Monthly Mindful Musings, October 2016

Monthly Mindful Musings, October 2016

Welcome to chapter 2 of the Monthly Mindful Musings!

This month, mindfulness played a huge role in my self-care. It was quite a busy time, with a few stressful events and I really needed to give myself space to unwind, provide support to others and listen to my needs.

I’ve written about mindful self-care in this article (with ten tips so you can try it yourself!) but I would like to also share a few actual examples from my own life. Here we go!

I napped. With a few long nights and a lack of quality sleep, I embraced an activity I usually avoid and I napped. Generally, I try not to because I tend to wake up feeling extra groggy and nauseous, but I was so tired that I needed to let it happen.

I booked myself in for useful appointments (and didn’t cancel). My back was aching, so I went to the osteopath. My hair felt lacklustre, so I visited the hairdresser. I was feeling overwhelmed by my business and big goals, so I started working with a business coach. Sometimes, we can easily forgo appointments, especially during busy times, but I strongly believe in the power of having a professional support network.

Rather than feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I felt proactive and supported while I addressed the issues which came up.

I practiced forgiveness towards myself when I had to say no to taking on extra things, or for taking time off. I’m a people pleaser and I love to say yes, but this month I had to listen very carefully to my needs and kindly decline extra work and responsibilities. Further, I took time off when it was possible, so I could recover and focus on taking care of myself and those who needed me.

I communicated honestly. When I was feeling worried, or upset, or tired, I let the people around me know. Being honest in this way was so cathartic and reduced misunderstandings and conflict. It also meant I was offered support and kindness during challenging times, which made them feel much more manageable!

Keen to learn more about self-care and mindfulness?

Check out this episode of The Mindful Kind podcast and check out the articles below.

My favourite articles from around the web

How to Break a Bad Habit (Faster Than You Can Take a Selfie)

A really interesting article which clearly outlines a visualisation you can use to help you break bad habits.

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Throughout The Day

A heartfelt and useful article about relieving stress. You’ll also discover a mindfulness tool (which I hadn’t heard about before!) that could help remind you to be more mindful when you really need it.

Mindfulness of Breathing: A Primer

Discover three common expectations of practicing mindfulness which can actually hinder us in becoming more mindful, such as expecting that meditation should always make us feel relaxed.

‘How to be Mindful’ Tips and Missions

Tip one:

Mindful walking is a wonderful way to easily incorporate mindfulness into our lives. An easy way to practice mindful walking is to count in time with your steps and breath. Take four steps as you inhale, then take four steps as you exhale (counting to four each time).

Mindful Mission

Try out the above mindful walking tip by going for a walk around the block! Mindful walks don’t have to be long or strenuous; they can simply be a chance to refresh and focus the mind on the present moment.

Tip tw0:

Drinking water mindfully is a great way to practice mindfulness and stay hydrated throughout the day. Follow these simple steps to practice mindful drinking;

Pick up your water bottle, noticing the texture of the bottle and the weight of it in your hands.

Take a sip and pay attention to your senses, particularly what you can taste and feel.

Notice how the water feels in your body- does it make you feel refreshed, satisfied, or energised?

Mindful Mission

Keep a water bottle with you for a day and whenever you use it, try to practice mindful drinking.

Tip three:

Listening to music can be an interesting and meaningful mindfulness exercise. It can help clear our minds, invoke emotion and experience a variety of sounds. To listen to a song mindfully, you might like to close your eyes so you can really focus on the sounds. Be curious about the song; the instruments, melodies, beats and voices. Try listening to the lyrics and understand what they actually mean.

Mindful Mission

Listen to one of your favourite songs and try to find out something you didn’t already know about it! Is there an instrument you’ve never heard before? A different emotion the song brings to the surface? A lyric you hadn’t understood?

This month, I would like to leave you with a quote which really resonated with me.

In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality
— Nhat Hanh

This quote has been inspiring me to try (because, sometimes, it’s really darn hard!) to calmly experience and accept my reality. Holding a yoga pose which challenged me, being tired and unwell, getting caught in the rain on my way to work and being nervous about a social outing were all experiences which I tend to perceive in a negative way. I’ve been trying to apply mindfulness to these situations and experience them without judgement. As I said, it can be really hard to do!

However, I have noticed more acceptance and less emotional reactivity (even gratitude at times!) towards situations like these and I’m excited to see where this practice might take me.

How are you trying to be more mindful this month? I would absolutely love to hear from you in the comments below!

P.S You can check out Chapter One of the Monthly Mindful Musings here.