Finding the Self in the Midst of Chaos — Time for Me
It may feel difficult to find time to step away from your busyness, but doing something for yourself doesn’t have to take long. And, it is important for your health and wellbeing. Here are three short and sweet ways you can take care of yourself to ensure you are giving your best self to those you lead and serve.
1. Reconnect with Nature:
Research shows that spending time in nature has physical, psychological, social, and spiritual benefits that enhance our overall wellbeing. Whether you have five minutes or an hour, you’ll find yourself feeling better after getting outside:
- If you only have five minutes to spare, step outside and practice mindfulness by focusing your attention on one thing you are observing. Perhaps it is the sound birds chirping, the smell of fresh water, or the sight of rustling leaves. Try to maintain your attention on that one thing for the entire five minutes. Practicing mindfulness helps us feel more grateful and connects us to a deeper sense of self.
- If you have more time to spend on yourself, take a walk in nature and notice what you are experiencing. What do you see? What do you feel? What do you hear? What do you smell? You’ll likely return from your walk feeling more calm, less stressed, re-energized, and motivated to conquer your next task.
- Check out this New York Times article to learn other ways to meditate in nature.
2. Get Inspired:
There are many amazing people, stories, and experiences throughout history that can inspire us during these challenging times. Perhaps you take the time to read The Diary of Anne Frank, watch Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday episodes, or be motivated by the blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer. Ask who (or what) inspires you to keep going? Here are a few other links to people and stories The Prouty Project is inspired by:
- Peter Bailey’s TedX Talk on The Heroic Journey Mindset
- Sarah Reinersten’s “Crazy Dream” as an Ironman Athlete
- Richie Parker’s Unstoppable Spirit and Tenacity
- Candy Chang’s “Before I Die…” Movement
- Brother David Steindl-Rast, a 93-year old Benedictine monk on “Blessings”
3. Take Time for Gratitude:
Gratitude is the best gift that keeps on giving — and its free. Practicing gratitude makes people happier, improves self-esteem, increases resiliency, improves friendships and social support, and can even improve sleep and reduce blood pressure. Here are two simple and effective ways to express gratitude:
- Start a gratitude journal and take two minutes each day to write down three things you are grateful for — they can be anything — big or small. As time goes on, you’ll easily start to recognize all of the positive things to be grateful for every single day and focus less attention on the negative. You’ll be surprised by how much it will change your perspective!
- Say thank you to someone in a handwritten note. Think of someone who has had an impact on your life and share with them how they have affected your life for the better. This person could be a friend, family member, coworker, mentor, teacher, or a person in your community. Taking the time to write down how you feel about them will not only make you feel great, but they’ll feel great too.
As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, it is important to take care of ourselves so we can feel like we are doing the best we can each day. Even if you only have a few minutes to spare, make sure you are doing something for yourself every day. You will not regret it!
Essay Three, Part One in a Series by Peter Bailey, Adrienne Jordan, and Kristin Jonason at The Prouty Project.