GAME Plan: Being Mindful of Me.

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GAME PlanHey, Dragons! I’m excited about 2017 and I’m determined to make the last year of my 30s the happiest of my life. While I have big plans for the new year, I’m trying not to wait for that New Year’s resolution to start making changes that will help me reach my goals.

A big part of my pre-resolution strategy is being aware of myself. It’s easy in the everyday hustle and bustle of life, for us to lose track of what we do from moment to moment. Choosing to slow down a little when things are crazy and take a moment to check in with ourselves and figure out what we need and where we’re going is something a lot of us just don’t do. So, between now and January 1st, I’m trying to find tips, tricks, and strategies to help me check in with myself to prepare for resolutions to kick into high gear.

1.) Fitness Trackers and Fitness Apps.

I’ve wanted some sort of fitness tracker for a while now, but have avoided getting one because my husband and I have been planning to get Apple Watches. Two weeks ago, I finally bit the bullet and bought an Apple Watch. I wanted to see how this little piece of technology was going to revolutionize my life. To my surprise, the Apple Watch has turned out to be more life complementary than life changing. I use a lot of the apps to make life easier, and it does come with an activity app, but it didn’t change my day to day routines as much as I thought it might.

Overall, I really like it, but I’m a little disappointed in the Activity App. I question the accuracy, as there are plenty of days where I feel I’ve accomplished my “fitness goals” without having done much that should register as activity. What I do appreciate is the “stand up and be active” reminders. Occasionally, throughout the day, my watch will register that I haven’t been moving around and will encourage me to stand up and move around. The watch also comes with a breathe app that reminds me to take a minute out of my busy day and just breathe deeply for a minute. These reminders to move and breathe are helping me check in with myself through the course of the day.

2.) The Headspace App.

Another thing I’m doing to support my mental health is learning meditation. On the recommendation of many people, I’ve downloaded the Headspace App. It’s a meditation app that leads you through a 10-minute meditation session to start off your day. The sessions focus on breathing and quieting the mind. There is a subscription option, but right now I’m thoroughly enjoying the free version and I’m getting plenty out if it.

I’m only a few days into it, but I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’ve promised myself that this will remain a daily part of my routine. Giving myself permission to be with my own thoughts at the beginning of the day feels great. It gives me a way to center myself so I’m not starting the morning off in a negative place, and it make me feel accomplished because I’m meeting a commitment and doing something positive for myself.

3.) Walk to the food.

Last, but not least, I have returned to walking at lunch every day. I  missed it, and as students became more and more demanding over the course of the semester, I finally put my foot down and declaired lunch time off limits. It’s for me, and I’m taking it back. I love my students and my colleagues, but I will not be much help to them if I’m stressed all the time. Making myself get out and about a little each day gives me some much needed exercise and allows me to take some time for myself.

So I throw my headphones on and walk to a small market that sells reasonable sized and priced sandwhiches that I can walk back with and enjoy at my desk. The headphones are essential for those moments when particularly needy students want to interact. “I’m sorry. I can’t hear you. Let me run to get lunch and I’ll talk to you as soon as I get back.” By the time I’m back, most of the students who would have bombarded me with questions have moved on to getting lunch for themselves. That gives me just enough time to compose my thoughts and prepare for the next wave a students. I’m not neglecting them, but I am allowing myself to stay charged enough to help them out when they need me.

There is something powerful about giving yourself permission to take care of your own needs. It’s so important to take care of yourself, but it’s almost impossible to do if you don’t understand who you are and how you work. Allowing yourself to find ways to escape the noise and reintroduce you to yourself is great and will eventually lead to a better quality of life.

What are your goals for this week? Let me know! If you want to follow me on a more regular basis, if you need someone to be accountable to, or if you want to share your own journey, you can reply to this post or you can follow me on twitter @EpicGrays. Until next time, remember to #WorkOutNerdOut!

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