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Less stress, More mindfulness

I think it's a healthy practice to check in regularly on how we feel our year is going.

A big deal is made about the year ending and when the new year begins but how about the time in between, this is just as important.

I invite you to pace yourself through the year, and do a check in on how you are going. I do it every 3 months. Let's not wait until the year gets away on us. I liken it to being on a journey and now and again, we need to get our compass out and see if we are still on track. Are we still aligned to what we value, what our intentions are and our goals or are there little adjustments that are needed?

Checking in on ourselves regularly will make it less overwhelming to get back on track.

My mantra for this year is less stress and more mindfulness. Prolonged ongoing stress can eat away at our mental health and overall well-being. I am seeing more women choose their mental health, their well-being and their self care over working so much and over pleasing others. It is so wonderful to see and know more women choosing to listen to their bodies and love themselves.

Perhaps the last few years has caused us to turn to what is more essential, what is lasting as opposed to what is fleeting. I really do feel people are looking for authenticity now more than ever. Our time is so precious, our resources are so precious and we don't get time back once we use it and I think over the last few years, many have been reminded of this even more.

So how do I help keep myself on track and aligned to my values, intentions and goals? How do I get back on track if I feel like I've let life get away on me and I'm just reacting to everything happening around me and everything I need to be doing?

I'll start by sharing some of my patterns in the past and just like any habit, they can come back if you're in a vulnerable place.

  • I ran on autopilot which meant I was not listening to my needs or my body. I put everyone else first - which isn't bad, it's very important while we meet people's needs we also consider our own in the process.

  • I was intensely focused on getting my to do list done! Efficiency and productivity is awesome but not to the expense of other things that are important in our life. Like some down time to help ourselves slow down, other activities that support our sense of well-being, other responsibilities that are important and are also part of our value system.

  • The result of the above was an accumulation of stress in my body which manifested in different ways. (i.e. Disconnected from my own self and from the present life, I was often in the past or future in my mind - which is the opposite of mindfulness. I also carried a sense of numbness. An inability to know how to relax).

  • I didn't realize how tired I was until I would crash and would be forced to rest. Hard working is a good characteristic, but we need to ask ourselves, if we are working ourselves too hard what is the driving force and belief behind that action?

  • When this happens I liken our 'being' to become like a very tightly rolled up ball that hasn't had the chance and space to unwind and unravel. It's in the unraveling that we begin to allow breathing space in our lives, letting go of stress and in the process allowing clarity for our thoughts. When you are a tightly rolled up ball - the light doesn't get in, only in portions. When you allow the unwinding, you allow more light in and light brings clarity and focus and we can 'see' things better = awareness.

Where do I begin?

Time to create some SPACE.

Schedule a day off that gives you a chance to stop. Stop everything, you are doing, stop the momentum of stress that's happening. Even if this step is hard I invite you to persevere with it. It will give you the opportunity to create space - space for your mind, space to reflect, space to just be, some space so you can become more aware about the things that are not working - the 'pain points' in life at the moment and how you can take the small steps to bring positive change. It's like pausing long enough to identify which muscles and parts of your body are in pain or struggling. Identifying what needs to happen so you can take the strain off them and bring more balance in your body. What needs to happen to bring more balance in your life?

The intention of this scheduled day off is to hijack the wheel, pause and give yourself some space to identify some of the things you want to tweak right now. Write them down. Do a mind dump on paper of all the things that are on your mind. Just this exercise alone is going to help get things off your mind and outside of you. It helps to lessen that mental load we carry and gets stuck in that tight wound up ball in us. Let this be quite a cathartic exercise if needed. As adults with many responsibilities and pressures, I personally think we could do with more opportunities of expression and different ways we can do this. We can tend to bottle things up.

From your mind dump or 'pain points' that you have written down, pick one or two of them. Unpack it and ask yourself questions like - what is it that you are not happy with about that particular thing? How did you get to that point? Picture the outcome you would like, note down the outcome you would like and how you would like to feel about that situation or thing. Cultivate inspiration and wonder back into that part of your life and even allow yourself to dream and note this down too. Be specific. This is all part of the unpacking. Then ask yourself, what small steps do you need to take to begin to progress towards being happier about that part of your life. Give yourself a time frame on the action points you have set. My advice is the sooner you complete your action point/s the better the momentum you create.

From doing this exercise I hope you get to see a different perspective about the challenges in your life or the things you are unhappy about. I hope you also see that what seemed overwhelming may not be so much. I hope you get excited again as you gain a new sense of hope about things. I hope it reminds you that you are not alone and that solutions are available and that there is never a dead end. I hope it lifts your confidence and self esteem when you accomplish your tasks and have a sense of progress towards your dreams and intentions.

I asked my young adult kids on some tips on what they do when they lose their clarity and sense of direction or purpose. Below are some of their suggestions on how they approach it.

  1. Make a list - lists are awesome and you can do them in order of priority starting with the top 3 most important. Don't look at how long the list is, focus only on one task at a time and tick them off as you do them.

  2. Cry if you need to - this is a healthy release

  3. Do one small thing - then repeat.

  4. Take breaks - don't grind non- stop

  5. Create a joy list - things and activities that bring you joy and make time for them.

  6. Cut back on the unnecessary

Your rest, recharge time and your time away from all the mental load of your responsibilities, is an important part of the equation of your productivity. It's an essential to the quality of your productivity. Creating a regular habit of unpacking things will greatly help keep things in perspective and in manageable chunks. You also will cultivate a sense of progress because you are doing what you can with what you have and what you know.

Before I end, here are some things to keep close to your heart as you continue on your journey.

Be kind to yourself, reaching your dreams and goals and living your intentions takes patience, perseverance and many small steps. It doesn't happen overnight. That's why it's so important to find peace, contentment and joy on the journey. Focus on mindfully living each day and cultivate being present as living in the past and focusing too much on the future can rob you of the present.

Think outside the box, you don't have to do it the same way you've been told or shown or how you see it being done. Create a new path. Trust a solution will come to you and believe me it will!

Please get in touch with me if I can help in any way on your life journey! I do love giving support through mentoring, coaching or a sounding board for ideas!

Cath xoxox

(This blog post is also available to read on


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