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When I first started this blog, my cousin and best friend asked me, “Do you ever feel like you’re LIVING for your blog?”
I was still new at this whole “public journal-ing” thing. So, I didn’t really understand what she meant back then.
But, with time, as I attended birthday parties, weddings, or even happy hours after work, that one question clicked.
People would ask me, “Oh, is this going to make ‘the blog’ tomorrow morning?” Or, “Don’t take a bite yet! She needs to take a photo for her blog!”
Sometimes I felt as though people were mocking me.
But my cousin wasn’t mocking me. She was just curious. Her question was genuine. She was actually wondering whether my view on life and my perception on the world had somehow been altered because I was now documenting it.
It’s true that I was paying more attention to the things around me.
I was more in tune with conversations. And I felt like I was able to re-live those moments because I forced myself to notice all the little details and interactions.
But, some days, I felt like an observer of my own life instead of a participant.
I was watching my life. Instead of jumping right in and BEING in it.
It’s why I choose not to document my day to days anymore. (Not to mention, they’re pretty mundane out here as of late).
But I’ve also been actively trying to stay more present. More grounded. More IN my life.
A few things that I have been trying that have been working for me are:
- Short spurts of meditation and mindfulness throughout the day. I’ve been using the Simple Habit app on my phone and the meditations range from 5 minutes to 20 minutes. And they are all set around specific intentions. So, whenever I’m feeling a certain way (whether it be struggling with body image or just feeling frustrated after work), the app has been really useful in helping me come down from it all.
- Turning off notifications on my phone. I am trying to manage my “squirrel” attention span and it’s so difficult to do that when you’ve got things popping up on your phone every 5 minutes. I don’t NEED to know whether my Instagram photo is being liked in the present moment. I don’t NEED an alert each and every time I get an e-mail. Flipping through different apps has negatively impacted my attention span and focus.
- Using my Bluetooth headphones. When I’m listening to an audiobook or a podcast on Bluetooth headphones, it means I can tuck my cell phone away out of sight. It used to be that I would be listening to a podcast and also have my phone in my hand scrolling through my Instagram feed. Spoiler alert: your brain doesn’t attend well when it’s being asked to multi-task.
- Processing the events of the past day. When I go to bed at night, I allow myself a few minutes to reflect on the day. I run through my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I give myself some time to think about the connections that brought me joy. And I even allow myself to think about interactions that brought me discomfort. I think of ways in which I could have responded so it didn’t have to leave me feeling uncomfortable. Or, I simply recognize that discomfort happens and just let it go.
- Do one thing at a time. It used to be that when I was doing dishes, I’d also be listening to a podcast and simultaneously cooking something on the stove. Or, if I was resting on the couch after work, I would have my phone in hand or something to “stimulate” my mind. But research shows that “boredom breeds brilliance.” We can’t have constant stimulation and also expect to be our most creative selves if we are filling in every little gap of time with “productivity.”
Question of the Day:
Whether you’re a writer or a blogger or a private journaler, I’d love to hear how you manage to stay present as a participant and not as an observer. While still documenting the special moments in your life. Leave a comment. Send me a message. Share your wisdom!