Man, writing these blogs makes me happy. I feel like they allow me to dig and try to pull for some truth amongst the chaos and consumerism of the holiday season. AS off late, I feel as though I’m in a desperate need for some truth- some real “I feel ya!” encouragement. It’s so easy this time of year to drowned out by stresses- shopping/spending, traffic, friends/family/work events (as awesome as they are, they somehow become a source of stress!), etc.

I don’t know about you, but this is the time of year I need mindfulness and quiet more than ever. Maybe it is the introvert in me, but while I love the lights, colors, and festivities of this time of year, I often feel worn out. Especially my brain… does anyone’s brain get tired? It’s as if I couldn’t consume even one more article, podcast, post, show, or opinion from another person… Even if I love and respect that person, sometimes you just have to do YOU.

Now, I’m at a point where I recognize the power to stay grounded is within me. I have to take time to focus on me, my growth, my relationships, and to reflect on the year. It has nothing to do with happiness- I have an incredible husband (shout out to Joshua!) and some great puppies- but sometimes you need quiet and time alone to reflect on where you’re at, where you’ve come, and where you want to be!

Mindfulness often gets confused with 45 bajillion minutes of sitting there in an uncomfortable meditative position, just counting your breaths. Well, that ain’t me. I like to say I fell in love with CrossFit because I have the attention span of a goldfish (no offense to any goldfish of course- you guys are neat) and I like to do different things constantly. Counting breaths make work for some, but I gave up on that dream a long time ago… So if my situation sounds like you, let me tell you about what has work to restore some sanity to my days!

As someone who deals with a lot of self-induced pressure and some occasional bouts of anxiety (ok, a lot of both!), I have found my greatest peace comes from times in my day when I could easily waste my time with society’s noise, but I choose not to. One of these moments for me is during my morning coffee. I try (read: not always DO, but try) to drink my first coffee of the day in silence. No phone, no lights (only a candle!), and no daily planning. I get myself a coffee and I sit in our living room with the Christmas tree in the corner and just chill. Just to feel and experience what is on my heart, my mind, my energy.

Some people disagree, but I personally don’t fight my brain. As a naturally anxious person, trying to fight thoughts about the day or whatnot leaves me more stressed out than embarrassing embracing the chaos in my brain. I let my brain go there, hang out, and disappear from the party with classic introvert fashion. I even keep a little Moleskin notebook nearby to let me “data dump”, which has been incredibly helpful. For someone who feels spread a little thin across a wide array of realms, this in incredibly helpful for alleviating fears of forgetting something important or getting off track.

This can also happen during times that are most meaningful to you- morning showers, more structure mediation, or reading the Daily Stoic in front of a heater on the ground (sorry for spilling secrets, Joshua…). There is no “right way”… I’ve found peace while sitting in traffic on I-5 (I’ve also found frustration, but that’s not for this post!). You don’t need an hour, 30 minutes, or even 10 minutes. Breathe, relax, and don’t let the world interrupt your thoughts… Not yet. Give your brain and heart time to reveal themselves and face your greatest fears, frustrations, insecurities, and sources of gratitude. Let your soul pour itself out to you. It’s so so so necessary. Our world is WAY too loud to not make the time.

While the above sounds cheesy, I’ve truly discovered the need for some critical turning points in my life during moments like this, from deciding to get out of the Marine Corps to applying to get my Masters at UW School of Law. Silence does a body good and a brain even better. We take rest days for our bodies, but not for our brains or souls? That’s crazy! Do yourself a favor and let your brain shuffle and process the MASSIVE amount of information we take in on a daily basis. Enjoy the ride and enjoy the organic thoughts. You’ll be happy you did!

With love and wellness,

Annie <3