*although anyone who posts ANYTHING online may find this post helpful (that’s just about all of us then!)
In one sense blogging naturally lends itself towards mindfulness. I’m sure it’s not just me that finds it extremely easy to be totally absorbed in the writing of a blog post; if the TV is on I don’t notice it, if there is a conversation going on around me I probably won’t engage in it (even if it’s just me and my hubby!), if the house is a tip I won’t care less as long as I can hear the tap, tap of my digits on the keyboard.
However, on the other hand being a blogger may, if we’re not careful, make adopting a mindful approach to life, even trickier than for others. The constant flicking between different tabs when online – Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, other blogs, your own blog, the ease in which one can fall into autopilot mode when scrolling through Twitter or Facebook feeds and how easy it is to always be planning and composing blogs, Tweets, Facebook posts in your head while doing something else in your day (playing with the kids for instance or supposedly having a ‘deep and meaningful’ with your partner) all detract from mindful living. And that’s even before we broach the subject of fitting in meditation practices AND blogging AND managing different social media accounts AND doing everything else that life throws at us… If we’re not careful blogging can affect our well-being and, on a personal level, jeopardise my ‘mission’ to live mindfully.
But I ‘heart’ my new hobby ‘blogging’ so I need to try and make both mindfulness and blogging as compatible as possible. How am I going to do that I wonder?
So here are some of the ideas that I came up with:
- I will remember to STOP when logging on. This slide that I use with my students is a good reminder of what this means.
2. I will endeavor to use ALL my senses more when blogging AND importantly when thinking about blogging when I am doing something else. Whilst blogging I will endeavour to listen to the tap, tap of digits on the keyboard, feel my feet on the floor to help me to feel grounded, smell the aromas around(for instance a lovely scented candle – I have the White Company’s Orange Grove burning at the moment a a Birthday treat from my lovely hubby). Whilst when away from blogging and recognising that my mind is becoming preoccupied with the blog at an inappropriate time (like when teaching Year 9s!), I will also use my breath to reconnect with the present moment and ‘feel my feet’ to anchor myself too.
3. I will make ‘kindfulness’ and gratitude part of the blogging experience. I’m really enjoying ‘virtually’ getting to know some other bloggers and reading lots of different posts. Now I’m feeling a bit braver, I’m even getting involved in some of the fab linkys that are around. Lots is written about ‘blogger etiquette’ but I think lovefrommim’s post about ‘how to be a friendly blogger’ nicely sums up the lovely side of the blogging community and how friendly, encouraging and supportive people can be. Science is increasingly finding evidence to ‘back up’ what we already know that showing kindness to others (e.g. by taking the time to properly read their posts and write considered comments for instance) helps our own health and happiness too. Equally, if someone has take the time to read and comment on a post it is nice to show appreciation for this as gratitude is a principle connected with mindfulness too.
4. On the other hand it’s also helpful to keep the adage ‘thoughts are not facts’ in mind when engaging with readers and other bloggers. When stats are down or comments aren’t coming in, it’s easy to start to ‘make stories’ up in your head about why this might be. Statements like: nobody likes my blog, the posts are boring people, people think the look is crappy etc. creep in and usually are highly self-critical. However, it is necessary to remember that more often than not reasons for less interaction with the blog are generally much more mundane. People have good intentions to read posts but life’s busy and it slips their mind, other bloggers may join lots of linkys and then not be able to keep up with them all for instance. It’s NOT a personal thing, it’s just 21st century life.
5. Finally I will continue to try to put self-care first. If blogging is becoming a chore I will take a break, even a full ‘Digital Detox’ if need be. I find communicating this with followers/the rest of your ‘virtual community’ helps and deleting apps from phones temporarily too! Having a ‘date night’ with my hubby, even as simple cuddling on the sofa watching TV, is much better than both being either end of the sofa looking at different screens! I will also try to prioritise an early night every once in a while for a chance to catch up on some much needed sleep. Going for a run always works wonders for me too – getting the endorphins going – or doing a 3 minute breathing space like the free one on www.franticworld.com. Choosing the right times to decide to put self-care above blogging will hopefully help to ‘recharge’ the ‘blogging batteries’ anyway.
So, I am logging off to go and do a ‘breathing space’ mini meditation. What about you guys? Which, if any, of these points resonate with you? It would be lovely to ‘hear’ your thoughts, I’d be most grateful for the feedback ;-).