Hi y’all! It has been awhile, hasn’t it? I have been a little busy changing the trajectory of my life, but it feels good to be back on this page reconnecting with you. I figured the best way to dip my toe in the water is to accept a guest post. This one is from Sophia Smith. Although I talk a good avocado toast game, I am not officially a millennial, so I better leave the pontificating to the professionals. (I’ll try not to be horribly jealous when she discusses the health benefits of sleep.)
Take it away, Sophia!
We millennials get a lot of heat from the older generations. There are dozens of articles and studies that call us entitled, narcissistic and lazy. We’re often accused of being career-hoppers – the list of ‘names’ continues. I have experienced this first-hand, from elderly superiors who possibly don’t understand the younger mindset and ways of working, to even my parents, who are proud baby-boomers. In my personal opinion, the generation gap has never had such a wedge. My father doesn’t believe in mindfulness; he believes in lying on the sofa after a good day’s work. That’s enough for him. I don’t know whether he has forgotten what stress and being overwhelmed feels like, or if he has never experienced the stress of my generation.
Nonetheless, it’s my firm belief that mindful living isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity for my peers and me. Hopefully, I will be able to paint a picture as to why this is so. Perhaps people from other generations will finally begin to understand us (fingers crossed!). I hope that my experience will also help my peers in their pursuit of mindfulness as well.
Stress Be Gone
Not to sound like a whiny millennial, but as someone who has struggled with asthma my entire life, I fear stress and anxiety more than other people. While I love what I do – writing and blogging are actually one of the ways I practice mindfulness – there are times when work becomes overwhelming. We millennials juggle so much – career, personal lives, student loans, elephants, oranges, flaming batons – the whole shebang.
Sometimes I get so panicky that I won’t be able to complete everything on time that my asthma attacks flare up and then it’s a whole new playing field. So truly, I need mindfulness in my life. I need time to relax, unwind, and personally, ever since I’ve started practicing mindful living, I have at least managed to remove the elephants and flaming batons from my juggling routine.
If you’re a millennial too, you know that the juggling, the external and internal pressures and the voices in your head (not the Phoebe Buffay crazy kind), really take it out of you. At the risk of corroborating the claims by an article titled Millennials The Me Me Me Generation, after a grueling day filled with negative thoughts, financial worries and professional criticism, I am in dire need of some “me” time. Everyone has their own way of truly relaxing and letting the stress flow out through their toes.
My way is the following: first I make a nice meal, as cooking has an incredibly soothing effect on me. I do everything with complete focus and awareness, drown out the noises and focus on the cooking. After a nice meal, of which I savor every bite, I meditate for a while. I place my favorite scented reed diffuser near as the marvellous scents help me get to a serene and focused place. Scents also help me evoke beautiful memories, whether from my adult life or my childhood, and that always brings me peace. I breathe deeply and do my best to empty my mind. After that, I just like to sit with a great cup of tea. Then, instead of focusing on my failures, I write down all my future goals, reflect on all my past achievements, and somehow, all the criticism and negativity rolls off my shoulders.
Some people like to take long mindful walks, run, exercise, but this is my way of practicing mindfulness for wellbeing and confidence. It doesn’t matter what you do – you can shop, do makeup, clean – just do it mindfully and it will work. You will welcome the next day on a more positive note, with more awareness and more stamina.
I’m not proud to admit this, but once stress and deadlines and the daily weight get to me, as patient and serene I am by nature, I tend to snap. I would snap at my co-workers, friends, even my husband. None of them deserved it, but sometimes life just brings out the worst in you. I knew I didn’t want to be that kind of person, so I began searching for ways to be more aware of my surroundings and ways to be more compassionate and empathetic.
So, I started doing some research (secret nerd that I am) and discovered that one of the best ways to achieve mindfulness and improve myself, my personal relationships as well as my professional ones was through yoga and meditation. I can’t claim that I have become the perfect example of a shiny peachy person, but I’m a work of progress. I have come to understand that these people are people I love and admire. More importantly, I finally, truly understood that these are my peers, and that they go through the same things as I do, which made me far more compassionate and tolerant. I don’t think I would have ever gotten to this place without meditation, which I now practice almost religiously.
Hey, I Like My Sleep
They say that beauty sleep is the closest to the fountain of youth. I like my snooze time for that, and other reasons as well. As I have discovered, sleep deprivation can cause you to be groggy, irritable, unfocused, and even depressed. I don’t need those feelings in my life, I have spent light years trying to chase them away. So, if you accuse me of being a sleepyhead, I will take that as a compliment. If a good night’s sleep will bring me benefits such as mindfulness, happiness and productivity, I will sleep for 10 hours if I have to (don’t tell me twice).