While I’d love to believe that I’m a "stop and smell the roses" kind of person, I’m more the type who will always try to catch a whiff as I speed walk by. The intent is there, but it’s always a struggle to slow myself down.

But in the face of this pandemic, I’ve had no choice but to pause.

It didn’t take me long to realize that learning to savor the present moment, tap into my emotions, and connect with myself more deeply is easier said than done.

So I turned to self-reflection.

Life coach and motivational speaker Iyanla Vanzant put it best when she said, “the journey into self-love and self-acceptance must begin with self-examination. Until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life.”

Essentially, self-reflection is the key to self-acceptance. How are we supposed to love ourselves if we don't take the time to understand how we really feel and what’s really important to us, especially in the face of uncertainty?

How are we supposed to love ourselves if we don't take the time to understand how we really feel and what’s really important to us, especially in the face of uncertainty?
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That rhetorical question was a big wakeup call for me for two reasons: I’m spending more time alone with myself than ever before (hi, social distancing), and I’m often feeling overcome with worry about all the what-ifs our current climate brings to the surface.

So I thought to myself: Why don’t I focus more on what is than what if?

That’s what led me to start a new journey of self-exploration with reflection at its core. It's a way for me to center my mental energy around what’s really happening in my day-to-day rather than deplete it by stressing over all that could be.

Over the last week, I’ve started each day by going through the same five self-reflection prompts to get a more holistic picture of what’s on my mind:

1. Today I'm thankful I have…

2. Today a small joy I can savor is….

3. Today I will release anxiety about…

4. Today I will connect with myself by…

5. Today I will feel connected with others by…

These five prompts encourage me to pause, identify, and react to my thoughts. They help me to savor the good, evaluate the OK, and release the bad. They give me a fresh perspective daily and lead me to steer with my values.

This new daily practice has taught me that I need to listen to myself—like, really listen—in order to know how to best take care of myself.

I’ve learned that self-reflection can unlock my power to cope with my stress, acknowledge my needs, and move forward with a renewed sense of calm.

This new daily practice has taught me that I need to listen to myself—like, really listen— in order to know how to best take care of myself.
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I’ve finally struck a balance between living in the moment and savoring it, and that alone has been a grounding force in this fast-paced, uncertain, beautiful world.


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