Tuesday, May 05, 2020

One's ability to look ahead and plan for the future is something highly sought after. This goes for the workplace and in our home lives too. People are often looking for the security that things and feelings will remain the same in two years' time, job interview questions ask where we see ourselves in five and our fitness goals have us wishing away another year of our lives with our bodies. It seems as though we've forgotten the importance of remaining present. I'm certainly not immune to this either but recently it's hit me just how much I've moved away from this order of thinking.

I've just come back from a short break, which I announced on Twitter, taken with the idea in mind that I had to quit smoking. For a little background, cigarettes have been my Achilles heel for a long time, and as a smoker for 10 years, the idea of leaving them behind for good has been one of the most difficult things I've done. It's Tue 5th May now though and I'm now able to say that I have been smoke-free for one week and for that I am so proud of myself. Among the standard realisations that many people make after quitting the sticks (everything has a scent- who knew? my lungs have never really been operating at full capacity and coughing as much as I was is in fact, not normal) I also made the realisation that as a smoker I was never really living in the present. I was always, in some way, yearning for my next fix. If we were heading out, even just for a short time, I'd make sure I had a pack with me 'just in case'. If I'd just finished my food at a family dinner I'd be waiting around for the most polite time to stand and head outside for one. It feels like my entire existence but certainly, my days were dictated by these things jittering away in my pockets. Holding a conversation with someone during a craving is like those old drug warning adverts we'd have on TV. Remember big eyes? Or where they'd completely zone out? No matter how deep down in my pocket they were I could still feel them burning away at my skin until I took them out and finally gave in.

This realisation is something that's not only pushed me to stop but also been the cure of any cravings that I've had and have beaten. If you asked my partner to sum up what recovery has looked like for me this past week, the words 'cleaning', 'talkative', and unfortunately 'irritable' would probably make the cut. I may have thrown a little tantrum this week but at least the draining board and kitchen work surfaces have been consistently clean, eh?

Anyone with any sort of mental health issues will have been given a leaflet all about it mindfulness, along with claims that meditation may also help. As we often receive this advice when we're in crisis or at our lowest it can feel as though they are suggesting placing a band-aid over a bullet wound at times. Practicing mindfulness doesn't have to be a process set out by someone else, though, I realise it can be your own way of remaining present in your current task. As I say, washing up has become a chore that I now thoroughly enjoy again- yay (!) and I'm not cleaning the dishes pondering on how hot the water is or feeling the bubbles against my skin. I'm simply remaining with the task at hand. Not rushing through it or thinking about the next thing on my mental checklist has done wonders for me and reminded me of the importance of remaining present.

Setting time aside to do certain self-care activities like cleaning, taking a shower, or reading a book becomes meaningless if whilst you're trying to enjoy them you're too busy worrying about getting back to work or moving onto the next thing. Enjoying where you are right at this moment and appreciating where God has you placed at that time is going to set you free in ways that nothing else will.

Although I've come a long way in this short amount of time, I hope I can continue to practice slowing down, taking a breath, and staying present a little more.

Have you tried mindfulness? Are there any other ways that you try to remain present?

Share your opinion:

  1. Well done for quitting smoking. I'm not a smoker but many of my friends are and so is my partner. I've been by his side when he quit the first time, and will always support his choice.

    I've never taken up mindfulness, but after going through counselling my mum found new hope through this approach. She's a changed women now and it's a beautiful thing to see, although I can appreciate it's not for everyone - it's certainly not my thing.

    I can't say washing up is my favourite chore, hoovering is more my thing. I'm glad you've been able to establish some self care activities that truly work for you though.

    Thanks for sharing x

    Kate |

  2. This is amazing News!! Congratulations on a week smoke free. reading this post reminded me of the Alan Carr stop smoking book, he basically said life revolves around the cigarette and you don't quite get the full enjoyment out of things that you should be.

    Great post, take care and enjoy your new lease of life.

    Claire x

  3. Well done for quitting smoking! I don’t smoke but that must be so hard and you should be proud! 😊
    I actually meditate everyday and it has helped me in so many ways xx

  4. Great post. I made the decision that I was going to slow everything right down last year. My mental health was a mess, and something had to change. I had been given those mindfulness leaflets a few times, it wasn’t until last year I was ready to really take it on board. It was the best thing I ever did, I’m in such a better place now.

  5. Congratulations for quitting smoking - that's quite the feat!!! Great article!

  6. Congrats on quitting smoking - as an ex-smoker myself I know how hard it is! And I love this post, I think far too often far too many of us fail to give whatever we're doing our full attention and we're missing out. Multi-tasking is all very well but it's not fulfilling, and we need to slow down. Great tips, Piper, thank you :) Lisa

  7. Well done to you on quitting smoking Piper! x

    Lucy |

  8. Well done for quitting smoking, I don't smoke but I know people who have quit and have found it hard, so keep going! Sometimes you really do just need to take in the moments don't you? Its great to be thinking of your to do list, but actually being present in the moment is so important too. I have done some mindfulness, but have never really gotten into it. The FitBit app has some really good audio 'workouts' for meditation and mindfulness which are great!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

  9. Well done on quitting smoking! It is very hard, I've seen my boyfriend go through it multiple times. I hope May treats you well! ��

    �� Marissa Belle | x ��

  10. Mindfulness Moments have become a big trend in our local schools. Usually a prompt is given then 30-60 seconds of quiet for that. I’m terrible about mindfulness on demand. I’m more likely to take a moment (or several) while outside, or in the shower, or while crocheting.

  11. Well done for quitting smoking! I haven't ever smoked myself so I can't relate to how hard that must have been but my mum has been trying hard for a while to stop. When recovering from my eating disorder, I was told to practise meditation and self-care. I have a lovely app to help me! Thank you for sharing and keep up the amazing work!

    Em x

  12. Well done for quitting!! Definitely a massive achievement you should be proud of xxx

  13. Well done!! Loved this post and how you write. Also your pictures are lovely you look amazing x

  14. Amazing, keep going girl!!! Living in the city it seems like there’s always a buzz you can’t ignore, for the past two years I try my absolute best to be mindful of my surroundings and not ignore the little things that are happening. The sunshine, individual people etc. Being in such a busy hub it truly is easy to completely block out what is going on around you. This has brought a lot of peace to my life. 😊

  15. This is such a great post! I totally agree with you, being present is definitely a lost form. Especially in today's world of technology and social media. This lockdown has definitely forced me to be a little more present, which is a good thing from all this craziness!

  16. Congrats on quitting smoking! Mindfulness and being present is so important

  17. First, congratulations on quitting smoking! I smoked years ago and quit cold turkey. Then I smoked socially for years and eventually quit that too. That was harder to quit because drinking and smoking were inseparable in my world. One day you will definitely not want anything to do with it under no circumstances. It will just gross you out completely. Being present and mindful is tough no matter what but when you are consumed with distraction, look out. You will overcome this. We are all proud of you!

  18. It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.


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