Well, June’s just about over and we’ve come to the final week on our June calendar. Today’s Motivation Monday theme is probably my favorite of the entire series: Reduce the Noise!
It’s all about powering down this week and reducing the loud screams of the world, the media, and the digital age for our attention. That almost seems like an impossible feat, right? It certainly does to me.
In the day and age we live in, learning how to power down has never been more important or vital to our physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Here are 10 ways you can start powering down this week.
1. Get fresh air every day. Ah, the power of vitamin D and clean air! One of the best ways to clear your head, reduce the noise of the day’s challenges, and create mental space is to spend a little time in the great outdoors. Even if all you have is 10 minutes to walk around the block, do it! You’ll never regret a moment spent outside.
2. Walk or run with nothing other than yourself. No watches, no iPods, no phones. Before the dawn of the digital age, how did we survive just walking or running in the great outdoors with nothing other than our thoughts, the distractions of nature, and maybe the occasional birdsong for music? It was a simpler time, wasn’t it? One that I long to go back to from time to time, which is why I will occasionally drop a run or walk into my routine that’s completely “unplugged.”
3. Make an effort to lighten up your schedule load. Take a good hard look at your calendar. Then start canceling stuff that you can drop. Freeing up an hour or two in your week will give your more time for doing, well…nothing. Don’t replace what you cancel with other things! Just let the ebb and flow of life run its course and strive to not overbook yourself.
4. Create digital down time. It seems silly to schedule time to purposefully not use your computer, tablet, or phone, but it’s absolutely necessary in today’s hectic age. I have a large bedroom, so my office is set up in a corner of it. This is both very convenient and very distracting, because whenever I wake up or go to sleep, my work is staring right at me. That’s why I’ve instituted digital down time for myself. Monday through Friday, I can use my digital devices between the hours of 7:30 am and 7:30 pm. After that, everything gets put away or shut off. If I can’t complete everything I need to do during that 12 hour period, than I’ve got bigger problems! (I’d like to narrow this window in the future.) On the weekends, I try to only do what absolutely “must” be done and step away from the computer otherwise.
5. Find the form of meditation that works for you. When we hear “meditation,” we often thinking of perching ourselves on a pillow and chanting. I meditate every day, and it certainly does not look like that! Over the weekend, the photo above was the view from my house. A sight like this certainly ignited some meditative time for me as I watched the storm roll in and witnessed the power of nature. Sometimes meditation is as simple as doing a little reflection while you’re washing dishes or baking cookies. Other times, 20 minutes of quiet time sitting on the porch is all it takes to center yourself and quiet your spirit. Don’t make meditation complicated and just another item to check of your to-do list. Incorporate it into your daily life and find the form of seeking peace that works for you.
6. Every day for one month, do at least 1 thing to de-clutter your life. Tackle your inbox one day, dejunk the closet the next, purge the pantry later that week. If you do just one thing to clear the clutter from your life per day, by the end of a month you will have taken 30 steps toward achieving more freedom in your life!
7. Have one completely unplugged day a week. I’m still working on this one and to be honest, it’s not going so well. It is incredibly challenging to avoid technology these days, but making an effort to power down one day per week can be very beneficial. I try to do this on Sundays, using the unplugged time to refocus and reset myself for the week ahead. I’m not to a point of complete “detachment” yet, but I’m working towards it and hope to be by the end of the summer.
8. Take a media fast. Sometimes one day unplugged just isn’t enough. You may need a media fast, by which I mean digital media. No computer or tablet, no or limited phone (for emergencies only), no iPod, no TV. Just you and a stack of books (maybe even from a brick and mortar library!) and a few days to “fast” from the news, the blogs, the podcasts, the internet, the crazy pace of the world at large. Chances are you’ll come back feeling refreshed, invigorated, maybe even a bit sad that you have to return to “the real world.”
9. Eat light at night. Just like we should power down our digital devices at night, we must give our bodies time to power down as well. Eating a big, heavy meal at the end of the day only puts stress on your digestive system and liver, which in turn can result in poor quality of sleep and consequently poor restoration of bodily systems. Make it your goal to eat lighter meals at night, emphasizing more fibrous vegetables and fewer starches, heavy sauces, salt, and sugar. After a few weeks (maybe even days) of eating like this, you may find yourself feeling lighter and younger than you have in years.
10. Avoid staying up too late. How late is too late? Well, that depends on the person I guess, but my parents always said that nothing good happens past 10 pm besides sleep, and I agree. Sleep is when we regenerate, restore, detox, and physically “power down” so that we can power through another full round of life the next day. You absolutely MUST power down your body if you want to achieve good health, so make it a goal to get more than 7 hours of sleep each night if possible. I will be honest with you: I usually sleep at least 9 hours a night, and sometimes I still wish for more! Sleep is the one nutrient we never talk about, but it’s like water. Without it in sufficient amounts, our health will take a nosedive.
For the previous Motivation Monday posts in this series, here’s a recap:
How do you power down? What is your favorite way to unplug and reduce the noise in your life?