Life can be tough, no matter who you are. We’re all busy rushing, eyes fixed on the task in hand and don’t always give ourselves the space to pause and think about how we are. Sound familiar?
As a nation, us Brits constantly try to maintain that ‘stiff upper lip’ and plough on because it’s the ‘done’ thing. And it’s the same in business; if we’re having a particularly challenging day – or week – we’re frightened to hold our hands up and admit it. I know that I might come across as a strong and confident woman on The Apprentice, and yes, I like to think I am, but like everyone else, I also have days when I need to refocus and practise a little self-care.
One of the ways in which I do this is through mindfulness. Sometimes this can be as simple as putting down my phone, stepping away from the laptop and getting some fresh air for ten minutes. Or I might clear my head by going for a run, or take out the stresses of the day at the gym. Exercise is amazing for de-stressing, and helps me reconnect with my body and how I’m feeling, whether good or bad.
Another way is through meditation. Many people associate it with religious connotations, but in reality meditation boasts a number of key benefits, enabling you to really touch base with and balance your emotions, significantly reducing stress. Studies have also shown meditation can improve your immune system, whilst slowing the aging process. Bonus.
Ok, so this all might sound like a bit of a cliché, but I can assure you that paying more attention to the present moment and the positive things in life, can really make the difference between a good or a bad day, quickly turning anything negative into a positive.
Just last month, social media was full of people using the phrase “it’s ok not to be ok” to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, all with the aim of breaking down the stigma which surrounds any mental health problem. It certainly shouldn’t be considered a weakness to acknowledge how we are; emotions are just a part of life.
I’m a firm believer of the fact you have every right to be respected by your peers and successful in life or your chosen field, whilst remaining true to yourself. That’s integrity and honesty – certainly not a weakness.
So do me a favour right now. Take five minutes for yourself. Stop. Breath. Ask yourself: How am I today? What can I do to make my time the best it can possibly be? And if the answer is partially about the need to remove some negativity from your life – be it your job, or a relationship, or a damaging thought – use the time to map out what needs to change and how you’re going to achieve it. It might not be today, or next week or even next year, but practicing mindfulness is never time wasted.
Because, in the words of the iconic eighties film character Ferris Bueller; “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might just miss it.”
Be mindful. Don’t miss it.