Today’s solocast topic is: Top Tips for Focus
From a Four Cornerstone perspective, I’ll be sharing with you the most powerful approach for focus. When we take this holistic approach, we are able to really embody the benefits of whatever that topic is. Think about a baby. If we just give the baby healthy food, healthy breast milk, the baby will do well to an extent, but the baby also needs healthy, loving touch. The baby needs to be held, bathed, and has other needs besides just food.
When we give the baby all of those holistic benefits, then the baby starts to grow and thrive and really giggle and be happy. And so it is with us. We want to really honor our wholeness. When we do that, we get the best results, period. Very simple. Our cornerstones are our food, body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth. I’m going to go through them now in that order so you can start using my top tips for focus in your life.
Topics Covered In Top Tips for Focus
#1. How to eat to support your focus with daily activities using the first cornerstone of food
#2. The importance of connecting to ourselves and determining our bodies needs using our second cornerstone of body
#3. Making contact with our intuition and deeper wisdom using our third cornerstone of emotional wellbeing and mental health
#4. Tuning in with our fourth cornerstone of spiritual growth through our breath and meditation
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Hi Beauties. Welcome back to our Monday solocast episode today, we’re going to be talking about top tips for focus. I want to take this approach from a personal standpoint. I really want to share with you what has really, really helped me. We’ve covered this topic before in a different way, we’ve brought in a lot of research and a lot of studies, but today I really want to share with you from my personal experience and from my heart because over the last few weeks, I’ve been deep in the final book edits. I got to share with you guys, it has been a lot. There’s just been so much going on with the kids. Moses is so active now, he just turned one, and we’re trying to finish this pregnancy course, and been redoing all the tech in the pod room.
I just feel like I’ve had a million calls. Bubby had a break from his outdoor nature class program that he’s in a couple of times a week. So there’s just been a lot, a lot, a lot. And on top of that, I’m editing this whole entire book and this manuscript. So focus has been a very, very, very big topic for me and I think that I found some really great ways that I want to share with you. I really believe that these have helped me and I can’t wait to share them with you today. I’m sure from your standpoint, the last year has been a lot of transition and maybe you’ve had to work at home for the first time and it’s hard to focus when you have kids or you have that fridge sitting there, so it’s easy to just take multiple breaks and get up and get snacks all the time, or just check your phone or get on techs or whatever it is.
So in many different ways, focus is such a big, big part of our day and our experience and we all know that when we are focused, we feel good. Life feels like it’s flowing. It’s not necessarily about packing more in to the point of exhaustion, but it’s about feeling that synergy and harmony in the day and again, this flow where things are happening. It doesn’t have to feel linear, doesn’t have to feel rigid, it just feels really good when we’re in flow. In contrast, when we are unfocused, things feel jagged, they feel harder, they feel like sometimes we’re going in circles or we’re going up and down or we’re backtracking. We’re making more mistakes, we’re frustrated. Our energy starts to feel constricted, it starts to feel stagnant. None of that benefits our health and our wellbeing in any way. We want to feel that expansive quality of openness and, again, just flow.
I keep going back to this word because I personally prefer the word flow over balance. Balance, to me, feels like a tight rope and we’re either on or we’re off, we’re going to fall, but flow just feels like … The state of flow that researchers talk about is when we have more alpha brainwaves, our brains literally go into a different mode. Alpha is a different brainwave. It’s a slower brainwave than beta brainwaves, which is that task oriented doing, doing, doing, which over time can feel like it’s wearing us down. So when we’re in this state of flow, we literally are in a different state in our brain, which of course is part of our nervous system, it affects our nervous system, it affects our every day experience. So we want to feel focused, but we don’t want to feel rigid.
Fan of the Week
So I’m really excited to get into this topic today, if you can’t tell. But before I do, I want to give a quick shout out to our fan of the week and his or her name is FutagoPooh, and he or she writes, “I have been a Kimberly Snyder disciple since her first book. I love that her approach always leaves room for individual lifestyles and preferences. She is a compassionate and understanding teacher, and I always feel inspired after listening to her podcast. Love you Kimberly. Thank you so much for doing what you do.”
Oh, FutagoPooh, thank you so much from my heart. You can’t see me right now, but I have both of my hands on my heart. I really took that in, I appreciate you so much. I am so grateful for our connection. I’m so honored for being part of your wellness journey back to your true self, back to true joy, and I send you so much love.
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Solocast: Top Tips for Focus
All right, let’s get into this focus topic. Top Tips for Focus. And again, I want to share it with you from a Four Cornerstone perspective, which to me, is always the most powerful approach for any of these topics. Because when we take this holistic approach, we are able to really, really embody the benefits of whatever that topic is. Think about it, I think I talked about this last week, but think about a child, think about a baby. If we just give the baby healthy food, healthy breast milk, the baby will do well to an extent, but the baby also needs healthy, loving touch. The baby needs to be held, the baby needs to be bathed, the baby has other needs besides just food. When we give the baby all of those holistic benefits, then the baby starts to grow and thrive and really giggle and be happy. And so it is with us. We want to really honor our wholeness. When we do that, we get the best results, period. Very simple. So our cornerstones, as always, our food, body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth. I’m going to go through them now in that order.
