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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Palmer


Uninspired. Like you, my world has gotten very small. I’m a hugger with few I am allowed to hug. A traveler not allowed to venture. While my days are busy and full, the routine is work (a lot), walk the dog (never enough), eat (a lot), watch TV (too much). Repeat. There are limited options, few live social connections, a lot of monotony. Overall, I’m bored. Can you relate?

On Thursday, I had the honor to attend TEDWomen 2020: a conference typically held in person that had pivoted to online this year. A day filled with TED Speakers, music and poetry, networking, and breakout sessions. I had my doubts on how engaged I could be at a virtual conference scheduled to run for 8 hours, but on the morning of, I jumped out of bed to get ready, with a little more enthusiasm for my day. By 7 am, I was at my desk with breakfast, snacks and water at hand, camera ready. And there I sat, fully immersed, until 3 pm.

The theme was Fearless and the content delivered. I found myself captivated by the storytelling, learning about areas I never would have explored on my own, stepping out of my comfort zone to connect with other participants, networking and expanding my perspective.* By the end of the day, I felt inspired for the first time in months.

Gloria Steinem, TED2020, Speaker Meet-Up

Since March, I have heard from friends and clients that the idea of time off or self-care (the typical anecdotes for burnout and lack of engagement) weren’t working. Where were you supposed to go? What were you allowed to do? It didn’t feel as if time off would actually help you rejuvenate. So why did my day with TED break me out of my rut? I believe it is because I practiced mindFULLness – a chance to fill my mind with new and different thoughts, make new connections, improve myself through learning. Rather than feeling loss for the day, I gained so much.

Take a day off of your current routine to immerse yourself in something different; change things up, explore, learn, and grow, in order to fill you mind. Here are a few ideas that might help you disconnect to re-engage.

  • Learn something new – an online conference, webinars, a day of TED talks (search by keywords or just meander and watch one after another and see where you go), Master Classes or other new experience. Choose topics or areas that you don’t typically engage with to fill your mind with new and different ideas. There are many free and easily accessible options.

  • A Day in Nature – study up, learn about the land and location you are going to explore, seek out a National Park or a local area. Hike, breathe in your surroundings, fully disconnect to reconnect with yourself and nature.

  • Hackathon – invite your team, co-workers / former co-workers, or a diverse group of inspiring people to join you (virtually) to dissect a new idea. Make it aspirational, not tied to your daily work; maybe a pro bono concept to help solve a larger community or global issue. The goal is to think differently and on something completely new. Break through the drudgery.

  • Be of Service – there is no better way to get out of your own way than to help someone else. A day of service can offer perspective and fill your soul like nothing else. What can you do to help others that will rejuvenate you? The holidays are around the corner, service is the gift you can give yourself.

At the end of the day (literally) the goal is to insert some change, excitement, passion and energy back into a routine that may have become stale. How can you be mindFULL in the coming weeks, as an investment in your well-being?

* You may be surprised to know that I hate networking events. They tap every insecurity I possess. Walking into a room of strangers and striking up a conversation is my least happy place on earth.

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