Let’s talk about meditation. I know, I know…I heard an audible groan across the internet. If you’re anything like me, the thought of sitting down for any period of time without moving or doing or thinking anything is unheard of. I can’t even get my thoughts to calm down for a meeting at work, let alone NOT think anything for several minutes in a row!!!
That was my initial perception of meditation. I thought it was sitting around, forcing your mind to be calm and not thinking about anything. So I always avoided it, even though I’d heard great things about it. I knew that calming my mind would be extremely beneficial, because my mind is *always* going a million miles a minute (and it’s not always a good thing!).
It wasn’t until a couple years ago when I started working with another health coach that I really learned what meditation was all about and how to go about doing it. I started with ten minutes a day…yes, that’s it! I used an app on my iPhone called HeadSpace. It’s initially free, but then you have to pay for it after the first 10 days (I believe, because I ended up not paying for it after the free trial was over). So I did it for 10 days, 10 minutes a day.
It was super easy!! Yes, you find a nice, quiet place to sit down and do it, but the guy from HeadSpace, who has a super sexy accent, speaks to you and guides you through the whole thing! All you have to do is listen to what he says and follow instructions. I mean, it’s that simple!!
After 10 days, I felt calmer, more relaxed, and able to make decisions quicker and easier. I was also sleeping better! I hadn’t done anything else but add in my 10 minutes a day of meditation! It was awesome!
I then found several other apps for my phone (that were free, of course) to continue on my quest for daily meditation. The one I like the most is called Guided Mind. They have several different meditations for various things in your life, such as insomnia, relaxation, grounding, affirmations, etc. They have several that are free, while others that you have to upgrade the app and pay for. But I’ve found the free ones have been extremely beneficial for me.
I wish I could say that I am diligent about meditating and I do it every day, but I don’t. I go through periods where I do it just about every day, and then I go through periods where it’s the last thing on my mind because I’m so busy. But I can tell you those are the times I need it most! There’s something about meditating that allows me to calm my mind, relax my overthinking and anxiety, and help make everything so much clearer. If you’re struggling with something, meditation may be your answer! I know when I need an open mind, meditation helps me open up and see everything without all the fog and other junk in the way. It also helps me sleep so much better!!!
I like to meditate at the end of the day, kind of as a way to show my body it’s time to calm down and get ready for bed. It also helps me clear my head so I don’t have a jumble of thoughts going on as I try to wind down and climb in bed. But for others, it’s helpful to meditate first thing in the morning to start the day with a clear head. There’s no right or wrong time to meditate, just as there’s no right or wrong way to meditate. Find the time that works best for you and add it into your routine…find a nice quiet place that you can relax…turn off all your electronics and really be in the moment. Allow yourself to be fully present and relaxed as you listen to the soothing voice in the app (yes, I know it’s on your phone, but there’s a way to play it without getting incoming calls and texts! I do it all the time!!).
I highly suggest you download one of the apps and see what all the hype is about. See how you react to it, how you feel after a few days of adding it into your routine. Are you more relaxed? More clear headed? Able to make those tough decisions a little easier?
I have an even better idea! Let’s do it together! Let’s meditate for the next ten days! You can do anything for ten days, right?!?! I’m going to start tonight as Day 1!! I hope you join me over the next ten days and see where we end up!
I look forward to hearing about your experiences in the comments!
With love and wellness,
“When I take time for myself, I feel guilty.”
How many of you can relate to this statement? A client of mine said this to me, and it made me realize how true that is for so many of us. I talked about the importance of self-care in a previous post, but hearing that made me think that it needed to be addressed again. Because, in reality, most women feel this way.
We, as women, want to DO IT ALL! We want to work outside of the home, we want to have and raise children (which includes homework, getting ready for bed, getting them ready in the morning, etc.), we want to cook healthy meals for our family, we want to have a clean home, we want to have clean laundry, we want to work out, we want to be the “perfect” wife…and we want to do it all without any help!! Whew – I’m tired just writing all that! So when you throw in this idea of self-care – you know, taking time out of your day to take care of YOURSELF – women are like, “What?! You want me to do what?!”
But think about it…if you are going, going, going all day, every day, and you have ZERO downtime for yourself, how long do you think you’ll be able to last before you hit the wall, or worse, have a big explosion of emotions (because we tend to hold those in, too!)? If we run ourselves into the ground, we can’t possibly take care of everything and everybody else. Right?
But this is counterintuitive for so many women. We think that we are being selfish if we put ourselves first, and then we feel guilty because something else might not get done. The laundry might not get done; the grocery shopping might not get done; the house may not get cleaned; the beds may not get made; we might not get our workouts in (*gasp*). But let’s really think about this…will taking 5 to 10 minutes a day to have a cup of coffee on your back deck really ruin the rest of your day? Will taking a nice, hot bath at the end of the day when the kids are in bed really set you back?
