With the busy-ness of modern life, it’s becoming increasingly easy to forget to look after one’s own wellbeing. You, like me, may find yourself becoming increasingly agitated by the lack of time, and space, for yourself and the things you enjoy doing. In the modern world, productivity is championed above all else yet it is evident that this holy grail of productivity is not always beneficial to our mental health and wellbeing. How do you begin to hold space for yourself?
Limit the distraction of your phone
Way back in 2014, a study revealed that the average person received 63.5 notifications a day – yesterday, my phone alone received 132 notifications with 141 pickups! It’s alarming that I consider this normal. In fact, my gut reaction is to defend this with protestations such as ‘most notifications are turned off’ – although, in many ways, this makes it worse.
Even just having my phone by my side provides a distraction. I’ve picked it up three times getting this far into the post, once to check the usage, once to Google the meaning of a word (despite actually using my PC and having both a dictionary and a thesaurus next to me), and the other time was just because it was there.
It is evident that holding space for yourself (and completing any sort of task distraction-free) requires disentangling yourself from your phone. Try to use the Do Not Disturb function to spend some time away from it, you will thank yourself for it in the long run.
Say no to anything you really don’t want to do
One of the key skills successful people have is saying “no”, in fact they say no to anything that doesn’t align with their values and purpose. The same should go for us all. I have a tendency to be a ‘yes person’ and will volunteer myself for roles I know I probably shouldn’t take on, but do anyway. Often, this leaves me harried and often stressed out.
The best thing I, and people like me, can do is to understand what compels us to always say yes. Only once the motivation is understood can something be done about it. Saying no more often can be the best thing you can do to hold space for yourself.
Set aside some undisturbed time each morning before the day begins
“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it.” This quote from Richard Whately sums up exactly how I feel about my day… and not from the productivity angle. With the busy lives we lead our own needs can often fall by the wayside and get forgotten amongst the endless to-do lists.
With this in mind, each morning I set aside 30 minutes for myself, whether it is to drink a hot cup of coffee, watch a YouTube video, catch up on the news, or meditate. Whatever I decide to do, it is something that I probably won’t get the chance to do for the rest of the day.
It helps if, during this time, you remove the distraction of your phone too.