The myth that we don’t have time for self-care and meditation
If you have a tendency towards overthinking and worrying, then I want to offer you a perspective shift on making time for self-care – especially mediation.
It’s so common for us to rush around all day, not making time for ourselves, and feeling guilty when we do. Intellectually we are absolutely aware that this is a false economy, running ourselves into the ground, yet somehow we are caught in the momentum of it all and we just keep going for as long as we can.
We all know that we can’t pour from an empty cup. But due to the pressures of modern day living, we still try to do exactly that.
The modern way of living is contributing to the increasing level of burnout that we see in all areas of work; but most commonly in caregivers, medics and entrepreneurs. In these sectors people tend to work long hours and never fully switch off.
The amount of time and energy that we give to our role leaves little left for ourselves at the end of the day. As a result of our tiredness, what we tend to do is head for the sofa with quick, easy food, and watch television until we fall asleep.
I know that often the last thing we think we want to do is spend a little extra time preparing a healthier meal, even though we know it will make us feel better and we may have a little more energy for it the next day. And although we can see our yoga mat or our meditation cushion in the corner of the room, the call of the television is too strong to resist.
We fall into these habits of fast food and television because our tiredness leaves us with little resolve to take better care of ourselves. But I know from my many years of working with patients at The Pennington Institute that this cycle of tiredness and skipping the self-care can be broken. When it is broken, life improves. With more energy and a clearer head we make better choices for ourselves – we might even end up moving on from the work and the lifestyle that was burning us out in the first place.
Something I hear all too often is, “I don’t have time to meditate.”
To be really honest, if you have time for television, then you have time to meditate. The more realistic answer would be, “I don’t have the inclination or the focus to meditate.”
But I’m not judging. I know it’s really hard to get started with a new habit, and I want to help with that.
When I designed my Attunement Process mindfulness meditation course, included in my ‘Superpower Membership’, I built it around the problem that many of us don’t have the time or the focus. I wanted to build a program that got results with a little time as possible each day, and had support built into it to keep you focused and motivated. The research pointed to 8 minutes as the magic number. Studies show that 8 minutes of meditation twice per day is enough to make real improvements to your mental wellbeing that far outweigh the small time investment.
Something as simple as following a guided meditation recording on your phone while sitting on the train or bus to and from work is totally manageable. I think that sometimes when I suggest meditation to people they instantly imagine it taking hours of their day, or even requiring them to travel to a Temple or Ashram. It doesn’t have to mean making any real changes to your schedule – meditating can be really simple.
Improve your mood, reduce anxiety and overwhelm, and become more productive
So here’s another old piece of wisdom – less haste, more speed. I remember hearing this saying as a child and not really getting the point straight away. But now I see the evidence of this all around me.
When we are rushing, we aren’t really getting things done as fast or as well as we would like. We make mistakes, we feel anxious all the time, and make life harder for ourselves. However, when we are calm and focused we actually achieve more.
So less haste = more speed!
When we are talking about acts of self-care such as taking a hot bath after being caught in the rain, or spending an extra 10 minutes in the kitchen to prepare a healthier meal – we are playing the long game. Looking after our health today means less chance of being sick tomorrow. And we all know that being sick really stops your daily to-do list from getting done.
When we are talking about spending 8 minutes twice per day on meditation, we are talking about the mental wellbeing equivalent of preventing sickness. We are calming and focusing our mind today to prevent overwhelm and anxiety tomorrow.
I hope I’ve inspired you to take better care of yourself. Take that bath, cook that healthy meal, and take the time to look after your mind too. Ultimately you will get through your busy days much more efficiently. When we refill our metaphorical cup, we take better care of our work, our responsibilities, and most importantly our loved ones.
To try out the Attunement Process, join a welcoming community, and get my support with a monthly live group call – check out the $1 trial offer here. This Superpower Membership provides deep support and mentoring to help you increase resilience and enhance your ability to deal with the stressful challenges of life and heal faster.