Mindfulness means paying attention in a certain way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. This increases awareness, clarity and acceptance of our present-moment reality. It creates space. It’s widely cited by many health coaches and mentors as essential in our healing journey, as being mindful can be a useful stress reduction tool and allows us to live in the moment, not the past or in the future.
As a single parent, who works a full time job as well as being a practicing health coach with a thriving blogging practice, I have had my fair share of moments where I would say mindfulness is the last $%#% thing on my mind!
Before having my daughter, I could focus so much more time on myself. As a result, I invested in my holistic awareness and practiced self-love. I meditated, wrote and recorded visualization meditations, ran workshops, did chakra clearings, focused on breath-work, wrote a journal, had a massage every week, invested in manicures and pedicures, and went to the movies when the movie was released – not when it was about to be removed from the Netflix Catalog.
Knowing the importance of what self-care needs to be (and because I can’t be a hypocrite to my coaching clients), I make a lot of effort to get back to at least 5% of what I once did… but any parent, I’m sure, can relate to the comedy of errors which typically removes any thought of being mindful… If anything it can sometimes result in more stress…
Yoga… downward dog… more like dog needs to be let out!
Journaling – “Dear Journal its been 95 days since I last had 5 minutes to write to you…” – have written 1 page of deepest thoughts only to spill my herbal tea which I wish was expresso coffee all over the page… breathe… it was the writing down that mattered, let it out…. Breathe.
Massage – 10 massages given to me by my ex for my birthday, two months after the birth of my daughter… nearly 9 years later, there are still four vouchers left… how could I enjoy that massage when diapers and bottles were my highest priority?
Breath-work – that accounts for me carrying 12 bags of groceries from the store, up two sets of stairs, while navigating Legos and dog gates. Occasionally it will involve several sets of crocodile breathing, only to have a puppy jump on my back, or nuzzle her nose under my face…
Walking – well as a dog owner, that involves stopping to collect the poop of two dogs… one who herself has thyroid issues, and another who is a puppy… what was I thinking… and is hyperactive to say the least and yes she’s grain free!
Meditation – reserved for 5:15am when I set my alarm clock… sometimes 5:35am after I’ve hit snooze twice, as I had a report to write last night… or in the middle of my meditation when I’m listening to the waves crashing on the shore, renewing my spirit and removing negativity from my core being so that I can be at peace and more mindful in more negative situations… I hear through the waves
“Mummy, are you there? Mummy, where are you? Mummy, I’m awake.”
and the mindfulness ends up exactly where my recent #4 on the Bristol stool chart goes… Straight into the toilet!
Ok… so, it is both cathartic and slightly ironic that as Health Coach I confess this is sometimes my life. But, I’ll take a leap of faith and suggest to you that I’m not far off for many of you, am I? This stress management challenge; this mindfulness practice that we need to embrace is DAMN hard. It’s not for want of trying… but, life can just get in the way… so what can we do to fix this conundrum we call our life? How do you focus on making mindfulness work for you?
Here’s my list for you:
- Set Boundaries – set times in your schedule and work with your family to understand that if they want a calm, happy and
healthy partner/parent that they must play their part in helping you schedule this time.
- Choose an activity that works for you – just because Cross fit is all the rage in Paleo circles doesn’t mean its right for you! Exercise, can be as moderate or as intensive as you need it to be… do what works for you!
- Your practice can change – Just because you choose one method doesn’t mean it can’t and most likely will change over time… listening to music used to by my jam, now it’s just sitting in silence or listening to the birds chirp in the morning air, without any interruption.
- Try new things – massage, acupuncture, couch to 5k, journaling, flotation tank, EFT, Tapping, reading, – some you may enjoy and want to factor into a routine… others will just not float your boat and that is OK!
- Do what works for you – If you find you enjoy multiple ways to reduce your stress and free your mind so that you CAN be mindful in that moment rather than curse like a trucker, then schedule them on a rotation… First Friday in the month – massage, 3rd Friday flotation tank…
- Buddy up – partner with a mate to reduce the cost or to watch their kids, and in turn they watch yours, so that you can invest in yourself… Do the same with your partner, one night per week its your night… the other takes on the tasks of the night – so that you can invest in you!
- Be honest – as a health coach and a blogger, I get it… you may think we have all our shizzle together, that we’re all part time yogis, fitness instructors, recipe developers, and that we never utter any curse words because we are so damn ZEN… well I’m here to tell you… I’m real. I’m honest. My partnership with Jo is built totally on the core belief that we must always attempt to put ourselves first… Now, we don’t always succeed (Right, Jo?!?) but at the core of who we are, that is what keeps us both mindful. Because without putting our real selves out there we can’t connect and honor and love who we are!
Can you relate?