Quiet the world around you.
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed the occasional podcast episode that I stumbled upon that made me think in new ways or inspired me. However, I’ve never been the type to devour them on a regular/daily basis. A couple of months ago… I fell into a rabbit hole of self-helpery episodes and it got quite out of control. After two weeks of my new walk/listen ritual, I realized I wasn’t even listening to the person in my ear! I also had a sharp reality check—having chatter in my ear everyday was actually doing the opposite of helping me. It was causing me anxiety. It took me a few days of stepping back to assess the position I put myself in and the negative impact it had on me. My nervous system was completely out of sorts. I felt tense and edgy.
I was giving myself no time at all to just sit with my own thoughts. Do you know how important this is? Especially these days? It’s massively crucial. We live in an era of constantly entertained, distracted, busy if we choose so. We are called human-beings (not humans doing) for a reason. This doesn’t just apply to podcast consumption, too, it applies to how we spend our time/energy. Life cannot be fully enjoyed to the fullest when you are constantly consuming or in go mode, looking away from the present moment you are living.
I just wanted to share this with you in case I can help snap you out of it! I needed that so badly. So, to give you some ideas on how to ease back into being present, here’s what I’ve been doing…
—An obvious, but put your screens away as much as you can.
—I have been reading again at night before bed or when I am early to a pilates class (no audio or kindle, etc.)—which has ALWAYS made such a huge impact on my sleep, focus, and overall contentment.
—Jazz in the morning and while driving (or something like my Nancy Meyers playlist).
—Exercise daily—pilates or walks.
—Spending time on activities where I get into the zone—rearranging my home, organizing, gardening, reading a magazine or design book. I am actually trying to add more of these hobbies to my life… I have been thinking about getting a guitar or a piano and teaching myself how to play. At some point I would love to take a tennis lesson!
—Take deep inhales and exhales a few times a day to release anything.
*your list will look different, inject things that ground you and bring you moments of quite…
Focusing on these small things have led me back to feeling grounded again… more relaxed and present. A week or so into this shift and I feel peaceful. I was driving yesterday with the windows down and jazz on. I picked up an iced coffee and was en route to the nursery to pick up a few things to plant in the front yard. I had such a happy rush take over me as I drove down the beautiful tree-lined street… I felt grateful for life. Can’t tell you how liberating it was. That feeling is exactly what I was desperately searching for when I was looking to others to help guide me, but really… I was the only one who could get me back to that place.
We have one life, and I want to always do my best to stay present, to be content and happy… and enjoy the beauty of it unfolding before me.
Thanks so much for this, Ashley! I’ve been feeling the very same way. Sometimes I feel like I fall out of the habit of reading simply because I’m not sure what to read next – what will feed me. Do you have suggestions for books you absolutely love (def doesn’t need to be ones you’ve read recently!)
I don’t think you should feel like you have to constantly be reading back to back books… but maybe keep a feeler out for books you may like and keep a list of those that sounds interesting to you! I personally take breaks and go through phases of devouring books, but then won’t for a couple of months, and that’s okay. I just know that when I am gripped by one, it has such a positive impact on me. I have saved favorites below and also listed a bunch that readers recommended (from a few years ago!):