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Self-Care Strategy 5: The Noticing Game

As a child, I often had my “head in the clouds” and spent a lot of time daydreaming. This made it difficult for me to focus on and complete the practical tasks of everyday life. It often took me a long time to get things done because I would get easily distracted which drove my parents crazy, lol. Eventually, I grew out of most of it and became better able to focus and get things done.

What remains is my need for deep introspection, insatiable curiosity, love of learning and exploring new ideas. I also still like to spend time with my “head in the clouds” when I can! This is just a part of my wiring as a soulful introvert. Exploring ways to work with instead of against my personality continues to be an active part of my personal self-care journey.

Despite the gifts that are a part of my wiring, I have also learned the importance of being able to focus on the here-and-now. To take a step back from overanalyzing and overthinking and just be present. The ability to practice being present helps me to stay grounded and not miss out on precious moments.

Practices such as mindfulness meditation and yoga have become more mainstream and accessible. You can find videos on YouTube, podcasts, and phone apps that are all designed to help us focus on the here-and-now.

One of my favorite strategies is a mindfulness practice I like to call “The Noticing Game.” It’s one I first explored with clients in my former counseling practice. As with all of the strategies I’ve shared in this series, it’s easy to try and just takes 3 simple steps.

The Noticing Game is great to use if you struggle with staying in the here-and-now due to overthinking, overanalyzing, or just plain worrying.

To get started with The Noticing Game, please follow the steps below:

  1. Stop— We want to shift from a space of “doing” into one of “observing/listening”. 
  2. Activate Your 5 Senses— What can you touch, taste, hear, feel, and smell? 
  3. Notice & Describe— Begin to observe your surroundings and describe (in your head or out loud) what you are noticing. Example—You might to say something like, “I’m noticing the feel of my feet on the floor. I’m noticing my breath filling my lungs and my stomach going in and out. I’m noticing the red coffee mug on my desk. I’m noticing…” Simply describe what you are noticing in the here-and-now without judgement! 

That’s it! Allow yourself to spend time “noticing” for 1-3 minutes and then return to your previous activity. If you find yourself getting stuck in overthinking or overanalyzing, simply repeat the process.

Don’t worry if you feel a little silly doing this at first. When you’ve been in the habit of focusing on the past or future, it takes time and practice to be present in the here-and-now.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my 5 favorite simple self-care strategies the past several weeks. If you missed the previous strategies you can find them all here.

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite simple self-care strategies? If you have some, or if one of the strategies I shared resonated with you more than the others, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Wishing you more peace than your heart can hold.


P.S. Did you find this strategy helpful? If so, you can find all of the previous strategies here.

Self-Care Strategy 4: Write or Talk it Out

I started keeping a diary when I was a kid and never grew out of the habit. My writing moved from a diary, to notebooks, to journals. To single sheets of paper, to word documents, to Pages (for my Mac users). These days I go back and forth between analog and digital journal keeping.

I use my journal to reflect on the day, write down my thoughts, explore ideas, vent or express emotions. I use it to draft blog posts and newsletters, & explore book ideas. Words are one of my favorite forms of expression and the main tool I use to make sense of my world.

Writing or talking it out is probably my favorite self-care strategy because it speaks to my introvert heart.

We all have moments when we experience a build-up of too much “stuff” or all the things” as I like to call it. That time when everything needs your attention at once. When you have the external pressures of other’s expectations fighting with internal pressures of the expectations you’ve placed on yourself. When these things collide it can create a build-up that becomes overwhelming and can lead to shutting-down and tuning-out.

In order to help us combat this, writing or talking it out is a wonderful strategy to use. This is a way for us to get “all the things” out of our heads and onto the page (or digital recorder). Once everything is out, it’s often much easier for us to return to a state a calm where we can move forward in clutter-free way again.

This strategy is particularly helpful for my soulful introverts who struggle with mental clutter or overthinking.

To get started we are actually going to borrow some steps from our 3rd strategy.

  1. Stop— Whenever you find your mind becoming cluttered and shutting-down, stop! 
  2. Breathe— Remember our first strategy? Now is the perfect time to take 3-5 slow deep belly breaths. 
  3. Set a Timer for 3-5 minutes— By setting a timer, you create a container for your break. This provides a sense of security, making it easier to take your “self-care” break, without feeling guilty. 
  4. Write or Talk it Out— Use paper and pen, your computer, iPad, or phone to do a little stream-of-consciousness journal writing. This is simply writing whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling, just write until the timer stops. If you’re not a writer, turn on the recorder in your phone and talk it out! 
  5. Get Back on Task— Now that your mind is clear from mental clutter, you can return to your previous task. 

If mental clutter & overthinking is an ongoing challenge for you, I encourage you to practice this strategy a few times a week and see what you notice.

Did you find this strategy helpful? If so I would love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Wishing you more peace than your heart can hold.


P.S. Did you find this strategy helpful? If so, I invite you back to the blog, as I’ll be sharing the my final favorite simple self-care strategies next week. If you missed the previous ones, you can find them all here.