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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Griffin

Self-Care Sundays: Being Intentional

Happy Sunday! Given the many demands in life, it is easy to find yourself operating on auto-pilot. Sometimes this can lead to feelings of being disconnected and generally unsatisfied with life. You find you are checking all the boxes for your responsibilities, but are you taking the time to check in with yourself? Today I want to explore what it means to be intentional and how it relates to the topic of self-care.

I really enjoy many aspects of mindfulness and have found myself utilizing it more in my therapy practice. I'll share more on mindfulness in a future blog post. One of the foundations of mindfulness is learning to be present and aware. To me, this speaks to being intentional. Just learning how to shift to being intentionally present in the present moment can help with enjoying life more. This is an area I am continuing to work on in my own life with putting down and stepping away from my devices. We sometimes can get so caught up with social media, following the news, following YouTubers, etc. that we find we are more present in the lives of others and less present in our own life.

When we shift to be present in our own lives, it helps us to connect to ourselves and others more. As a parent, I try to be as present as possible when I am interacting with my son. I know there are a thousand different things I could be doing, but he is more important than any of those things. When he is showing me toys or wanting to play, I have to be conscious to put my phone down and walk away from it. Connecting with my son is a gift. In the same way, I also try to be present when I am talking to my husband. Nothing says I love you more than connecting in an activity or conversation. I also find that I feel more connected when I am fully present with my family. Similarly, I would not a very good therapist if I were thinking of all the things I need to do and scrolling through my phone during a session! I may miss something meaningful a person says that I need to follow up on and explore. Being present, all around, helps me to operate more intentionally.

So how does this relate to self-care? Here's the thing. When we are on auto-pilot we don't pay attention to what is happening at the moment. We are checked out. We skim right by things and don't take the time to reflect on our responses and emotions in the present moment. I'm not the best me when I am not present. So with being present and aware, I can reflect on how I am feeling and how I want to do things intentionally.

Some ways that I try to be intentional are by taking some time to "mentally check out" on purpose. I always have a lot that I am thinking about. I think having some intentional time to check out can help with not checking out on accident. So for me, my planned "mental check out" time is during the time I workout. During that time, I'm not worried about having my mom hat on, and I'm not worrying about responsibilities, research, therapy, or anything else on my list. This is my time to be present and just have a clear mind for a few minutes or an hour. Some people enjoy meditation as they enjoy the stillness. If that works for you, do it!

I think you have to develop a plan for intentionality in your life. Carving out time for certain activities helps with this. An example of this is how I will set 2 hours to work on some research or writing and when that time is up, I'm back to being present with my family. Other things to be intentional around can be eating habits, electronic screen time, having date nights with your significant other, spending time with spiritual/faith practices, and limiting the time you spend on doing work. The purpose of being intentional is for you to do things that will ultimately fulfill you. If you are finding that you are in a bad spot mentally, be intentional to seek help. Check out my blog on "Finding the Right Therapist: Why Therapist Fit is Essential to Progress" if you are wanting a therapist to help you with developing more strategies to lead to a more fulfilling life for you.

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