Updated: Nov 3
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If you want to add a little calm to your life, try venting… but not in the way you think.
Venting often refers to the act of expressing your frustrations, disappointments, and thoughts about your day. When we say “I need to vent for a minute”, that’s generally what we mean.
And while I believe in the power of assessing, acknowledging, and sharing our feelings and thoughts in mindful ways, venting can often turn into an exercise of focusing on only the negative. In my experience, it has a snowball effect whereby we can feel increasingly worse and like we have even less calm in our lives.
However, the point of this newsletter is not to denounce that type of venting. Sometimes venting feels necessary… So, vent if you’ve got to vent!
Rather, I want to expound on a different definition of “venting” that I have found to be incredibly helpful in creating more peace in my life. This is where the term is used to describe the act of creating space… as in ventilating or aerating.
Let’s face it. Life is BUSY. Our days can become packed so tightly with things like back-to-back meetings, long to do lists, responsibilities, obligations, and requests. When our day is like this, it can start to feel like we’re tightly wound up with it. We may start worrying, doubting ourselves, or just plain stressing out over everything.
I’m not against being busy. In fact, I love to be busy. I often say that I would far rather be too busy than not busy enough.
But there’s a difference between being mindLESSLY busy and mindFULLY busy. When you’re mindful about being busy, you’re aware of the impact being busy has on you and you take steps – even tiny ones – to mitigate the negative side effects of it.
When you’re mindfully busy, you’re busy on the outside but calm on the inside. You may be hurrying, but you’re doing so patiently. You may be feeling the pressure, but you don’t feel like you’re going to crack. You’re still you. You’re not lost in it all.
You can achieve this by creating space in your day… like opening a window to “vent” your day.
I know what some of you may be thinking: “CREATE SPACE!?!?! I don’t have time to do even half of what I already have to do. How the heck can I create space???”
I get it.
But, if you’ve attended one of my sessions, you may know that I like to say that “mindfulness can fit into the nooks and crannies of your life”. It’s not meant to be a big to-do. It doesn’t require an overhaul of how you do your job or live your life.
It’s about inserting a little morsel of mindfulness wherever you can. Those moments become the little windows in your day that you can open to let in more calm.
There are many ways to do this but here are a few examples:
When you sit down at your desk, either before logging in in the morning or when you return from a break or meeting, be still and take three nice, slow, soft breaths, focusing entirely on the experience of breathing.
You could also do this when you get into your vehicle, whether it’s before driving to work, before driving home after work, before getting out of your car to do groceries, as soon as you get into your car after an appointment, etc.
As you have your morning coffee or tea, take a moment to connect with all your senses, noticing what you smell, hear, see, taste, feel.
When you finish a virtual meeting, before jumping onto the next one, get up, stretch your arms overhead, shake out your limbs, and take one nice deep breath in and out.
As you are walk down the hall to an in-person meeting, if you’re alone, instead of letting your thoughts run over what you expect will happen, focus entirely on the experience of walking, noticing the sound and feel of your feet on the floor, the colours on the wall, the sounds around you. (Check out my blog on mindful walking for more advice on this.)
When you sit down to have a meal or snack, take a few moments to breathe and appreciate the food before digging in. (Check out my blog on mindful eating for more advice on THIS.)
As you can see, none of these things are a big deal. We’re talking about a matter of seconds for each of these. You’re welcome to take more time for each – and, as you get used to doing this, you’ll likely WANT to take a little more time – but you don’t have to.
The key is to be fully present with whatever “venting” technique you choose. (For instance, don’t sit at your desk and take three breaths but spend the whole time thinking about your response to an email.)
I am not suggesting that these little moments of mindfulness replace true breaks. I firmly believe in the power of taking breaks, even (especially) when we are at our busiest. However, venting your day in this way is equally important. It’s a way to bring you back to yourself a little more frequently.
If you’re interested in trying this, choose one moment in your day where you can add a little “morsel of mindfulness”. Just one. Select something that is realistic for you. Then commit to that one time every day. It’s okay if you forget. Just take a moment to be mindful whenever you do remember. It’s also okay if you want to do more than one per day… but don’t make the mistake of overpromising to yourself. Just start with one.
Life is busy but it’s also short. Remember to pause to open a window and let in a breeze of calm from time to time.
Thank you for reading!
LORA Concepts Inc.
workplace engagement & well-being
p.s. The information, insight, and advice I share through my work is meant to exist alongside whatever else you may be doing to bolster your mental health, manage stress, or improve your well-being. Nothing I share is meant to replace directives or treatment plans provided by your doctor, therapist, or other healthcare professional.