Tip #1: How to eat to support your focus with daily activities using the first cornerstone of food
So the first one is food. From a food perspective, what helps with focus is, number one, fiber and number two, healthy fat. I’m going to go into that. I want to say, there’s a lot of supplements out there that are being pushed for brain focus. They may or may not work for you, all these different nootropics and all the different brain fuels out there. Some of them may be great, but I want to talk to you from like a real practical perspective, because we do need to eat every day, except if you’re doing a fast.
So how can you really eat to support focus? Let’s say you really are going to tackle a project, or you need to focus on your children, or you need to focus on whatever it is at hand, cleaning out your closet. I say healthy fat and fiber because we want to feel stabilized in our system, but we don’t want to feel weighed down. So fiber comes, let’s say in the morning, right away, your Glowing Green Smoothie®, eating your greens, having all those beautiful vegetables, plant foods, fruit, all of that has fiber to keep your body in a mode of sustained energy. When we’re just having, let’s say, even green juice or fruit juice or something that just goes in and out of you without the fiber, you may get a quick hit, but then you get the drop. We all know that from sugar highs and sugar lows, so that fiber is important. Smoothies or whole fruit, all of that is fantastic. Remember that only fiber comes in plant foods.
Now I add in healthy fat because fat is a long burning energy. When we add some healthy fat to our diet, and fat is a fairly bigger component of my lunch, for instance, where I’m often having the Dharma’s kale salad with avocado and some olive oil, or cooking vegetables now in coconut oil. I need that fat because I need that oomph to take me through for the next few hours.
Now I mentioned coconut oil, which also has MCT oil, which is really great for your brain. That’s how I consume … I love all things coconut. I love coconut yogurt, by the way, that has MCT in it because it has that fatty component. My favorite brand is definitely Harmless Harvest. I’ve tried all the coconut brands out there and it’s just a nice consistency. But I also love coconut oil, and that is a wonderful thing to put into your body for focus as well.
So we’ve got the healthy fat, we’ve got the fiber, and also, I want to say hydration because we’re coming into summer, especially, and because it’s very hard to focus if we haven’t fully hydrated our bodies and we haven’t fully hydrated our systems. So have water on your desk, start the day with not just your hot water with lemon, but also your room temperature water, and really sip on that water all day long. Sometimes if you need a visual to really track how much water you’re having, it’s nice to start with a certain amount on your desk, let’s say in a container, and then to keep pouring it out, to make sure that you’re having enough water through the day.
I say this to my husband, because he really doesn’t drink enough water. He doesn’t think of it. He’s he goes from call to call to call in what he does. So it’s nice, and I told him to start putting those containers of water on his desk, and he’s just more hydrated now. It’s better for him, he has more energy, and it’s probably easier for him to focus. Although, I haven’t asked him about that specifically, but we know that our bodies break down, our organs don’t function as well, when we’re dehydrated. So always hydration is key.
Tip #2: The importance of connecting to ourselves and determining our bodies needs using our second cornerstone of body
So our next cornerstone is body. Our bodies are so important in our experience of feeling connected to ourselves. So that means checking in with your body to determine if you’re hungry, determine what your body really needs. Your body will give you clues about … Your heart is racing or you’re feeling that flutter in your stomach. If something’s a trigger, something’s an unprocessed emotional wound, for instance. Your body is so wise and so powerful. So we want our bodies to be our ally when it comes to focus, and one of the important ways that we do that is we get up and we move every 20 minutes or so.
So for someone like me, that sits at a desk a lot of the time, especially when I’m in the middle of a big project, like writing a book, I can get swept away, but I start to notice little aches, something’s going on in my back. The body will start to tell you, “Hey, I need to be part of this dynamic flow too.” So I get up and I stretch and I have … I’m in my space right now. Most rooms in our house, you’ll find open room, open space, and I love that because I like to get on the floor, just do a little stretch or walk around. I have this door to the outside part of our yard, and so I just get outside a little bit. I move my neck, I look up at the sky.
Sometimes we get into this mindset like, “Oh, I’m just wasting time flittering about. I can’t just move, I got to get this done.” But sometimes it’s that slowing down just a little bit and getting that pause that recharges you. So when you come back to your work, when you come back to your computer, when you come back to your kids, or whatever it is, you have an extra surge of energy and it’s focused, and so the quality goes up. So it feels really, really great to you and it will feel good in your body and it will support your mental energy and the capacity for you to really concentrate.
