Photography: Daniel Boud.
Being an athlete in the first ever AFLW season definitely has its perks. Finally, I’m being paid for doing something I would do every day of the week for free. BUT… I now find myself trying to balance full-time study, part-time work, meal prep, training, rehab and recovery. I all of a sudden have a huge appreciation for my mum, who could have easily joined a circus, now that I think back to how much she was able to juggle while I was growing up. The thing is, self-improvement is important to me – I’ve always been passionate about being the best version of myself every day. But since I don’t have spare hours for meditation and mindfulness, I’ve come up with simple ways to weave self-improvement into my day.
These are the three steps I take every day to balance self-improvement and my busy lifestyle…
Step 1: Make use of your shower time
I mentioned that the idea of mindfulness is great, but it can be hard to find the time. Getting in a 15-minute meditation in isn’t always practical (especially if you’re a juggler like my mum). So for me, I’m mindful in the shower. Hear me out…
Sometimes it’s the one time in the day I’m actually by myself. I take the time to stand there and leave my current state of mind – using some music helps with this. I use Buddify, a mindfulness app that pretty much allows for meditation any time, anywhere.
I feel like this is the most important part of my day. It symbolises the end of a day, the turning of a page, and from there I feel refreshed and ready to tackle anything that’s thrown at me tomorrow. (It’s also been fantastic for my sleep!)
Step 2: Flick your thankful switch in the AM
Don’t underestimate the power of just being grateful. It makes you feel better, it makes you a better person and it rubs off on those around you.
For me I try to be consciously grateful three times a day. I always do this when I’m either riding my bike to uni first thing in the morning or driving my car to training at the crack of dawn. I use the time to look around me and just be grateful for something. This morning I was grateful for the sunrise. It was so beautiful and although my bed was warm and it was hard to get up, I’m so glad I did.
Step 3: Pick up a piece of rubbish
I spoke about trying to be a better version of myself every day. Well, here’s the simplest way to make it happen. Doing something for someone else is great, highly recommended. But take your self-improvement one step further… do something for the environment. This is the easiest step of the three because, I promise you, you will walk past some rubbish on the ground today. Pick it up and box ticked.
I like to make little goals for myself when it comes to this step. For example, today I stopped on my ride home and picked up 10 pieces of rubbish in the park. On the other hand, yesterday I was flat out – didn’t even take a sec to think about what I was walking past. So instead I took an enviro bag into Woolworths, and walked out of there plastic bag-free and feeling like Captain Planet!
My three steps are simple, but I’ve really found that doing these little things every day has made me a happier, better, more balanced person. Try them!
Emma Swanson plays AFL for the GWS Giants and is the creator of lifestyle apparel brand Barefoot Runner (barefootrunnerclothing.com). Read more about her here.
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