In this four-part series in honor of Self-Improvement Month this September, we finished Part 1 last week with the topic of stress and are moving on to Part 2 focusing on Mindfulness. In many ways, mindfulness is the opposite of stress. And the best part is, that within each of us are all the resources needed to practice being more mindful.
Have you ever driven for like 30 minutes and arrive at your destination realizing you don’t even recall all the details of your drive? Like how did I just get here?
Life is busy. We are constantly being pulled in different directions. Our thoughts may seem out of control and our anxiety through the roof, and many of us are going throughout our days as if our bodies and minds are on autopilot.
But, could life be different (and better) if you could take the couple extra minutes to pause and be mindful about the task at hand?
Mindfulness is defined as bringing one's attention, thoughts and feelings to experiences occurring in the present moment. The more you pause, the more you think, the more you feel… the more aware you become.
Last weekend was a perfect example of this for me. The only time I take naps is when I’m vacationing on the beach or (truth be told), when I’ve been over-served the night before. But last weekend something just hit me. We only had two activities for my daughters for the weekend and, I was determined to be really productive – and I was! All laundry was done and put away, the house was picked up, and I even organized both under my bathroom sink and my linen closet (two areas that had been driving me nuts).
However, as I was being a busy bee, I noticed both on Saturday AND Sunday that my eyes were literally burning while I was racing around. The previous week had been a super crazy schedule with early mornings and late nights, so I knew I was obviously hitting my wall for my lack of sleep. I thought, “If I lie down and actually fall asleep, this is what I need. If I don’t, I’ll just get up.”
Well, Saturday was a little catnap of 30 minutes, but then Sunday was a full 90 minutes of blissful sleep! Both felt great, and it was just what I needed to recharge to start my week.
Being mindful to become the best version of YOU can be practiced in many scenarios. So, I wanted to share four that you could start working on today.
1. Take a seat. Find a quiet place outdoors and set a timer for 5-15 minutes. Close your eyes and just listen. Listen to nature, feel the warmth of the sun, feel the breeze, notice your breathing in and out, and let your thoughts go. Just be.
2. Take a nap. Look for the signs of needing more sleep and give in to taking a nap already. Your family will survive without you for 30 minutes. How do you know if you need a nap? Ask yourself these questions:
Is your energy declining?
Do your eyes look puffy or feel like they’re burning?
Have you been super cranky?
Are you constantly catching every cold your kids bring home?
Have you just felt out of it lately?
3. Take your body seriously. If you are being mindful about your eating, one thing that you will do is pay attention to how foods make your body feel. Look for signs of the foods that are giving you more energy and keeping you leaner, as well as foods that cause you to feel bloated and gassy. You don’t need to follow the latest diet. Become the expert of your own body with a little mindfulness. Listen to its cues because it is telling you what it needs.
4. Take a hint and learn your appetite signals. I’m talking about being aware of when your body is sending hints about feeling hungry, having cravings, and how full you feel. Have you ever stopped to think about the way your body felt in all three of these instances? It will make a difference on your health.
Hunger is a physical sensation. Your stomach may growl or you may get hunger pangs. You might get “hangry” if you’ve gone too long without eating. You may feel light-headed or get a headache. They are all physical signs. If you feel this way, you most likely need to eat.
Cravings are caused by emotions or brought on from a feeling of boredom, habit or a memory. Something “sounds” good, but you don’t have the physical hunger sensations. If you get stuck in this situation, leave the kitchen! Distract yourself with a non-food activity.
Fullness is when you feel satisfied, not stuffed. It is actually a communication between your brain and stomach that stop the eating process when it gets this sensation. It takes approximately 20 minutes for this process to take place, so be mindful of how fast you eat. Slow down and stop when you are 80% full.
“Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Let’s get FIRED UPP,
P.S. Because I want as many women as possible to jump on the self-improvement train, I am offering a SEPTEMBER SPECIAL for the Fit, Fueled & Fired Upp Healthy Lifestyle Blueprint all month long! They'll get full access to my app in this 14-week self-guided, online coaching program for less than $25/week. I will show you how to implement a healthy lifestyle step-by-step and hopefully drop a pant size or two while doing so. Whoo hoo! Quick and guided workouts, nutrition, mindset, stress and sleep help are all included! Let me help you be your best self!