So body-wise, besides moving around in the middle of your project, we all know that sleep is very important and it’s impossible to really focus well when we don’t sleep good. So we’ve talked about this before, we had other podcasts that we’ll link to in the show notes that really focus specifically on sleep, and have tremendous amounts of sleep research in them. But I will just say here for the purpose of our show, it’s very important to maintain an evening routine. I do it day in and day out with my kids and I do it with myself. It involves a hot elixir, it involves slowing down, it involves taking a shower in the evening to feel like I’m washing the day away, it involves some light stretching.
I always have my blue light blocking glasses on at night, especially if I remember that, being real here, I have to send that email or this text. It’s not really realistic to put away the phones completely a couple of hours before bed, at least for me, I know that I’m always going to be checking or doing that last minute thing, and probably for you as well, I imagine. The end of the day is maybe the time we’re like, “Oh, I had to buy that thing online,” or I had to send an email to my coworker or, “Oh shoot, I forgot to text my mom this,” or whatever it is. So it’s nice to know that when you’re wearing the blue light blocking glasses, you’re not going to set yourself back too much in the rejuvenative part of your sleep, because the blue light blocking glasses block out that part of the blue light, which is stimulating and keeps you up and keeps you from going down into the deeper and deeper levels of sleep.
So pay attention to your sleep. Honor it, really honor it, because I’m someone that has not honored my sleep, and it’s part of self-love. Because if we don’t really sleep well, we don’t have the quality experience in our days that we deserve. We deserve to feel that joyful, expansive heart-opening energy every day. We want to feel creative, we want to feel that flow, and if we are sleepy, if we are exhausted, we’re going to feel short-tempered. We may feel snappy with our loved ones, we just feel like we’re dragging through the day. Life is not as fun.
So part of that focus means backtracking and really carving out the space, modifying our lifestyle, turning off Netflix earlier, or trying to eat dinner earlier. Our dinners are pretty early now, family dinner, because of the children’s’ schedule. But if you’re someone that eats dinner at 9-10 at night, dialing that back in, creating some routine in your body, will really pay you back in spades.
Tip #3: Making contact with our intuition and deeper wisdom using our third cornerstone of emotional wellbeing and mental health
Then the next cornerstone is our emotional wellbeing cornerstone slash mental health. This part is really important when it comes to focus because so much of our brains, our mind, the monkey mind as the Zen Buddhists call it, can feel very scattered and then we don’t feel focused at all. So the number one thing here, I want to mention off the top, right at the top, of this cornerstone is to batch your emails and your texts, whatever it takes to do that. So when I get into book writing mode, I put my phone in airplane mode. I check in with the kids, make sure they’re asleep or they’re taking care of, husband, everybody’s checked in with. Then for that time, whether it’s 20 minutes till I get up or 30 minutes or whatever, I don’t have texts coming in. I can’t tell you how huge that is because every time these little alerts going off, it means that our … Oh, there it goes. There goes my phone right now, actually. Hold on, see?
There’s actually research about how many seconds it takes for you to come back when there’s a distraction or something that’s gone off. Case in point, that was perfect, that just came in. So putting your phone away and in airplane mode, and if you’re someone that works on your computer, like me, turning off the alerts that also come up and pop into your screen. Let’s say, you’re focusing on this outline or you’re focusing on some sort of project, a piece of writing, an article you’re writing, or whatever it is, anytime that little, “Oh, shoot. Yeah. Take me five minutes just to answer this email back,” or this or that. You’re not going deeper and deeper and deeper into your creative power. It means you’re just dabbling on the surface because it takes time. It’s like we’re baking a cake, it takes time for the inner part of the cake to actually get cooked through.
So we want to allow the space for us to go deeper and deeper into that dropping in where we really make contact with our intuition, with our deeper wisdom. So all these little things on the surface, which are constantly pinging away and pulling us out of dropping in, means we’re never going to get the full power of our focus to be behind us. And that’s a real shame, because it means that we can miss out on some of the real jewels, some of the real pearls that we can offer the world in your unique way that no one else can do.
So I will say the next thing for me is keeping your space, whether you are in a room playing with your kids or you’re at a desk or you’re in an office or you’re in your kitchen, is to really keeping it as clean, as clutter-free as possible. I don’t write very well when there’s a bunch of old cups and old papers and the drawers are open and all this crap is around. Our mind, and this is the basis of feng shui, our mind takes in our environment, whether it’s consciously or subconsciously, and when there’s calmness in the space, it’s more conducive for concentration and focus. That’s just a fact.
I can say this anecdotally, I’m sure there’s more and more research about this, but again, from this space of the podcast today, where I really want to share personally. I would urge you to try it out for yourself. Try to focus when your space is clean and there’s minimal stuff out and try to focus when it’s an absolute mess and there’s old plates … Even when I’m playing with my kids, if there is a ton of toys around and everything is out, I say to Emerson, I say to older, because Moses is to young, I say, “Honey, let’s just tidy up first. It’ll be more space to play this game, more space to have fun.” When we do that, I can really concentrate on the game.
