living a perfectly imperfect life

give yourself permission to embrace the imperfect and savour the perfect that you already have my life isn’t perfect

There are messes. There are hard days, hard weeks actually. But in the middle of it all, there is also joy.  And I’m savouring those moments because they all too quickly pass us by.

To live a perfectly imperfect life means embracing where I am each day. Taking it one day at a time and enjoying the things that matter most. Focusing on the good stuff and forgetting the rest.

it means stopping the chase for a perfect that doesn’t exist and living in the perfect that I already have

It’s giving myself permission for things to be less than “perfect”.  And with that permission, there is a freedom. A freedom from the burden of trying to always be perfect. Less stressed and so much happier knowing that I don’t have to do it all and do it perfectly.

Instead, I focus on what is already perfect.  I am present in the moment, and I enjoy what I already have and am happy with it.

Because this is my imperfect life, and I am going to enjoy those perfectly imperfect moments as much as I can.

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

Are you giving yourself permission to live a perfectly imperfect life?

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photographing death and decay

hanging-on

death and decay

I’ve been watching this lone, tenacious apple for a few weeks now.  It has held on, slowly shrivelling, while all the other apples on the tree let go to begin their return to the earth.

Death and decay have been hovering in my field of vision for the last couple of weeks. Some near and dear to me have lost ones near and dear to them. And it makes me think, perhaps a little morbidly, that the time is drawing closer to my losing loved ones as well…

As an avid fan of the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell, the subjects of death and decay have fascinated and intrigued me for years.  It’s not a subject I’ve ever been afraid of, but not one I’d thought to photograph myself.  There is a certain taboo and shocking-ness around images portraying death.  Or so I thought until I came across the works of Sally Mann and her Body Farm series.  And when you start Googling the phrase ‘death and decay’, it’s surprising what comes up in results.  It doesn’t mean that I’m going to give up photographing gorgeous families, but it does mean that I’m not going to be quite so afraid of photographing nature and her equilibrium.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Einstein to ponder…

The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there’s no risk of accident for someone who’s dead.

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

Is death and decay a taboo topic for you?  Or is this part of the cycle of life openly discussed?

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why i still turn my computer off at 7 p.m.

boy with ipod

it has been 4 years since I started turning my computer off at 7 p.m.

When I first wrote about turning off my computer, my motivation was to spend more time with my family.  Add to that I was exhausted and in need of some necessary me-time of an evening, these two factors helped me to sustain the practice.

Today, my motivations remain the same. And since reading about the impact of blue light on sleep patterns, I’ve become all the more determined to continue.

A (very) brief look at the science behind sleep…

Melatonin is one of the hormones that influences sleep. It is released into your body by the pineal gland, a pea-sized organ found in the brain. Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles. And we all know how important sleep is for your physical (and mental) health.

what does this have to do with blue light?

Blue light can keep the pineal gland from releasing melatonin, thus warding off sleepiness.

Studies have shown that exposure to blue light at night can be linked to several types of cancer (breast, prostate) diabetes, heart disease, obesity and an increased risk for depression. (Blue Light Exposed)

now, I’m the first to admit that technology has its benefits

I use it most days myself.  But, I also know I’m a bear if I don’t get enough sleep (from 7-9 hours is recommended for my age group).

And having a teenage, game-addicted boy in the house strengthens my resolve.

I turn my computer and i-devices off at 7 p.m. It’s good for my health, plus I’m also modeling a positive behaviour for my Little Man (8 1/2 – 9 1/2 hours sleep is needed by him).

There are other factors as well.  Time spent on social media is adding to feelings of jealousy, fear and loneliness in people.  We experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and are finding it harder to be still and silent. And while it’s been wonderful making connections online, nothing beats an eye-to-eye conversation with someone you know and love.

learning to power down is an important life skill

And while it may take some time to learn the discipline, your life will be richer (and healthier) because of it.

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

Do you power down your devices daily, or are you guilty of leaving your computer on all night?

Have you engaged in a digital sabbatical before?  Would you do it again?

 

And finally, some additional resources that you might find interesting:

Scientific American – Q&A: Why Is Blue Light before Bedtime Bad for Sleep?

Harvard Health Publications – Blue light has a dark side

The Sabbath Manifesto – a creative project designed to slow down lives in an increasingly hectic world.

f.lux – makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

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