It’s true. I definitely categorize myself as a planner. I’m one of those crazy, “Type A” people who loves to buy calendars and office supplies. You’ve probably figured out that being a planner can be a curse and a blessing. We’re always prepared, but sometimes it’s hard to let our hair down and just have fun.
Here are a few tips to help you embrace who you are, while also teaching yourself to let go and relax:
Tip #1: Start Meditating
I know meditation sounds like a weird hippy activity, but it’s actually quite useful for teaching you how to live in the moment. There’s a misconception that you’re either “good” or “bad” at meditation, but that’s not the case.
Meditation is a process of letting your thoughts pass and then bringing yourself back to the present. Some days your thoughts will be overwhelming and it will be hard to concentrate. Other days your mind will be quieter. Regardless, the point of meditation is not to get yourself to stop thinking. The purpose is to bring awareness to your thoughts and how you interact with them. This is important because, as control freaks, we have an especially hard time getting out of our heads. We obsess, stress, and worry because we believe that doing so will somehow protect us from the unknown. But, in reality, it’s ineffective and causes us to be more tense and anxious.
I encourage you to try meditating for just five minutes per day for one week. See if this helps you learn how to live in the moment. If you like it, you can keep it up and do it a few times a week or every day.
Bonus tip: I use this app for my morning meditation!
Tip #2: Strive for Presence Over Perfection
I admit that I stole this phrase from my favorite book, Present Over Perfect by Shauna Neiquist. I read it last year and it transformed the way I live my life, so I just have to share it with you.
Many of us who struggle to live in the moment also battle with an obsession for perfection.The problem is that perfection doesn’t exist. We can plan and organize all we want, but there will always be bad weather, late people, traffic, or other inconveniences that are out of our control. I’ve learned that rather than trying to stop these things from ruining my plans, it’s better to work with whatever comes my way.
The idea of presence over perfection means letting go of how you think things ought to be and embracing the way things are. (Meditation helps you adopt this mindset!)
So, the next time things don’t go as you expect them to, try to accept your new circumstances and move forward anyway. More importantly, rather than spending time worrying that things won’t go as you expect them to, trust that you are equipped with everything you need to handle whatever is thrown at you.
Tip #3: Journal Before Bed
I find that I do my best worrying right before bed. I obsess over something someone said to me at work. My mind runs through everything I need to get done tomorrow. I also become highly sensitive to the fact that there might be someone trying to break into my apartment. I’m tired all stinkin’ day, then when it’s actually time to fall asleep I can’t turn my mind off.
The other night, I was laying in bed feeling stressed because I had spent the past hour obsessing over what I needed to do the next day. Suddenly, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was sick of worrying about things that I had no control over, so I decided to grab my journal and make a list of everything that was giving me anxiety. Five minutes later, I was asleep.
Journaling is massively effective for emptying out your brain. It’s as if you free your mind from having to hold on to all of your worries and anxieties. I encourage you to journal whenever you feel yourself obsessing. Whether it’s before bed or in the middle of the day, writing down your feelings will prevent your thoughts from consuming you.
From one control freak to another, it’s so imperative that you learn to be present and enjoy your life for what it is right now. Remember that perfection is a myth. Planning and organizing are okay, but sometimes life can’t be perfectly calculated and things will happen that are out of your control.
Learn how to roll with the punches. You’re not going to change overnight, and you will never rid yourself of all of your planner tendencies (nor should you!). But, it is possible for you to learn to let go and relax when necessary.
Be patient with yourself, and understand that life is a process. But, it’s well worth it.
What are your tips for letting go and relaxing into life? Leave a comment below!
Written by Alana Chibas. This post was previously featured on Alana’s blog heyalana.com – check it out!