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The Time Is Now

Author: Lauren Coleman

Last year I downloaded the meditation and mindfulness app from Headspace and unfortunately made it through just one lesson. I simply didn’t seem to be able to tell my mind not to think and found myself getting fractious as my conscious wandered off thinking of more seemingly productive things I could be doing.

Like most of you, daily life is very busy and I have a lot going on. You may or may not know but in my other life I work for a busy global organisation looking after a very talented eCommerce team, and of course you’ll have noticed I’m over on these pages frequently too. I strive to keep both roles separate and have got better at dividing time for a personal life too but alas the always-on culture we have now means work and play often overlap. Sometimes my head is a little too ‘busy’ for my liking and I’m surprised by my reactions to certain situations.
When I have a lot on my plate, even if it’s super fun or just general day-to-day tasks I can get a bit overwhelmed and find myself muddling through rather than enjoying the moment; always thinking about when I’ll have to leave to get to the next place, where I’ll buy be buying food to eat tomorrow, heavens, this week has even included planning Christmas Merchandising. At the moment it’s all about dashing around, nipping in, and thinking ahead.

As my mum recovers from her illness and my four of my close friends welcome babies in to the world I see how I need to embrace the little things and focus on the here and now. Life is so blinking precious.

Back in my summer goals I mentioned how I was trying to take a bit more time out. Since I’ve moved to a more rural spot, the wildlife have done for offering a bit of tranquility (if you remove next door-but-one’s cockerel from the equation.) However I’ve become increasingly interested in taking the path to mindfulness again and would welcome the opportunity to switch off and gather my thoughts in a more collected way. This time I’m willing to put in a bit more effort.

Yes mindfulness seems a bit trendy at the moment but I think it’s important to look after your mental wellbeing. So girlies I’d love to hear about your own experience with mindfulness and how you’ve learned (or are learning) to be more present.

There’s a couple of books on my Amazon wishlist on the subject such as Ruby Wax’s A Mindfulness Guide For The Frazzled, The Little Book of Mindfulness by Dr Patrizia Collard and I’ve heard good things about Mindfulness in Eight Weeks written by Michael Chaskalson but I’d love to hear your personal recommendations.
The blissful images you see in the post were captured by the very talented Marianne Taylor and you can see more Cornish lifestyle portraits over on her blog.

{Contributors}

Photography by Marianne Taylor | Model: Lucie Rose Donlan | Hair: Severin Hepburn of Hepburn Collection | Jewellery: Jane’s Handmade Jewellery | Surfboard: Adam’s Surfboards | Accessories: Roo’s Beach

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Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
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31 thoughts on “The Time Is Now

  1. Lauren- I can totally relate! How did we ever manage without instant and constant access to the Internet, I’ll never know? I have toyed with the idea of the Headspace app but, like you, just didn’t seem able to truly focus on it. One thing I have enjoyed is adult colouring books – not rude pics – but with more grown up pictures to colour.
    I also enjoy, no sniggers please (!), knitting and have also recently tried to get back into reading having taken advantage of our local library. Another thing I aim to try for in the future is no phone time after 9pm.
    Looking forward to hearing other people’s suggestions xxx

    1. Clare I agree on the knitting, I know it’s very old-womanish but I find it extremely relaxing. I usually put a film or a Poirot on whilst doing it and it really helps me to wind down.

      Personally, I’ve tried mindfulness and just couldn’t get into it. I found exercise, going for a long walk with the dogs or doing some DIY or gardening work much better for me – all things I look forward to doing again once baby has finally made an appearance.

    2. I think knitting is ace Clare. The only thing is I can ever manage is a very long ‘scarf’! What have you made so far?

  2. Hi Lauren, I am all for mindfulness! I think you are right it does seem ‘trendy’ at the moment but I think there’s a key point that people can easily miss about mindfulness and then find it doesn’t work. Too often people that try mindfulness say how hard it is to switch off- I absolutely agree & am often the same. The key is actually to ‘notice’ the present and ‘notice’ non judgementally, with full awareness that your mind is ‘drifting off’ to other places. Our minds have 10000s thoughts a day and it’s about noticing these & that it is what your mind is doing as opposed to getting lost/ going on autopilot or in fact to trying hard ‘not to think’ which can make them come back more powerful. So when you next practice mindfulness and your mind has raced off somewhere in that moment the key is to tell yourself ‘I’ve noticed my mind has had a load of thoughts that took me elsewhere’. The great thing about mindfulness is you can do it anywhere and for as little or long as you like. Great post Lauren!

