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  • Laila Datoo

When you create the space, what else flows into your life?

Space is a funny thing. Sometimes the more you have it, the more you want. If you follow me on LinkedIn or get my emails, I shared this recently with my community.

I came off social media in mid-April as an experiment when I went on holiday. I landed in LA and deleted instagram from my phone. I put a timer on all my other social media apps of 15 minutes a day - this covered Facebook, LinkedIn, Messenger, even Whatsapp. I was determined to be present on my trip and not stuck in my phone all day - either taking photos for the 'gram or looking at other peoples. That experiment turned into an expansion I haven’t felt in months - maybe years. When I became a student and teacher of mindfulness and meditation, I replaced my anxieties about the past and future with a low level anxiety about social media - I turned to insta in particular looking for inspiration and instead found comparison-itis, FOMO and a niggling worry that other people were living more exciting, busy lives. It's also given me amazing new connections and I definitely found the inspiration I was after so it's been hugely positive - just draining if not managed well. I didn't even realise how badly it had taken hold until I found myself losing hours in the morning and evening aimlessly scrolling - and the handy new app in my iphone now tells me how long I spend on SM every day/week. The difference space has made has been huge in so many ways. I actually haven't done much “creative” stuff in the past few weeks. I've barely posted on LinkedIn, I haven't sent any emails and I've not been proactive about reaching out to people. Yet in the space that has freed up, I've had more time to think. To be. To embrace all the things I work with my clients on (being present, finding joy in small positive habits, daily meditation) I've been focused on delivering great work to my clients - everything from hosting mindfulness sessions at the leading media show - Media 360, delivering an 8-week mindfulness programme for a global event company and delivering sessions across London for insurance brokers, architects, lawyers, production companies and asset management firms. And being truly present in those sessions. I've also created the space to focus on a different kind of creation - a baby! It's been a strange one for me and I've enjoyed being in a bubble where I haven't wanted to share but I'm slowly emerging from this and feeling like I want to be in the online world again! I'm now 6 months pregnant and the past 2-3 months have been about really embracing the changes I am going through and giving myself the space to rest and meditate, direct my energy into my work, formulate new ideas and start planning the next few life-changing months/ years! When I made space in my life - away from social media and from connecting with my network to an extent, I also realised there are key things that are crucial to my mental well-being. - Sleep: most of us aren't getting enough sleep and the biggest gap in balance that comes up in EVERY session I deliver is sleep/ rest and the permission we give ourselves to take it. I'm also still working with this as I find it hard to switch off - and yet the days I do take 30 minutes to nap or go to bed early, I feel more like myself and less like the cranky toddler I may be sent from the universe! - Disconnection (or what I like to call a bubble state): Being in a bubble with little or no connection to the online world has meant my mornings are totally anxiety-free, I don't spend my weekends worrying about all the festivals/ days out/ cool London things I am not at, and I get so much more of my own life-stuff done! - Staying connected to my present: I have achieved more "adulting" in the past 2 months than I have all year, because I am connected to the now and what needs to happen today - rather than thinking about what may happen in the future / what I could be doing. This is the biggie for me... - Knowing when it’s ok to say I need help: turning to my close friends & family when I need support doesn't come easily but having more space and time has meant I now know when I can trust my instincts and my needs and when I need outside help. Moving with the changing flows of circumstances and life changes is an important skill as we will all face changes at different times in our lives. So knowing what you need to get through it is really vital - and accepting that there is change present has been key to staying calm, centered and ok with it all! What happens in your life when you create some space? Does it feel uncomfortable or scary? Or do magical things start to happen? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this and how having more space affects you.

Until next time,

Stay mindful


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