How to be fully present
Great Greek philosopher Socrates once said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Since my late teens, I have developed habits of sacrificing sleep and good routines in order to achieve my goals. And because of this, I had achieved everything I wanted before the age of 30. However, the physical and mental cost of functioning and achieving at a high pace have been immense; my body and mind are not as robust and fast healing as they once were. It has become a necessity that I find ways to slow down and look after myself, rather than doing this when I feel like it.
MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Speaking at an all-women event I recently attended, registered psychologist, life coach and trainer Dr Tshepiso Matentjie emphasised that making time for yourself is vital. “Dedicate the first and last two hours of your day to yourself,” she advises. If we are to live our best lives, that time for ourselves becomes an important tool in our arsenal. This is because it is intended to help you be more mindful, something that we could all use, she adds. We live in a world that sells disordered living, which is either about too much or too little – not enough sleep; big portions of food, but not enough essential nutrients; too much time spent working, and not enough on family or by ourselves; excessive drinking; etc. But, realising that you may be out of balance requires you to spend some time thinking about your life, and living thoughtfully. These are luxuries that many people cannot afford, especially when there isn’t enough money, and bills have to be paid. But, they are especially important for women – we are not taught the importance of taking time for ourselves, no matter how small, because every moment is dedicated to something or someone else. The time spent at the beginning and end of your day should allow you to plan, examine and refocus.
HOW TO SPEND IT
Dr Tshepiso advises that you use this time for prayer and meditation, planning your day, formulating your goals, studying, exercising and reflection because you have to replenish yourself. Sleep is equally important. Most recently, results by researchers at Duke University Medical Centre not only confirm the necessity of sleep, but that you must be consistent about it. Strict and regular bedtimes are not just for children. The study, titled Validation of the Sleep Regularity Index in Older Adults and Associations with Cardiometabolic
Risk, and published in September 2018, also found that those with irregular and poor sleep patterns were likely to experience other issues. These included gaining weight, a heart attack or stroke and higher blood sugar and pressure. Co-author, clinical psychologist and professor Jessica Lunsford-Avery has been quoted as saying: “In our study, individuals with more irregular sleep and wake times tend to be less physically active, more stressed and depressed — all of which could contribute to poorer heart and metabolic health.” So, taking time for yourself is not just about feeling good emotionally and mentally.
It is also about giving yourself the best quality of life possible. May you begin your daily work towards a mindful life worth living.
With the pace and stress of everyday life, it can be hard
to make time for yourself. But, this is vital for a good and fulfilling life, writes