  3. My Dad and my mum both meditate. Ok, so my dad may have got slightly obsessive over it to the point that whenever we saw him he seemed to spend most of the weekend meditating but my mum is much more sensible about it. She has to meditate for 30 minutes every day and although I used to think she was just having a nap she swears by her quiet time. My Dad is actually a qualified TM teacher (meditated with the beach boys BTW!) and did teach me when I was about 16. I can’t say I ever got in to it, mainly as I just couldn’t find time, which is silly really. I am also a big advocate of knitting and also recently got some of the adult colouring books but I just haven’t got in to that yet. I really do need to find some time to switch off as I am permanently looking after the girls, working or baking! I’m liking the idea above of no phone after 9pm so definitely may give that a go. xx

    1. My aim is to make is through a film/ Netflix episode without reaching for my phone. I multiscreen constantly!
      I love that your mum meditates. I’m not sure I could find 30 minutes though!

  4. I’m a huge fan of the colouring books too. If I’ve had a particularly anxious day, it really eases my mind. I really want to get into mindfulness more, but that has been a good starting point. What works for me is not watching too much pointless TV. We both work quite hectic jobs in the city and would find ourselves coming home, plonking ourselves down in front of the tv and watching whatever is on and not really talking properly. One day, we stopped doing that and wee now spend our evenings with music on, cooking dinner together, bottle of red open and just talking. It’s bliss. Exercise is also really key for my mental well-being too, more so than physical. I find the whole concept of mindfulness and the rise of anxiety and other mental health issues quite fascinating / worrying. I wonder how the next 10-20 years will pan out? I think I might delete my facebook account soon. I never really post on there but I definitely subconsciously compare myself to other people. Which is silly, but easily done. Great post Lauren, thanks xx

    1. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others isn’t in Sian. I always have to tell myself it’s not the same behind the filter. Well I know my life isn’t anyway!
      Your evenings sound blissful! Mindless TV is such a time zap. When I was working full time in the office and blogging on the side I stopped myself switching it on and I was so productive for two precious hours.
      You are so right about exercise being key for mental wellbeing. I was having this very chat with some of my colleagues yesterday x

  5. Perfect timing again Lauren – how do you do it?! I’m am close to burn out from work at the moment to the point where I am barely sleeping and am starting to feel ill. I’m so busy that I can’t switch off at all. Usually I try to go to the gym twice a week to dance based classes as it fun and feels like less of a work out, and I go to a monthly book club to give me a reason and focus to make time to relax with a book. At the moment I am just too exhausted to do anything. I saw Ruby Wax talking about her book on TV a while ago and I am really interested in reading it. I’m hoping things will quieten down at work as more people go away on holiday and I have a few days away on a farm in Lincolnshire coming up soon (luckily they do not have cockerels)

    1. Claire, I really feel for you. I can empathise so much as I felt a similar way several months ago. My mum saw Ruby Wax at Edinburgh Fringe when she launched Sane New World a couple of years ago and was really inspired by her so I think it’s definitely a worthwhile purchase.
      So pleased you have a trip away planned as getting away from it all really helps you take stock and get some perspective. Have a lovely relaxing time x

  6. Yoga for me, which I took up last October after the death of our dog. I was so grief stricken that my blood pressure went AWOL and I knew I needed to make some space for me to just calm down. Have loved it ever since. I only go once a week but it really helps me quieten down for an hour and I always sleep brilliantly afterwards.

  7. This is all too familiar. I find several things help: exercise for sure, for me specifically going out for a good gallop with my horse. It is the absolute best way to clear your head and remember what the pleasures in life are about. (understand this isn’t going to work for everyone, with the need to a) be able to ride and b) have a horse). Gardening or even housework, something you need to focus on but isn’t challenging – I often surprise myself that I have spent an hour not thinking about work and all the stuff that is stressing me out because I was concentrating instead on changing bed sheets and hoovering, not glam or particularly restful but it helps the headspace. My final thing is date nights – it’s all too easy to prioritise time for everything and everyone else and not spend any quality time together as a couple which just becomes another thing to stress about. Going out or staying in, but no phones, just the two of you talking. x

    1. Focused but not challenging activities are really productive too! Maybe I need to do more cleaning rather than more mindfulness….

