Monday marked the 4th day of March and the 1st day of my month-long mindfulness challenge. The goal of the challenge – to fill those in who may have missed my post from last week – is to create more mindful appreciation in my everyday life. By retraining my brain to be more present, my hope is that all of the anxiety I experience from stressing over the need to control my future will begin to lessen and eventually subside.
So, as promised, I am here to report on how my first week went.
When I first came up with the idea to do this, I had imagined my first week going very differently than it did. I assumed I would focus on just creating my new routine with the goals that I had outlined sprinkled in. I figured I would have a difficult time being able to stay focused and really spend the time that I needed reflecting on small moments throughout the day. I would end the week with some heartfelt journal entries and a list of ways that I had struggled to stay less stressed and more positive.
What I didn’t realize was that this initial week would bring a lot of intense emotions to the surface that I would not be prepared to handle. I never imagined that a challenge based around building more positivity into my daily life would result in an emotional breakdown only 5 days in.
Regardless, I promised to share my weekly highlights from my journal as I went through this challenge and I plan to follow through on that, no matter how vulnerable they may be. My goal in sharing these reflections is that they might strike a cord with others and shine a light on some very real issues that have grown out of our seemingly “social” society.
- I became very anxious when browsing social media. Browsing social media had become such a passive activity for me that I hadn’t stopped to think about the toll it was taking on me. When I really started to think about how I feel after looking through Instagram and Facebook, I realized that I was kind of depressed. I wasn’t on a luxury vacation or out partying with my group of “best friends”. I am not able to afford the trendiest clothes and my body doesn’t look like the hottest celebrities. Everything I saw created these feelings of envy – I want this and I want that. Suddenly I had completely lost perspective on how lucky I am to have the life that I have. I have a great home, two sweet puppies and a fiancé that I absolutely love. We have created a beautiful life that is perfect for us. My life brings me endless amounts of happiness when I actually take the time to appreciate it and don’t waste my time comparing it to other people’s lives around me. I decided to unplug completely Thursday afternoon – no cellphones allowed- and going forward I am going to focus on spending more time enjoying the life I have created and less time with my head in social media. (Did I mention my fiancé is making me breakfast right now? These are the moments truly worth living for.)
- I struggled to define my values in life. Every day I found myself asking “what is my why” and how can I create a life that is more focused when I am unable to establish what is it that is most valuable to me. Currently I am at an in-between in life – I quit my job to once again follow my heart towards something that would bring me the type of satisfaction and joy in my life that I was craving. My goal is to become more true to myself and stop letting people’s opinions and ideas around me dictate what is going to be best for me. But with this freedom always comes endless choices and deep moments of self-discovery. What am I looking for? This week that question triggered a lot of fear and self-doubt as I am still not sure what the answer is… but what I am slowly realizing is that is okay. My answers will come with time and there is no rush or pressure. This is my life and I control what I make of it.
- I realized how much I am still grieving the loss of a very important person in my life. It has been almost a full year since my Aunt Margaret passed away. Although I have gone through my ups and downs throughout the past few months (the holidays were really hard for me), I have tried to bury my pain deep down and move forward with my life that way I know she would have wanted me to. However, this week I found that every time that I tried to focus on staying more present, she would pop into my head and flood me with memories. There is so much in my life right now that I wish she was around to be a part of… she was such a genuinely joyful spirit who always believed in me and loved me endlessly. My pain and sadness is very natural; I should not fight it. Taking the moments that I needed to feel sad brought more relief than I have felt in months. I head into this next week knowing that it will be tough (she passed away on 3/15/18 and I am already crying as I write this ) but that I am capable of moving forward and tackling every day as it comes.
Overall, my first week of Mindful March caught me off guard… and I must say that I am thankful that it did. Originally my goal for the month was to be more positive, however, after a tearful breakdown I realized that true happiness only comes from allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and open to our emotions. Staying true to how you are feeling and acknowledging both the good and the bad is the only way to truly grow as a person. No one’s life is perfect and acknowledging that is not easy – we all have our own personal struggles and things that we deal with that make us uncomfortable. But if it were so easy, there would be no satisfaction in knowing the true strength it takes to overcome your challenges.
I look forward to more discovery in this coming week – stay tuned!
Sending lots of love and positivity,