mindfulness · parenting

Mindful Mommying #heart #body #soul

I’ve been thinking hard about ways to cultivate mindfulness in my everyday life.  Lately I’m trying to face up to my sort-of-chronic anxiety, and friends have advised me that mindfulness is an effective tool to use.

Sometimes, mommying can be helpful in this way.  I’ve realized that right now, my mommying time is the least stressful thing in my life.  Not that it’s not tiring or stressful or worry-inducing in its own way – but I feel the most in the zone and in the flow when I am mommying Teddy.

Today we were curled up reading a book together, and I realized that reading to Teddy is one of the few times of day when I am completely and totally engrossed in the task at hand and not multi-tasking in any way.

That’s a breath of fresh air, for me.

Not everything I do with Teddy is quite as mindful.  Sometimes, when we take our walks outside, I have a podcast playing on my phone while we walk and play. I try not to beat myself up about this, but it’s definitely something I’d like to be different someday.

One of my intentions for 2018 was to meditate more – again, with the hope t

hat it will help my anxiety.  I’ve been doing pretty well with this habit, but I’m grateful for the mommying moments that pull me into the present.

SIDEBAR: we just borrowed a book from the library called Baby Present, by Rachel Neumann, which I got partially because I thought Teddy would like it and partially because the book is basically a mini meditation.  It’s delightful and I feel myself relax into the moment every time we read it.

 

balance · mindfulness

Mindful Check-In #How’sMyBalance?

My last check-in was JULY 31, 2017.  That was a long time ago!  I have a feeling the last six months of my 2017 were pretty balanced, as my not-at-all-scientific method will probably show.  Let’s see!

Since my last check-in, I have written:

  • 13 posts about nourishing my #heart by spending time with family and friends;
  • 12 posts about nourishing my #soul by spending quiet time reflecting and recharging;
  • 16 posts about nourishing my #mind by reading, writing, and engaging in other activities that educate me or exercise my brain muscles;
  • 5 posts about nourishing my #body by exercising, eating healthy food, and taking steps to take care of my physical being;
  • and, last but not least, 5 posts about nourishing my #spirit by learning or doing new things.

Here are my thoughts on this:

  • I feel pretty balanced recently.  I’ve been doing my best to make time with family and friends a priority, and to make plans for fun things to do as a family and with our friends.
  • never write as much about #body as the other aspects of self.  I’ve never been the person who posts about physical accomplishments on social media or anything like that.  There’s nothing wrong with posts like that, at all – just not my thing.  However, I think that writing less about #body also has to do with my exercise routine sometimes being monotonous.  I’m actually in the middle of a drafted post about one of my new exercise routines, which is nostalgic and exciting – soon to be posted.
  • I expect that my #spirit posts will increase during the early months of 2018.  Tee and I have some fun plans – nothing wild and crazy, just little adventures to have, places to visit, things to do.

I feel excited and energized to be blogging again after my accidental two-month-long hiatus.  Already published seven new posts in 2018 – five more posts until 300!

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balance · mindfulness

Mindful Check-In #How’sMyBalance?

It feels good to be writing today.

I’ve had a little break from the blog.  It wasn’t on purpose;  I think what happened was, my June 28th post emptied me out (read it here!), and I’ve been feeling inspired to do more creative writing.

I haven’t done a check-in for a long time.  I’m not really in love with my format for doing check-ins, honestly – but I do find it helpful to take a moment to evaluate where I’m at and how things are going.  Hopefully I’ll eventually find a way to check in that’s more fun.  But, for now:

My last check-in was on February 20th.  (See?  If my check-ins were more fun, I’d do them more often!)

💖  I’ve written twelve posts about nourishing my #heart by spending time with family, friends, and other kindred spirits.  This has been flowing pretty naturally for me.  Anytime with Teddy and Tee is amazing #heart food.  And we’ve been doing a pretty good job of making plans to spend time with family and friends, which is always a challenge for my little family of introverts.

☯️  I’ve written thirteen posts about nourishing my #soul by engaging in activities that bring me peace and contentment.  Solid.

💭 I’ve written seventeen posts about nourishing my #mind with podcasts, books, and other brain food.  Consistently my best category.    

🏃 I’ve written seven posts about nourishing my #body food with exercise, activity, and healthy food and sleep.  Ugh.  It’s hard to be a full-time working mom with a one-year-old and still find time to work out.  I try to take walks with Teddy; I’ll try to take more.  We shall see.