  8. I’m currently studying mindfulness. A couple of years ago I started to suffer really badly with Anxiety and Depression. Upon seeing a councillor, she recommended Headspace, which i quickly downloaded. At first I couldn’t switch off, life is so busy. But after a couple of weeks, i found myself switching of and taking sometime for myself, after all it’s just 10 minutes of your time. This is why I’m now studying it I want to learn more. I would highly recommend Ruby Wax’s books. I would say stick with it, and you’ll feel better for it.

  9. Sounds like a lot of us are in the same boat. I did it a few years back when I suffered from rubbish sleep and a bit of anxiety. It does clear the mind a lot in the morning however I am the same – you think of all the things you have to do (dishes, shower, put washing on, make up, hair, tidy up lounge etc.) and then you have to keep bringing your attention back… I always got frustrated at the end when you had to listen – can you hear noises – cars, birds, people. Yes thanks, I’ve been hearing the noises all along – I can’t switch off very easily/at all.

    Mornings before work are just not a good time to try and do anything – limited time people! My time to just sit and take stock is eating breakfast and reading Grazia for 5 minutes. My quiet time..

    Good luck Lauren 🙂

  10. I used headspace for a number of months and found it really useful. I think sometimes mindfulness can be mistaken for meditation and hence the reason people beat themselves up when their mind wanders off. I’ve found that being mindful really just applied to everything in everyday life. Noticing what you eat, the things you really enjoy, the words that might have inspired you, a nice walk you’ve had. Being mindful is just about being present and not thinking too far ahead. They suggest starting with little things like noticing how your feet feel as you’re walking or how your head feels against a pillow. Once you start picking up on these tiny things you start to recognise feelings and emotions that perhaps had gone unnoticed before. Don’t feel like you have to lay in a dark room and close your eyes to feel the benefit xxx

  11. Such a well timed post – I’m also dashing around trying to get a million and one things done and feeling like I’m missing the really important things, like my daughter growing up!!

    A couple of things that are helping me carve out more time and sanity are firstly, my bullet journal and secondly a digital detox.

    I started keeping a bullet journal in June and at first I thought it was going to take loads of time out of my day, but actually it is helping me focus and use my time more effectively.

    With the digital detox I now set aside 4 hours on Saturdays where my phone & ipad get turned off and chucked under the sofa where I can’t reach them (I’m not quite ready to give up the tv remote but that is next on the list…eeek). It felt horrid for about the first 30 minutes, but it has swiftly become the best time of my week and I find it much easier to stay present without these distractions.

    Good luck!

    1. Cat, I feel really inspired by the idea of switching off digitally for an afternoon. As much as I’d like to do an evening detox it doesn’t accommodate my working patterns.
      I’m just reading about the bullet journal now. How long does it take you to update? x

      1. To be honest not long at all – 5/10 mins maybe, but I use it as a to-do list that I update throughout the day. There are hundreds of examples online of people doing wonderfully arty, creative things in theirs, but mine is pretty much functional only, although I like the idea of adding some zentangles to help relax….The initial set up probably took an hour and I just followed the instructions on bulletjournal.com to the letter. The first couple of weeks were slightly confusing but then it suddenly clicked how I needed to adapt it to make it work for me.I now have a two page spread for each week, split into 8 equal sections – one for each day and one for the following week. I add tasks/events to the days section. Every morning I move any carry forwards over and its this re-writing that helps focus me as to what is really important – after a few days of writing the same thing down it becomes clear that I either don’t need to do it, or, if I’m adamant I do, then I need to work out what is blocking me from getting it done.

        I think its one of those things that when you hear the concept you either know it will work for you or won’t – you could spend hours updating it each night I’m sure!

  12. Lovely post, and can totally relate – I’m building a photography business alongside working full time in IT (as well as renovating our house…and recently married too…), so I’ve also found meditation incredibly useful. It’s really hard to switch off at first but that’s kind of the point – I’m learning to observe my thoughts as they float by and think to myself, “Hmmm, that’s interesting”, instead of thinking, “BRAIN, WILL YOU JUST SHUT UP FOR A SECOND!!” 🙂

    I can also heartily recommend the Calm app, and they’ve also released an accompanying book which is a lovely read.

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