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10 ways to be more present

"I love coronavirus!" - Who says that right? Well, that's what my 6 year old son says out of the blue to me last week. My response was "Oh Really.... Why is that?" I mean some people have said they are taking advantage of this time and enjoying it with their kids, but this was the first time I heard someone say they love this pandemic. "Because I get to spend so much time with you and daddy. You even get to do school with me." Instant tears.... what a perspective. Here we are in the middle of an unprecedented time in history where so many of us are worrying and stressing and this young sweet boy cares most about the time he gets to spend with us. Well if that didn't get me thinking more about my thoughts, actions & gratitude I don't know what would have. How is my energy? Am I being present when I am with him (& his sister)? How can I be more grateful & more present every day so I can take advantage of this time we have together? Here are 10 things I am doing to be more present: 1. Daily Rituals: I start the mornings with some time for me to help set up my energy for the day. I clear my energy with palo santo, drink some lemon water, set my intentions, practice gratitude then meditate and journal. I am still working on an exercise routine to include as well. Nighttime rituals are still a work in progress since our schedule change. We have been staying up later than in the past. Right now my nighttime rituals include a shot of ACV, washing face, brushing teeth and reading for about an hour. We tend to watch some TV after dinner but my hope is to lessen or eliminate that and go for a walk after dinner and work in another meditation before bed. 2. Meditation: I take time every day to meditate. Usually this happens during my daily rituals in the morning but I also meditate during the day or before bedtime when I feel stress or anxiety or are just called to do so. Meditations can look different from fully silent to using music or mantras to doing guided meditations or sound healings with the kids. Meditation is definitely a practice and there is no right or wrong way to do it - the key to both of these is to be consistent. 5 mins every day is better than 20 mins every 3 days. 3. Checking in with myself: I practice mindfulness by checking in with myself throughout the day to see how I am doing and adjust what I am doing accordingly. Am I "in the moment" right now? How is my energy? low, high? Do my feelings & actions meet the intentions I set this morning? I will look around and ask my self what is around me? What do I see, hear, smell? And most importantly what do I feel? What am I grateful for in this moment? If I am called to, I may meditate to help with my emotions. 4. Plan, Prioritize & Flow: At the beginning of the week I make a list of things to be accomplished that week. Each morning I go through that list and pick the top 3 things to accomplish that day. Then I plan out the day to account for those things as well as the kids school & anything else that may come up. The schedule is not super strict because I have learned that in order for my energy to thrive I must have some flow in my day (you never know what bumps may come along...). Now this is a huge work in progress for me. I am totally a list person and usually have about 50 things on my list... and if I don't accomplish all 50 I get down on myself... so I am constantly reminding myself that mindfully accomplishing 3 things while also being a fully present mom is worth so much more than doing a bunch of things at once mindlessly.... Now I can't say I don't still have that list of 50 things, I totally do, so I don't forget them, but I work to narrow down to the top 3 each day and if I have more time I work on more... then dwindle down the list and adjust it throughout the week. 5. Digital Detox: I have been putting my phone down more often and work on finding time every single day to completely disconnect with any digital devices. I get off social media, put down my phone, shut off the computer and do something that is unrelated to technology (maybe read, journal, get outside etc....) When the kids are with me we go outside every day. Also, I do not get online in the morning right away (I do morning rituals first) and also try to shut off all technology at least an hour before bed allowing time for nighttime rituals (this doesn't always happen I have to admit - nighttime rituals are still a work in progress). 6. Listen without worrying about a response: I am mindful to be fully & actively engaged with whoever I am talking to, to not think about how I will respond or anticipate what they will say next. Simply just listen. I struggle with this sometimes, thinking ahead and feeling like I know what they will say but I am focusing on this every day. 7. Enjoy the process: I am working really hard to enjoy every moment of the process without worrying about the outcome. This is definitely easier said than done.... right? We often do things because we desire a certain outcome but if that is our only focus we can lose ourselves in the process. I know this is something I have struggled with and I make a concerted effort every day to remind myself to enjoy the moments along the way. My meditation and mindfulness practice definitely help with this. 8. Reflect: I am taking time every day to jot down some notes on how my day went. This may include my feelings, positive affirmations, what I am grateful for, what went well that day, what could be improved with positive notes on how… I journal about dreams, goals, desires.... I write about anything and everything really. Again, just like meditation, there are no rules here. One day there may be just a few quick words about what I am grateful for and another day it may be a half hour long diatribe about life... Either way I make sure that I set aside the time to write and I spend the time mindfully only writing... doing nothing else. Many people I know mention that they do not enjoy writing or don't feel they are good at it. If you are one of those people I encourage you to try it again. This is not for anyone else to read (unless you want them to), it's only for you. Journaling helps me to process my feelings, think about all the nuances of my day, feel gratitude where I may not have realized I felt it, figure out what is working or not working in my life and so much more. It truly helps me a lot to get things out on paper. 9. Breathe: I am constantly reminding myself "Don't forget to breath!" Part of my mindfulness practice it to check in with my breathing and take deep full breaths. Anytime you feel stress, worry or anxiety, BREATHE. Anytime you are sad or angry, BREATHE. Anytime you are confused or excited, BREATHE. Take breaks throughout the day to take inhale deeply and exhale completely. There are so many different breathing techniques out there that can help us to feel more alive and be more present and aware. A few that I use often are box breathing, 4-7-8 breathing or even just the simple full deep breath in inhaling positivity and full deep breath out exhaling negativity. Breathing deeply give me energy, yet relaxes me. It helps me to feel more alive. I highly encourage you to become more aware of your breath. 10. Listen to my Intuition: Trust. Trust. Trust. When I feel in my "gut" that something is off, it is. I trust this feeling and align my actions accordingly. Trusting myself is absolutely key for me in everything I do and everything I am. It's how I live and work. When I ignore that "gut" feeling that is when I start questioning myself and it gets a lot easier to start spiraling down the rabbit hole of worry & doubt, which is the opposite of presence. My intuition and presence are absolutely related. Presence is such a simple concept right? Just be there in the moment and enjoy every part of life. It's simple!! Simple, but not necessarily easy. I must be very intentional & focused with my time & energy to achieve presence. And I must check in with myself often. Am I perfect at it? No...I don't know that I ever will be. But I practice every day and do my best to be present & enjoy my life for my kids and for myself. How is your presence?

Love & Light,

Jill


P.O. Box 132 Goffstown, NH  03045

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