We live in a crazy fast world and it’s easy to get caught up in the vicious cycle of on your marks, get set…. go, go, go….!
The days are a constant blur of racing to get to work on time, trying to achieve all your work responsibilities, being bombarded digitally, and then racing home to buy groceries, get dinner ready, pay bills and find the time to exercise. This is just my to-do list. For those of you who have children, you could easily add another 5-10 activities on top of mine…!
It is little wonder that at the end of the day, we lie down on the couch trying to buy some “me” time in front of the TV screen, with a glass (or bottle) of red trying to medicate ourselves from the stress and pressure of our lives. We may even turn to our favourite digital distractions: Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
We don’t even realise that this constant bustling between our personal and professional lives is actually making us sick.
Because of this, lifestyle movements such as mindful living, minimalism, meditation and yoga are taking off.
By focussing on the journey and not just the destination and taking the time to “smell the roses” we are able to live life with intention and find balance.
Here are 7 things that I do to help me live a purpose-filled life:
Call it self-care, self-love or even selfish, but I make sure to prioritize my needs. While it is noble to take care of others, and can also be rewarding, it can also lead to stress and feelings of resentment. Remember to make time for yourself because if you don’t, the pressure of trying to do it all while trying to do it perfectly will lead to burn out. Take a moment in the day for you. Perhaps its as simple as having a cup of tea in the afternoon. Or reading a book before bed. Or maybe it’s waking up 30 mins earlier to go for a walk. Whatever it is, selfishness can be a good thing if it means nourishing your soul and giving back to yourself.
2. Just breathe.
Practicing daily meditation or yoga can help you get centered. In fact, by purposefully bringing your attention back to your breath, you are gently cajoling your mind to the here and now instead of what it has learned to do (which is race at a frenzied pace!). When I do yoga and meditation in the morning, I tend to be less stressed and overwhelmed because these activities help set a more relaxed tone for the day.
3. Get organized.
How many of us say that we don’t have time for the things we really want to do? Most of us. And how many of us actually take responsibility for wasting a lot of the free time we do have? None of us.
If you consider that each of us sleeps perhaps 6-8 hours, and works 8—10 hours per day, that still leaves us with about roughly 8 hours (give or take an hour or two each way) to do as we please. So if at the bare minimum we have 6 hours to do as we please, how many of us are using this time effectively to do the things that give us the most joy or gives us a sense of purpose?
So let’s start trading our time wisely and consciously. If you want to get fit, instead of spending an hour on Facebook, spend that hour going for a run or doing yoga. That’s what I do.
4. You are what you eat.
Your nutrition plays an important role in how you look, feel, behave and think. If you’re feeling tired, negative or depressed, it may be because you’re not consuming enough of the right vitamins and nutrients. I am vegetarian so by default I tend to eat lots of fruit and vegetables. However if you’re diet consists of lots of processed foods, white breads, dairy, refined sugar, and alcohol it could explain why you’re not performing at your optimal levels. Increase your organic whole foods intake, eat plenty of green leafy vegetables and drink lots of water, and you’ll notice a big difference in your energy levels and your overall health.
5. Choose happiness.
I get in trouble for saying this (from people who prefer to dwell on the negative) but for me, happiness is a choice. Even if I don’t always have control over every element of my life, I know that I can control how I choose to react, think, feel and respond.
My emotions are within my control and that means happiness is also. Now I’m not saying that at every moment of every day I choose happiness. Not at all. Sometimes I get really frustrated. And sometimes I lose my s%$# when things don’t go according to plan. But I take responsibility for those times and it doesn’t last the entire day let alone the entire week. The truth is, that if you want to be happy, just choose to be happy. Often the only thing separating a negative person and a positive one is their perspective.
6. Avoid distractions.
This is a big one for me because I run my own digital agency and with all the emails, notifications, tweets, and messages I receive it can be easy to get distracted. One second I’m “just checking” a notification and then an hour later I realise I’ve just wasted time on unproductive social media activities. So to avoid wasting time on non-essential tasks and be more productive, I turn my phone off when I work. This means that while I’m working on a project, I have my phone on “airplane mode” and I log out of my email inbox so that I’m not distracted by incoming emails that serve no purpose other than to distract me from the task at hand. I am also particular about having several windows open on my laptop as having too many open can also be distracting.
7. Learn to say no.
I used to be one of those “yes” people. I was afraid of missing out on an opportunity (FOMO) and because I’m a social butterfly, I would say yes to every invite that came my way. But after years of spending my weekends partying and attending events, I realized that I wasn’t making any headway with my life and business goals. So I started putting first things first, prioritizing my time and saying no to the things that didn’t really matter. And I couldn’t be more happier and fulfilled!
Jennifer Nini is the founder of The Social Copywriter, a digital copywriting agency for socially responsible businesses. She is also the editor of Eco Warrior Princess, one of the world’s leading ethical fashion and sustainable lifestyle blogs. When she’s not perfecting a sentence or coaching business clients, you will find Jennifer at her off-grid permaculture farm connecting with nature.