Yes, I am going to have a chat with you about “grind culture”. I know, I know. You’re tired of hearing everyone talking about it. I know that I’m tired of hearing about it. But for the first time recently, I took a weekend to intentionally do nothing and practice mindfulness.
So, what does this mean exactly?
Well, the other weekend I spent Saturday doing laundry (air dried laundry just hit different – a new level of freshness), I went grocery shopping and then I made myself a delicious dinner. I was exhausted so the next day I decided to take a real break. In return, I proudly watched anime and read for most of the day. I know what you may be thinking, well that sounds a lot like procrastinating and running from responsibilities right? It’s not – this is our consumerist conditioning kicking in. This is was a real weekend (for me).
My main goal was to be present. Usually on weekends I am stressing in the back of my mind. Feeling guilt for sitting around to the point I will watch things I don’t want or eat to numb my painful and harsh thoughts. And always after a weekend of a break I go back to work more drained than before. So what made last weekend different? How can you actually relax without punishing yourself? Continue reading…
The art of mindfulness
The art of doing nothing is a practice really. What type of practice? Are you ready for the secret? It is all about mindfulness. Mindfulness is being completely aware and present of what we are and what we are not doing. You see where I’m going right? I’ll walk you through how to plan your day of real relaxation so you can start the next day focused and prepared.
- First, wake up and set your intention. As soon as you wake up, instead of checking your phone – give yourself a second to lay or sit in your current state. Take a few deep breaths to center yourself.
- Next, ask yourself what your intention is for the day. To set yourself up for a successful day of relaxation maybe try this as your intention: “Today, I will take the break that I deserve. I will put myself first, tend to my needs. I will focus on remaining present and recharging my mind body and spirit”. Remember, your intentions should be positive affirmations. Use “I am” and “I will” statements.
- Here is the challenging part. Throughout your day, you are to check in and remind yourself of your intentions. For example, we can get very swept away by stress and worry – sometimes we may even feel guilty for relaxing. These are automatic and pre-conditioned thoughts. You just have to do the work to break those negative thought patterns. So! Anytime you find your mind drifting into that territory or you feel bodily sensations of stress (like tensing up, shallow/fast breathing, or etc.) I want you to revisit the 1-2-3-4-5 breathing technique. Remind yourself of your intention. And remind yourself that you do deserve rest and a day without your stress and anxieties plaguing your mind.
- With every action throughout the day, I also want you to stay present in what you are doing. For instance, if you are eating – practice mindful eating. (I am still working on this one y’all). Really taste your food and take in all of the flavors. Slow down your eating and listen to your body to know if you need more or have had enough. If you are cleaning – clear your mind of everything that does not have to do with cleaning. Stay in your current experience and put your heart into it.
- Listen to your body, I realized that sometimes when I am relaxing I can get into a mode where I start stressing out. Usually when I am marathoning tv – I start feeling restless. My enjoyment begins to turn into avoiding my thoughts. When you feel yourself getting restless or stop feeling stimulated mentally try to things up. For example: where you are sitting, what you are doing, etc.
Why it’s important to rest
In our current culture, we often feel that if we are not doing something productive we are wasting time. Honestly, if we do not feel 100% productive for the full 8 hours of our workday we feel that we are wasting time. In reality, that thinking and behavior only lead to exhaustion. Sometimes during the workweek, I can feel so stressed that I will feel guilty for taking an actual lunch break or even taking time to get up to get water. Isn’t that just ridiculous?
Overworking actually does not benefit us. Now, there is a difference between putting in extra work to get things done, and constantly overworking.
Signs you are overworked:
- You always feel tired
- Difficulty focusing on mindfulness
- Focusing more on what you have not done than what you have
- Feeling anxious and/or depressed
- Unable to remain focused
- Feeling unhappy
- Bodily signs you are experiencing stress
- Feelings of stress mentally
- Experiencing constant feelings of inadequacy
When you are feeling overworked your productivity actually goes down. Think about it, is your 30-minute lunch break really going to set you behind? Chances are, the amount of time you sit at your desk stressed about not doing enough equates to longer than a 30-minute work-free lunch break.
When we allow ourselves to rest we are breaking the cycle of overworking AND we are giving ourselves time to recuperate and prepare for the workweek ahead.
Your mindfulness takeaway
Now, I have a challenge for you. It is relatively simple. This weekend I want you to choose yourself and prioritize your mental health by intentionally doing nothing and practice mindfulness. At least take one day. A day to fully recharge your body, mind, and spirit. And please, do not forget – in order to do this you must grant yourself the permission to do so. Your mindful day off does not include stressing out about work. Give yourself a break and reflect on the difference it makes on your work week and your mood.