Well, I've been doing it. It's just not going as expected.
Here's the thing with challenges and most things in life: You have to make it work for you for who you are and where you are in life. Where I've been is the of Anxiety and Overwhelm. When you work with people, you don't always get the option to pause your work because of how you feel. More importantly, when you work for yourself, there is no such thing as paid time off. Unfortunately, because no one will let me take three months off from paying bills without penalty, I have worked a whole lot of days when I should have been at home in serious self care mode. Because of this, anxiety and overwhelm almost feel normal. To be honest, I've often become anxious because I wasn't feeling anxious and didn't have a full to do list that was busting at the seams.
Surely you've never felt this way.
With that being said, I had to find space for breathing and being in the middle of the chaos that worked for me. It had to become part of my routine that didn't involve the guilt I often felt when my mind wouldn't let me sit for meditation. I decided to create a peaceful energy with music.
I love Insight Timer. I have no affiliation with the site other than being a user since 2018. A couple of years ago I upgraded to the very affordable premium subscription and I haven't had one day of regret. Insight Timer has amazing courses and lessons and meditations but I mostly use it to set the tone when I wake up in the morning and when I go to bed. Something about the peaceful, melodic sounds (as opposed to the rap music I often rock to in the shower) that gives me a sense of ease when I feel like I am rushing in the morning or when I can't get comfortable (mostly because of my racing mind) at night. I do have a tendency to read my Kindle at night but, often times, I'll find a track, practice one of the breathing techniques I've learned in Tracee Stanley's meditation training and go to sleep.
Side note: Let me say that I am well aware that a sitting practice would help me tremendously but, even as a meditation teacher, this season (for a myriad of reasons) hasn't lent itself to the consistency of one. I'm still working on it. I think these "roadblocks" will make my teaching that much more powerful.
I've found this to be an anchor on days when I feel like a failure from not "sticking" to the challenge and I have found it valuable in cre
ating a practice/routine as it has now become automatic like washing my face and brushing my teeth. I have also found that it helps trigger other habits I am trying to establish. I have not found it to be a cure for my anxiety but it reminds me that, even if for the five seconds it takes for me to turn on a track and put my phone down, I am in control of some part of my day and my life. That's a big deal.
Honestly, I've lost count of what day it is of the challenge. I'm glad because I'm not marking down the days until it is over because I hope this par
of routine never ends. Being willing to try something new and edit the parts of my routine that were more detrimental than nourishing was the challenge.
It's always been the challenge.
And now, the same way I felt when I finally started to eat breakfast in my late twenties or when going to the gym became a routine or when I decided to go back to journaling, I feel like I have taken one step towards better and I'm not even paying attention to how big the steps feels. I'm just glad to be moving forward.
What mindful step (no matter how small) can you take today towards better?
Whatever it is, I'm rooting for you.