Wherever you are, be all there. With loved ones, family and friends, be all there. In moments of solitude, be all there. In times of dreaming, brainstorming, planning and trying, be all there. Relaxing and unwinding, be all there. In moments of great sadness and stress or celebration and joyfulness, be all there. It’s only when we’re fully present that we fully connect with our emotions and surroundings – and understand how they interlink. Wherever you are, open your eyes and be all there.
The holiday season can sometimes be stressful. We want to have a magical time with our loved ones, and that can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make it happen for everyone. To make it a little less stressful, we sometimes have to alter our perspective. Our expectations won’t always match our reality, and that’s ok. Sometimes the most memorable times are the spontaneous ones. Sometimes the most memorable times are the quietest ones. But most of all, the most memorable times depend on who we’re with. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what we do, but who we share this time with. It’s the ones we’re with who will ultimately make it magical. Let’s not stress about the holiday time. Let it happen naturally.
What do Sundays mean to you? Perhaps Sunday is the day we take a breath, curled up in bed with the curtains shut, soaking in dreams like fuel for the upcoming week. Maybe Sunday is the day we catch up on everything we wished we could have been doing over the past week, whether spending time with family or lending some time to a special project. Perhaps Sundays are the days we find gratitude, forgiveness, awakening. Maybe, to some of us, Sundays are not so profound. Whichever way, I think we all need those moments to slow down and relax, to wander and wonder, and to enjoy and appreciate, whether a Sunday or another day of the week. It is sometimes hard to escape the daily grind, but make sure to take some time for yourself. It will make those more dull moments a little more bearable.
Rewarding ourselves and taking breaks from periods of hard work as a form of motivation is much easier said that done. Procrastination is only a simple click away and hitting the snooze button on the various tasks we have to accomplish is much more appealing than getting our hands dirty. It’s easy to reward ourselves without actually having to do the work in the first place. So that means this form of motivation has gone out the window, right?
Wrong. We need to strip down the idea of work-then-reward. To me, at least, guilt and anxiety always underpin procrastination and laziness; in the back of our minds, we know that we will eventually have to get to work and we have nothing to look forward to. Besides, what have we really done to earn or deserve that time to ourselves and time to enjoy? There is something so much more pleasing and refreshing about getting tasks and targets done before rewarding ourselves, because we earn that reward. The reward becomes so much more valuable and special. Those undercurrents of guilt, anxiety and misery are displaced with feelings of accomplishment, fulfilment, relaxation and satisfaction; there is no work that needs to be done because we’ve already crossed it off our lists! If you have trouble with procrastination or getting to the point where you can reward yourself, be realistic but start small; take regular breaks between your tasks and then slowly increase the intervals so that you start to train your mind to not only crave the reward but also crave the feeling of achievement that accompanies the reward and is even a reward in itself. Get the work done, and that reward will taste all the more sweet.
William S. Burroughs once said: “Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer”.
It is important to take time to yourself to re-energise, re-root and re-prioritise. I don’t just mean by having a break at work or watching some TV before bed, but taking some time, even fifteen minutes a day, to reflect on your feelings and thoughts whether mentally, verbally or by writing them down. Summer to me is the perfect time to focus on yourself, but I think we should make it a daily habit. Taking time to relax allows yourself to clear your mind and open it to new possibilities or a path that you’ve been hesitating over. Taking time to breath can even turn a seemingly disastrous problem into a solvable one. Sometimes relaxing allows you to see an answer that has been staring you straight in the face.