When should you take me-time? Everyday. If you're like most people, however, you probably aren't. So, let's think about me-time in a different light. Me-time really can be anything that recharges, refreshes or centers you, and one of those ways is by being 'mindful.' Mindfulness is a heightened awareness of being anchored in the present moment. When you're in the present moment, this is where we let go of the extra layers of stress and anxieties we unwittingly carry around! So much of the "what if" thinking that projects us into unforeseen future events - and worries, or being caught up in the past by rehashing or mulling over things that you did or happened to you previously cause us to carry extra stress that we really don't need. However, when you're fully in the present moment, you are able to fully embrace what actually is ... not what it could become or should have been.
We can practice this kind of mindfulness in so many ways, and here's a suggestion. Try practicing mindfulness while doing something such as a mundane chore. Try concentrating on the chore itself and really paying attention to all of the details and with an open, positive mindset. For example, while washing the dishes, really immerse yourself into it. Notice the water – feel the temperature against your hands. Feel the soap as it becomes all foamy across the dishes. Notice the feeling of satisfaction after having taken care of a dish and placing it to the side. Maybe unexciting, true, but it is something that can allow you to be in the present moment and can train your brain to be more 'mindful' of the moment. Mindfulness can also simply be an act and practice of connecting with your breath, with the body, and centering yourself into the present moment. That is also what meditation is about.
The time limit of being mindful and the 'how' isn’t as important, it’s the act of doing this itself. To be present with yourself, nurturing yourself and giving yourself the respite from overthinking or simply being caught up in your head is the gift – the "present." Doing this in any way, daily, will begin to feed your soul. The more attention you pay to the details around you, the more present you become. And that's where joy resides and grows.
Here's another way to practice mindfulness. Next time you're out in nature, look at the trees, grass, landscape, birds and animals around you. Really look. Sometimes I am in awe when I see a bird swoop in and land on a limb as it surveys the area. The way it’s feathers are colored, its beautiful little delicate body just effortlessly lifting again to enjoy its freedom. Just really absorb the incredible ability to just lift itself and fly.
Notice what is around you – with appreciation and gratitude. It is good and healthy for the mind, the body and the spirit. Just try and remember to take a moment – and many of them – for yourself. Enjoy and live your best, most grounded life – one moment at a time!