11 August 2014

Now Is My Time #30: Seven Month Report

I meant to do a six month report but we were out of town that week and I guess it just slipped off the radar. But I thought it would be great to do a mid-year roundup of my This is My Time initiative. Here are a few things I can report as progress, which was the big goal for this year.

1) Self-care: Wow, what a difference six months makes. I am so much better at regulating my well-being. I think there are a few things that have factored into that. I am getting more rest, eating meals at more regulated times and making sure I take snacks and water with me when I go out. Those are just the little things. In every way possible I am making sure that I keep myself well. Guess who hasn't been sick this year. I can't remember the last time I had a pesky cold, sinus infection, or other annoyance of that variety.

2) Time Management: I am thinking daily about how I use my precious time. I have done a lot more things this year that I enjoy doing. I take time to paint and do other creative projects when I feel like it. I keep those needs on the radar. They are needs. There is a part of myself I connect with through artistic endeavors and I need that time.

It's easy to spend hours on the computer or watching TV or other activities that may seem restful or relaxing but in the end, for me, don't rejuvenate me. So when I have free time I want to use it doing something that feeds my soul and brings me genuine happiness, rather than fleeting entertainment.

So making time for more meaningful activities every week has added a real element of greater joy to my life. I think much more about how I use my time. I ask myself "Is this what I most want to be doing with this evening (or this hour of free time I have)?" I spend less time on frivolous things and more time doing things that really feed my soul. I also find that the more I look for free time to do those things, the more visible and accessible it is.

3) Meditation And Emotional Balance: These two definitely go hand-in-hand. I have learned to be so much more aware of how I'm feeling emotionally. I have learned that often our emotions or stress levels are way out of balance before we finally notice them. The sooner we notice we are not feeling quite right, the quicker we can take measures to keep ourselves in a healthy place.

When we're in that healthy, calm place we are better communicators and decision makers. That means we also have a calmer environment around us and better relationships too. I have learned to recognize much faster when I am feeling out of sorts and I try to take immediate action to get to a calmer state rather than waiting until I am full blown angry, frustrated or sad.

Meditation has been a big part of that. If I wake up feeling stressed I immediately do a guided meditation that addresses what I'm feeling. After just a few minutes I feel calmer and am able to jump into my day feeling empowered and in a good place -- plus much more relaxed. I can do this any time of day if I take a few minutes to do a breathing exercise or a short walk, whatever is doable in the situation to bring my stress, fear, frustration or anxiety level down.

4) Gentleness And Kindness: One of the big lessons of this year has been learning to be more gentle with myself. It's so easy to put such intense expectations on oneself. Sometimes events of the past haunts us and keep us from being able to move forward. When I am gentle and kind with myself I give myself room to be imperfect, feel worthy of love and hope for great things to come. We have to feel we deserve those things and often times we don't give ourselves that grace, even when it's easy to extend it to everyone around us. Learning to be loving and kind to myself has been a big lesson and practice for me this year.

5) Gratitude: The lessons of gratitude never seem to end. There is always more to be grateful for and more beauty and blessings to recognize. This year I have felt increased gratitude for small moments of happiness each day, for friends new and old, and for the endurance and strength to do hard things. I appreciate more than ever the blessings of good health, home and family.

When I signed up for Instagram earlier this year I realized it was a way for me to be more grateful, to lift my head up and see more of the beauty around me. I have stopped many times to snap a photo and enjoy a view I might have missed. Finding gratitude in small things seems to make one more grateful for everything.

Those are just a few of the life lessons I have learned this year. I have had the chance to learn from some amazing people this year who I have met in many different arenas. I am so grateful for their influence in my life. Thank you too, dear readers and blogging friends. I learn so much from you too. Wishing you a beautiful day and week to come.

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