Otherwise, I’m just like … I stepped on a Lego and I get annoyed because my foot hurts, or out of the corner of my eye, I notice this half eaten little burger, Bubby’s burgers, so to speak, which is a recipe from the Perfectly Imperfect book, which are not really burgers as we think, but they’re mashed up cooked sweet potato and quinoa and chick pea flour, which binds it, and veggies. I notice a little bit of crumbs, I’m like, “Ah, gross.” I don’t feel as focused with my child when all that stuff is around. So I encourage you, emotionally in this cornerstone, to not only turn off the texts and the emails and to batch those things, and know that you will get to them later, to remind yourself, “I will be more efficient at doing those things when I give myself the space now to focus.” Do that, and also declutter, and just take 5-10 minutes, whatever it is to just clean up your space, and you will be able to go deeper in.
Tip #4: Tuning in with our fourth cornerstone of spiritual growth through our breath and meditation
And finally, our final cornerstone is spiritual growth, and this is a huge one. Huge. Sometimes we put off the things that really work because we’re so in the physical. Meaning, “I don’t have time to meditate now, I got to get to these emails right away. I’m not going to take the time to breathe and do my meditation because if I don’t start writing, then I won’t get it done by noon.” And guess what? Doesn’t work that way. When we tune in, when we breathe and when we meditate, it means that we have the opportunity to really connect in and to slow down those brainwaves. Just slow down to reset our nervous system, to be more sensitive, not triggered, but just to be more sensitive to information and wisdom and subtleties that make a piece of that project over-the-top good. It means that we have concentrated the energy inward, as the great yoga guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, so aptly teaches.
Before you start any project, he says, and I’m paraphrasing here, make sure you meditate. Make sure you connect to higher source, to spirit, to the universe, whatever word you want to use, make sure that you go inward. That way, everything outward will actually be better and will feel more in flow and will feel so much more easeful. So you want to go in and you want to really breathe and give yourself that space. Then I promise you that project will get done, the writing will happen, it will just be of a higher quality, actually. It will feel more from your heart. It will feel like, “Oh, man, I really nailed it.” I know when I’ve nailed it and I know you do too. I know when I’m like, “Oh, that chapter was amazing.” I know when I do a TV show and I’m like, “I was on for that show.” I also know when I could have done better. I know what I’m a little bit off. I know when I have to rewrite a whole piece of writing, which did happen on this book, and it’s happened every book.
Those times happen when I’m pushing myself, when I’m not in an inspired space, it means I’m pushing myself when I’m not rooted, I’m not really focused. It never turns out well, even when we think we’re getting ahead, we’re actually saving time. We’re actually wasting time. We actually slow ourselves down more. So it’s so powerful, it’s so empowering. When we take that time for ourselves, again, it’s part of our self-love, it’s part of really just honoring ourselves. Like I was saying about the sleep routine, the evening routine, this is part of really stepping up into our own power, means we take care of ourselves and we start to discern, “Okay, I’m going to take a little breather. I’m going to take a break,” like in the body cornerstone, I need to get up and I really need to give myself a little bit more time here to stretch or to move around.
It also means, when we continue to honor more and more of the importance of tuning in, the importance of meditation, the importance of stillness and the time that we spend getting to know ourself, is so important to feeling joyful and peaceful, and yes, to focus and concentration and equanimity, feeling calm in the world, which benefits our experience in all ways. I want to mention, as always, that we have our free meditations starting to come out for you on the website every month, two meditations every month, with commentary and support. We also have free meditations for you over on the app at my Solluna by Kimberly Snyder app that’s free in the app store.
And of course, in our membership portal, the Circle, which is so amazing, you guys. The real benefit of the Circle, I will say, besides all the information, is this is the one place where you can be seen as yourself. It is all about being seen, being honored, being heard, being supported as yourself. It’s the place where you can take your mask off, and I don’t mean the COVID mask, I mean the mask that we put on to the rest of society in different ways, in different times. The mask we have to wear for our friends even, for our coworkers, for the rest of the world, on social media. It means we can just settle into being ourselves, and when we do that, tremendous healing starts to happen. Connection, confidence, feeling truly beautiful for the first time, really feeling the full power of our vitality.
I invite you into the Circle. If you’re listening to this podcast right now, I think you would particularly love, love our Circle. Check it out for yourself. It’s available to you as a powerful tool.
All right, my loves, I will be back here on Thursday for our next Q&A show. Until then, I send you so much love, so much gratitude. I’m so honored that we are on this journey together. Have a wonderful, wonderful week. Until I see you Thursday, take care. And again, so much love.