In the southern hemisphere we are experiencing the tropical, warm and comforting season of winter. Yes, I’m lying, it’s not tropical or warm, only slightly comforting when you’re wearing a few too many layers that make you sweat as soon as you enter a heated building. Winter is not a season I hate, I enjoy rugging up warm and snuggling into a warm bed, but getting up in the morning when it’s still dark and leaving the office when it’s dark, it is a bit gloomy to say the least. Anyway, enough babble, this winter I decided to do a ‘blow out’ or as it will come to mean ‘mid winter clean out’, I just didn’t want to put that in my blog title.

The last six months (gosh, almost seven months) of 2016 have been great! I have achieved a few great things that have been on my list; I am doing well in my job, I am having a great time with my friends and I am loving my running more than ever, despite an injury. It has been a great year, however, I have felt that I haven’t quite come to a calm and content state of being. To be honest, I don’t really know what my calm and content state of being looks/feels like yet, but I felt there were some things that I could try out and see if it gets me a little closer to that place.

Meditation

I started using Headspace last year when I was going through a rough six months and found it instrumental in my mind’s ability to find a sense of calm and peace. Headspace doesn’t apply the “you have to clear your mind” type of meditation, instead, it helps your mind allow thoughts to come and go and not get carried away and distracted with each thought that passes by. It also teaches you not to pass judgement on yourself for the thoughts that you have or when you do get carried away.

At the moment I only meditate for 10 minutes a day and for those 10 minutes, I am working on finding a sense of calm that I can then practice at any time of day and anywhere. There are a series of different packs that you can work through, I am currently working through ‘Focus’ which is part of the performance pack. I find that I get distracted A LOT – distracted by chatter, by my phone buzzing, by an email popping up, by procrastinating important work, so I am hoping that I learn some techniques to help me focus a bit better everyday. I meditate first thing when I wake up (yes, I have fallen asleep now and again while meditating) or I do it before I read in bed. I find in the morning to be more effective for me.

Disconnecting

I don’t know about you, but my smartphone is taking over my life! I am ALWAYS on it! It’s not good! If you are like me, I do everything on my phone (apart from writing this blog, although I could on the WordPress app); banking, scheduling events, texting, calling, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, reading the news, emailing, YouTube – everything! Last week I decided I needed to start taking breaks from my phone (social media) and my laptop. I made a conscious effort to have breaks of at least three hours at a time away from my phone, social media or anything that was not “urgent” e.g. work emails/work calls. Doing this at work is a bit easier, you are busy with a number of other things, on the weekend though, it gets a bit harder to stay away – especially if you are a bit of a homebody like me.

To be honest, it was not that hard at all. Instead of sitting on my phone, I started reading a new book, of which I am almost finished. I have been hanging out with friends and my sister and made an effort to not check every single notification that pops up on my phone, instead, I’ve been present in the moment. I have also just sat and enjoyed my own company at times, allowed myself to get bored, which is an amazing way to learn a thing or two about yourself or just to talk to yourself in general – that’s fun too. Disconnecting has been amazingly therapeutic. It has also confirmed that if I don’t check Facebook/Instagram every 30 minutes, I don’t miss out on anything exciting or that’s even relevant to me. I have also tried to limit the amount of Netflix binging I do and I must say, it feels good.

Evaluating and Adjusting

Mid year is always a great time to review your resolutions or as I like to call them “life changes” that you set yourself at the beginning of the year and decide if they need some tweaking or whether you can add a few more on because you kicked ass and ticked off a few already. This winter my evaluation centred around three things – my job, my environment/lifestyle and my running.

  • In my job I needed to push myself a bit more, so I put my hand up for an additional role that I’ve never done before, so that I can be challenged and gain experience in something that will benefit me tenfold when I go into my next role.
  • In my environment/lifestyle – it ties back into my points about meditating and disconnecting, I want my environment and lifestyle to support the goals I have and in order to do that I had to make a few changes. Such as; balanced eating  and drinking habits, socialising with amazing and supportive people, getting more sleep and exercising more.
  • My running has become a passion that I pursue everyday. I want to get fitter, stronger and faster, so much so that I am seeing a coach and getting training on how to become a better runner. Coming out from injury confirmed how much I love it, so I am tapping into the experts to help me be better than I was yesterday.

This winter has been full on season already in my life and one that I am adamant to make a great season. Since adjusting the little things in my life as above, I have definitely felt like I am closer to finding my place of peace and calm in a world that is so busy and also in finding a place of contentment.

How has your year been going? Is it time for a mid winter blow out?

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 – TashTasticNZ –