It’s so easy for me to say to someone, “You need to take more time for self-care.” But how does one actually go about implementing that? I think, for many people, self-care equates to a couple hours set aside just for yourself. When, in reality, self-care can be as little as 5 to 10 minutes just for yourself.
There are so many things one can do to get that much needed self-care – give yourself a pedicure, or better yet, go get a pedicure (yes, this takes a little longer than 5 to 10 minutes, but it’s so very much worth it!); meditate for 10 minutes (there are great apps that talk you through it…no thinking required!); drink a cup of coffee/tea on your back deck as you’re enjoying nature; take a hot bath; read a good book (not for school or work!!); watch a movie (without working through it); listen to music and dance around the living room; get a massage (believe me, this one does WONDERS for you…mind, body, and soul)!!
Self-care is anything that you *love* doing JUST FOR YOURSELF!! It’s time that you set aside for you to replenish your energy, take a breather, calm your mind, and then go back to your everyday life feeling refreshed. Because, let’s face it, we all could use these “breaks!” We give and we give and we give to our families, friends, co-workers, etc. But let’s not forget to give to OURSELVES! We are just as important as everyone else! And believe me when I say that everything else WILL get done! And if it doesn’t get done today, it will still be there tomorrow.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should throw everything to the wayside and do nothing, but I am saying that not everything (unless there’s a deadline or a priority) needs to be done RIGHT THIS SECOND. And all of us can spare 5 to 10 minutes to ourselves…because in the long run, believe me, it will be beneficial not only to you, but to your significant other, your children, your friends and family, your co-workers…to everything.
And start small…schedule 5 minutes a day to just sit and be by yourself. Put away your phone, iPad, computer, your electronics…grab your coffee, tea, green juice, and just sit (outside preferably). Smell the fresh cut grass, hear the birds chirping, feel the sun on your skin, taste the yummy drink you’re enjoying. Just be…for 5 minutes. And notice how different you feel when you go back to your daily routine.
What are some of your go-to self-care practices? My latest one has been a hot Epsom salt bath at the end of a long day. It has helped me tremendously since I started doing it. There really is nothing compared to taking time out of your day to take care of yourself…I promise, you will see huge benefits when you start taking care of yourself first!
With love and wellness,
Have you ever had one of those weeks where you cram so much in that your head seems to spin because you’re running from one thing to the next? Yeah, that was me during the last week of February (but in a good way), and really into the first week of March. And now, here we are, mid-March and I’m finally getting back to writing my blog. I kept telling myself to sit down and write, but something else always gets in the way. I know you know what I’m talking about!
And the thing is, my schedule hasn’t gotten any less busy. If anything, I continue to schedule things back to back and over-extend myself. I have gotten a *little* better about it recently, but that is definitely something I need to work on, because all it does is run me ragged and then I’m no good to anybody, including myself.
But that’s life, right? We go and go and go until we physically or mentally can’t go anymore. I wake up one morning and just think, “Nope. I can’t today.” And go right back to sleep. Those mornings are the worst. My whole body hurts, my head is pounding, and I can’t think straight. And it’s not because I’m sick or coming down with anything. It’s literally because I have used up every last reserve of energy and my body is telling me to SLOW DOWN!!! I spend those days in PJs, in bed, sleeping and relaxing. And I’m better by the next day.
But wouldn’t it be nice if I listened to my body before then? You know, actually do that whole self-care thing that everybody’s always talking about. And I’ll be good about it for a while, whether it’s taking a hot bath, reading a pleasure book (instead of for school), or meditating, but then I go right back to my busy schedule of going, going, going until I fall in bed for the night.
So my goal for this spring is to set aside 30 minutes every evening for myself..not for my business or for school or for anything but me. I don’t know if I’m going to meditate or stretch or foam roll out my muscles, but it’s going to be a set 30 minutes of something just for me. I challenge you to do the same if you’re like me, rushing from one event to the next (especially for you moms with kids’ sports and parties and school functions, etc).
I especially need this now that my life has and will be drastically changing in the next few weeks. I recently went through a break-up, one that I wasn’t expecting. It also means a move is in the works since we lived together. I’ll admit, when it first ended, I was shocked and angry and hurt (aren’t we all?!). But I took a couple days to think about it and I realized, just like with every relationship, it takes two people to get to where we were. I also realized that the break-up was one of the best things that could’ve happened for both of us.
I’m still healing from this and plan on doing some soul-searching for a while, but I know that good things are in store for me. I could sit back and be angry and depressed and negative about the whole situation, but the truth is that I learned a lot about myself in this relationship. I also learned a lot in general, and know that I will take those lessons with me into future relationships and situations. I know I’ll have my sad moments, but I want to keep my head up and be positive about it, because that’swhat’s going to get me through this.
What are some good tips that you’ve found have helped you get through a break-up? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
With love and wellness,