Embracing the Everyday & the Extra Day
Throughout our lifetime we will hear the phrase “Every Day is a Gift” pretty often, but have you ever truly pondered this notion? This year we are given an extra day, and on the eve of this 2020 Leap Year I encourage you to sit with the idea that each day is truly a gift. Let this sink deep into your spirit. Then tomorrow, I want you to embrace your extra day as you should embrace every day - ecstatically!
Here are 5 different ways you can embrace the gift of living not only in your extra day but in each and every day.
Mindfulness not only stimulates the mind and makes us more engaged in our daily lives, but it can also engage the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for lowering heart and respiratory rates, blood pressure, and muscle tension. What’s even better is that mindfulness is something you can take with you everywhere and it can be practiced anytime, anywhere.
To be mindful means to maintain consistent awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and sensations in our surrounding environment. If you are new to mindfulness, start small by simply sitting in silence for a few moments and let your focus be drawn to your surroundings. Focus solely on one thing at a time, giving freedom and space for your thoughts to flow.
*5 Minute Pro Tip: Find a peaceful area of your home and create a comfortable space for yourself. Take 5 minutes daily to sit and be mindful. This could mean focusing on one object in the room and simply observing how it looks on the floor, the shadows it casts, how much you think it weighs, how you think it got from its place of origin to you, etc. Just let the thoughts flow in and out, but in a focused way that helps you be more observant of the sounds, feelings, scents, and visual stimulants surrounding you.
Step outside. This seems simple enough, but if you combine this act with being mindful it can be a whole different ball game. Have you ever looked at the trees around you and thanked them for the air that you breathe, or noticed the intricate differences between each branch? Simple acts like this can not only help you be more mindful of your surroundings, but they can also help you tap into your grateful side. So, step outside and breathe it in, breathe it all in. Let the fresh air pierce your lungs and remind you how beautiful it is to be alive.
*5 Minute Pro Tip: Make simple daily tasks like getting the mail a mini getaway. Embrace the moments you get to be outside, and milk them for all they’re worth. Walk slowly, unclench your hands and your jaw, relax into your body and enjoy the moment. If you have a longer time to take, make getting the mail into a little walk or nature excursion. Notice if any flowers are blooming. Take into account the birds singing, how many different songs can you hear?
One of the most beautiful things about being human is our capacity to feel emotions and connect with others. Sometimes it’s hard to muster up the energy to be social, but embracing connection doesn’t mean you have to be everyone’s friend or dedicate massive amounts of time to social gatherings. What I mean when I say “embrace connections” is any connection at all, be it a beloved pet, a relative, a book, anything that you relate to. If your best friend resides in the pages of an old philosophy book because Aristotle “gets you” then that’s okay, as long as you feel alive from his teachings. Focusing on what makes us feel alive, feel connected, and feel understood should always be an important thing in our daily lives. An easy way to embrace connections, of course, is with living breathing human beings. However, as Aristotle says “a friend to all is a friend to none” so choose to spend time with those who matter the most to you, the people you feel your happiest and silliest self with, and the people to whom you feel deeply connected.
*5 Minute Pro Tip: Check in with someone you care about. It can be a brief conversation, or it can be a long one. You can just say hello, or you can say a lot of things. Sometimes they may need to hear your voice more than you need to hear theirs, or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, having people who care about you is something rare and special, so, just like you cherish and embrace each day, you should also do so with relationships.
MOVE YOUR BODY
When scientists say that releasing endorphins can reduce stress, ward off anxiety, boost self-esteem, and improve sleep, they mean it, and who are we to argue with scientists? Moving your body doesn’t have to mean working out strenuously a certain number of times per week, and it will be different for everyone. Sometimes it might just look like going for a walk twice a week, or stretching before bed. Any way that you choose to move your body, get your blood flowing, and embrace the mind-body connection, you are strengthening yourself.
*5 Minute Pro Tip: Putting your legs up against the wall for 5 minutes each day can help blood circulation, boost energy, and can even improve digestion. If you are too busy to work out or just don’t feel like it, this is something you can do daily that will still be beneficial to your body.
UNLEASH YOUR CREATIVITY
Something that has always resonated with me is that as humans we are all “cut from the same cloth,” if you will, but we are all so vastly different. Each person has unique qualities and ways of seeing the world. Embracing your creativity is not only empowering but it can even lead to new discoveries or ways of doing things. Creativity allows you to express yourself, promotes thinking and problem-solving, reduces stress and anxiety, gives you a sense of purpose, and can lead to feelings of accomplishment and pride. I hear a lot of people say that they are “the least creative person ever” but this simply isn’t true. Everyone is creative once they find their voice.
*5 Minute Pro Tip: Everyone will be different with how they like to express themselves, but whatever gets you excited, whatever you would volunteer to do for free on a Saturday, do that for 5 minutes each day. If your creative outlet is not something that can be done in a short amount of time, then either take longer to do it daily or dedicate a few nights per week to this. In the meantime, use your 5 minutes per day to brainstorm and get excited about whatever it is you are working on.
As I mentioned earlier when talking about unleashing your creativity it is important to remember that everyone is vastly different from one another. Some of what I talked about will resonate with you, and some of it won’t, and that’s okay! Take what serves you, and leave the rest.
Today, and every day, is for you. Live it mindfully, openly, lovingly, creatively. Embrace it, ecstatically.
By: Sarah Hiers