Being Present in a Busy World

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May 16, 2022

It’s safe to say that the world at this moment isn’t going to slow down any time soon. Life only goes quicker as you get older! I remember thinking in middle school how long a school day felt, how summer felt like a good chunk of time (which it is!), but as an adult, it’s nearly just another couple of months for me.

It’s difficult slowing down.

I’m writing about this topic simply because it’s been at the forefront of my priorities the last couple of years. 2020 can feel like a silver lining – we were forced to slow down. Not to leave the house, everything was put on hold. I would see or hear so many people talking about how they were able to get back to things that mattered because life, for a second, wasn’t focused around work and only work.

I don’t want to disregard anyone who felt differently about their experience during that time, and my heart goes out to you if you lost loved ones. I’m an optimist at heart, and tend to find the good out of any situation, so please do not view what I wrote as a bypass of what occurred.

Without that slow moment though, I don’t think we realized just how quickly we are always on the go. It’s normal to book out your schedule with work, kids’ sports or activities, school, etc. that we forget to be comfortable with boredom.

I wanted to write about this to maybe spark a little inspiration to slow down a bit. Enjoy life, without the pressure to hustle through it.

Setting Boundaries

A bit of a buzz word that has found its way into my life. It’s popular for good reason! I want you to know first and foremost, setting boundaries does not make you selfish. It doesn’t make you mean or ungrateful/not being a thoughtful person. Setting boundaries is a very healthy and necessary part of life. One I wish I would have learned sooner.

One way I’ve been able to set better boundaries as a people pleaser is from this quote,
“You teach people how to treat you by what you tolerate”. A quote I unfortunately don’t remember who quoted, but it stuck with me.

With or without boundaries, you’re teaching others how to treat you simply by what you allow to happen. It’s a daily practice, but I recommend trying it out! Even with simple things. Don’t forget you can set boundaries with love, it doesn’t have to come from a hurt or angry place within. It can simply be because you have enough respect for yourself that you know this is what you need, and I admire that. 

Being more in the moment doesn’t mean you’re just sitting there.

For me, being more in the moment is being more intentional with what I am doing. Being present doesn’t mean you can’t do anything but sit there!

Some things I enjoy doing that are more intentional and away from your phone:

Reading, playing cards with my husband in the mornings, playing board games, enjoying the outdoors, gardening, cooking/baking, arts & crafts, dancing, singing, playing an instrument, playing with your pets, traveling, etc. 

These are all great things to do with the people in your life or just by yourself! 

Ways to help me stay present

Staying present is the most difficult part! It’s like a muscle, you have to keep working at it to make it stronger! For me, things that help me stay present:

  • Reflecting on the moments I experienced. From a walk with my pup, to celebrating my husband’s birthday, holidays, everyday moments, etc. By referring back to your memory, it’s teaching you to really remember things that happened at that moment. Notice the things you write about. They obviously stuck out to you for a reason!
  • Ask yourself questions: What do I smell? Maybe your outdoors, do you smell fresh cut grass? Flowers blooming? What do I hear? I hear bees buzzing, dogs barking, the wind blowing through the trees. What’s the weather like outside? Can I feel the sun soaking into my skin? Do I feel a slight breeze that brings on the smallest of cold chills? Is the weather just right, not too hot, not too cold. What can I see? I see these beautiful little flowers blooming in between the cracks of the cobblestone sidewalk, or I see the most beautiful, fluffy clouds. What are my views like? Lots of trees? Buildings? People? What do I feel (to the touch)? I feel the soft leaves, my pup’s soft leash, the grass beneath my feet, the rough bark of a tree or the petals of a flower.
  • Work on one thing at a time. Giving your full attention to one thing is so beautiful
  • Put your phone away when you’re with company. Put it in your purse, leave it in the car, or have it sitting face down out of your sight.
  • Embracing the boredom. Sitting in the boredom is really tough when we have this entertainment waiting for you to scroll through it. Even sitting for five to ten minutes a day is a great practice. Check in with yourself. How are you feeling? Listen to your body.
  • Another thing with “embracing the boredom” practice being content with standing and waiting in line, fighting the urge to grab your phone for the comfort and avoidance of awkwardness. 
  • Do things you enjoy, because you enjoy them. Don’t feel the need to pull out your phone to document it, snapping a quick photo. Instead, maybe, go back and write about how you felt. I’ve been really enjoying gardening lately. I love seeing how resilient nature is. Bringing plants back to life, or making the current ones flourish. It’s so beautiful! 
  • Lastly, work towards a day of resetting. Hide the apps, delete the apps, practice self control. Do something that works for you. Maybe start with not hopping on Instagram for 4 hours in a day – and no being at work doesn’t count! Then work your way up to a day off from social media. Then maybe a weekend or even a week.

I hope this post has helped in some way. Being present isn’t easy but it is enjoyable. You may even begin preferring it that way. Having slower moments and setting more boundaries. You deserve the best, so why not work towards it?

I wish you all the success and slow moments.