Can you turn your mundane into magic?
You lead a busy and full life. Job, family, friends, hobbies and all that other stuff in between. Sometimes it can feel like you are operating on autopilot and that every day is some version of the day before that.
Hopefully your life is one that you have created intentionally, one where you feel in alignment with your purpose or at least one where you feel as though some aspects are working in the way you want them to. If not, download my action plan here to get on track.
That word ‘mundane’ used to trigger me. My internal narrative is that my life is special, unique, and different from those around me. While I believe some aspects of that to be true, I am also a regular human being just like everybody else. What I have learned to realize is that there is something beautiful about the mundane. We have routines so that we can know what to expect, can reserve our brain power and can seek comfort in the things that regularly occur in our lives.
So instead of thinking that you need to give your whole life an overhaul in order to switch things up, can you find the magic in the things that you are already doing?
Magic > Mundane
Pay someone who you are regularly in contact with a compliment. This could be to a coworker, a spouse, or a stranger you pass everyday.
Notice the changes in nature on your commute to work. Maybe the snow has melted a little bit (or accumulated), maybe the tree is a little greener or the flowers a little bit more vibrant. This is a reminder that everything around you is constantly changing and so are you.
Take a different seat at the table.
Ever notice how every time you go to the boardroom for a meeting you sit in the same chair? Or every time you set up your mat for yoga class, you set it up in the same spot? Try a different seat, you may notice something that you have never seen before.
Drop the absolutes.
Notice where in your life you say ‘never’ or ‘always’.
‘I never put my name in the ring for a promotion’.
‘I always sit in the back row for the presentations.’
See if you can detach yourself from being on either end of the spectrum and find balance somewhere in the middle. Experiment with it and see how it feels.
By making subtle shifts in your daily routine you are creating new neural pathways in your brain. With new neural pathways comes a new level of awareness and growth that will allow you to think more creatively, improve your problem solving abilities and lead more compassionately.
Why we need to reset and its important on our wellbeing
What does it mean to reset?
As I sit here writing this to you from my room in Costa Rica, I am reflective. This is my third year hosting a retreat in Costa Rica - a week me and my partner Catie Fenn coined Reset Week. We were very intentional about the name because we are so clear on the fact that EVERYONE needs a reset.
I take reseting really seriously. That’s why I took 3 flights and a long bumpy car ride on unpaved roads to make it here. The feeling I get upon arriving is unparalleled to anything else and that is why I keep coming back. This place is sacred and hasn’t changed much in the 3 years I have been hosting retreats here. The expats that reside here do so out of a true love for nature and the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle - a endearing term used by Costa Rican cultures meaning ‘the good life’. The thing that stays constant year to year are the majestic sunsets, the vibrant trees, the untouched wildlife and that left breaking wave that makes this town well known in the surfing community. It really and truly is a little slice of heaven.
So what happens if you don’t have the chance to get away for the week and everything I am speaking about seems like a far off dream? Read below for some accessible tips and tools that you can practice in your everyday life. Although, when you understand the importance behind reseting you may just jump on a plane to come and meet us ;)
How to Reset and Why
Go outside in Nature
You know that time of the day when your brain starts to shut down because it feels like you haven’t taken a break? It’s likely because you haven’t and our brains are similar to computers; the more tabs we have open the slower we tend to operate.
Several studies have shown that a walk in nature can trigger the mind-wandering mode which leads to creativity. This acts as a neural reset button, and provides much needed perspective on what you’re doing.
Listen to music
You know how it feels when you are listening to your favorite song and you feel super revved up, like you can conquer the world? (Hmm, just me?) That increase in oxytocin supports the belief that you can mold the world to your liking and when you act as if this is true, it becomes your reality. Check out my latest playlist here.
Music is an effective method for improving attention, building up self-confidence, social skills and a sense of engagement.
Take a nap
When you are nodding off in front of your computer, this is your bodies way of telling you something. You need more sleep, dude! Instead of ‘powering through’ be compassionate with yourself and take a break.
Taking breaks is biologically restorative. In several studies, a nap of even 10 minutes improved cognitive function and vigor. If you can train yourselves to take time for naps and contemplation, you will be in a more powerful position to start solving some of the world’s big problems. And you will be happier and well rested while we’re doing it!
Positive and social psychology studies have shown that you frequently begin to embody the characteristics of those with whom you spend the most time. This may be through peer pressure or a desire to fit in, or because your mirror neurons are driving you to be alike. So when planning that next vacation or down time, choose who you spend your time with wisely.
If you are looking to put some of these tools in practice with a like-minded community, join my next one day urban retreat, Space happening in LA on March 24th.
If you are like me and like to geek out even more on this stuff check out this New York Times article on the importance of resetting.
Learn how to say what you mean and mean what say
Last week I hosted a workshop at the coworker space The Riveter talking all about Conscious Communication and what that really means.
We talked about what the best way is to connect with others, get your point across and really feel seen and heard in both personal and professional settings. I know I have fallen victim to misinterpretation…
Communication is not a one size fits all approach because people listen and receive information in different ways.
Conscious communication starts with the assumption that everyone deserves to be treated respectfully. This doesn’t mean that everything has to be agreed upon but recognizes that everyone has a certain set of experiences that influence how they see the world.
Instead of pitting ourselves against one another, we approach conversations with a sincere desire to understand.
When we set aside our agenda of trying to change everyone and approach communication with a curious mind and open heart, the world opens up for us.
How to embody Conscious Communication
Step 1: Find Common Ground
Focus on the things that you have in common. When you notice these things, your attention is on what you share, rather than what divides you. From this place you have a better chance of understanding their perspective on issues where you disagree.
Step 2: Manage your Emotions
Learn to manage your emotional reactivity by:
Taking 3 deep breaths
Going outside for a walk
Scheduling a meeting for a later date so that you have time to process the situation and come back to a level head in lieu of reactivity
Step 3: Accept what is
Things are not always going to go exactly how you want them to. Once we accept things as they are, we become more effective in responding to a person or situation because we are no longer feeling captive to our emotions.
Step 4: Stick with it
Relationships happen when you show up, sincerely, time and time again. Give yourself whatever time you need between conversations, and look for other ways to maintain a connection. In this way you build mutual respect that can be the foundation for a genuine and productive conversation about a shared future.
Work Smarter NOT Harder
More isn't always better. Learn how to prioritize the right tasks in order to do less but achieve more.
How do you anything is how you do everything.
As a human being, you are a creature of habit and so is your brain. Your brain naturally wants to work efficiently, meaning it wants to execute a task with the least amount of effort. By establishing a routine, you can carry out a task faster since you don’t have to think about it, it will be on autopilot. By doing this, you are neurologically setting the foundation to be as productive as possible.
Each of us also has a peak potential zone. This is when you are working according to your strengths and your tasks feel effortless. You want to maximize staying in this zone as much as possible and do the things you love in order to get the most amount of work done.
Are you ready to work smarter not harder?
Here are my top 4 Healthy Habits you can implement to be more efficient.
Samara Zelniker is a yogi, wine drinker, pet lover and travel junkie.