🌱 I’ve written four posts about nourishing my #spirit by doing things that are new, different, and/or challenging.  Not bad.  I think I forget about this category frequently.

Coming soon – (hopefully) a more fun way to check in, and a snapshot because my head is full of thoughts about all the things.

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mindfulness

#MBSR #mind #soul #body

Taking a break from our daily routine is always beneficial.

For clinical social workers, that can often be achieved by signing up for a training.

Last week, I spent Monday and Tuesday attending a training in MBSR – mindfulness-based stress reduction.  These two days included some pretty excellent self-care.  Re-listening to The Gifts Of Imperfection in the car.  Meditating.  Journaling.  Reflectinpicture-26g on what’s been stressful lately and contemplating my next move.

We used a Stress-O-Meter to measure our stress throughout the two days.  I started out as an eight.  I slowly relaxed my way down to a four.  (I immediately re-escalated to an 11 when I walked into work on Wednesday morning.  Ugh.)

I’ve been wanting to attend a training in mindfulness-based stress reduction for a long time, and it did not disappoint.  There were a LOT of takeaways:

-This is a list of mindful attitudes I’ve been encouraged to cultivate: non-judgment; patience; non-striving; acceptance; beginners’ mind; trust; and letting go.  All relevant.  Some challenging.  All of them powerful when exercised mindfully.

-Stress is contagious.  So is peacefulness.  Lately, I’ve been having a really tough time at work.  I can be really sensitive to the moods and attitudes of others, and in this case, that is NOT good.  I’ve set an intention to try to project peace rather than absorbing stress.

-Our instructor asked us this question: “How many times do we limit ourselves to the story of who we are?”  It’s really good to know ourselves.  For example, I felt very empowered by the knowledge that I’m an introvert.  HOWEVER – I don’t want to limit myself to only one story.  I don’t want to label myself as an introvert, or a runner, or a procrastinator, and thus write the story of how I live my life before I even live it out.

-Dear KEM, Stop being so attached to outcomes.  Okay thanks bye.9ada79c33c1ed3dbade5871ae148f74d

-When it comes to life, I would much rather be the passenger than the driver. Something to think about.

-We spend most of our lives rehearsing or rehashing.  Rather than just BEING in the moment.

-We are always practicing something.  And we get better at what we practice.

I’m eager to keep my mindfulness practice going.  However, this is always a struggle for me – the daily maintenance that comes with keeping a new habit.

Last year, there was a sale at PESI and I treated myself to two books: MBSR Every Day and A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook.  I brought them both with me to the training, thinking that I might finally start to a) read them and b) understand what exactly MBSR is. So far, in the workbook, I’ve finished a few chapters, and I am hoping to commit myself to formal mindfulness practice.  I’ve done a few ‘mindful check-ins’ and about 20 minutes of mindful yoga.  A good start.

anxiety · balance · mindfulness

The Struggle Bus Is Real #mind #soul

Oh, man.  I am definitely riding the struggle bus lately.967f0c589eb9b1e051bfda3412bd612d

Specifically, I’ve been experiencing an identity crisis related to my day job.

I’ve previously blogged about the ups and downs I’ve been having at work since Teddy came home.  For so long, waiting for Teddy took up all of my heart.

Now, Teddy’s home.  Tee and I are healthy and stressed-but-oh-so-happy.  And I’m trying to figure out what I want my life to look like.

I’ve come up with a few different things I’m looking for in my work life:  A shorter commute.  Fewer hours.  Less stress.  More fun and play.  An organization that is aligned with my values.  

I’ve always felt best when I was working with a group of people who felt happy, committed to their work, and inspired.  Genesee.  AmeriCorps.  Sigh.

So – I’m evaluating my options.  I’m deciding what my next move will be.  And I’m wondering, not for the first time, if I did it all wrong – career, 307grad school, jobs.

I once talked to a girl who’d decided to become a yoga therapist.  She was around 30 years old at the time.  She said, “I finish teaching a class, and I’m filled with energy.  I’m so grateful that I’ve found what gives me the most joy when I’m so young.”

Sigh, sigh, sigh.

I very much want to find work that helps me to feel energized and alive.  It’s possible that I just need a change.  Or, that I need to get back to my two greatest loves – working with children and creative writing.

So, I’m taking steps.  Applying for new jobs.  Going to interviews.  Trying to carve out time for fiction writing.

But – here’s the second half of my struggle: How do I stay mindful and peaceful in the midst of striving and change?

Transitions are always a challenge.  In my experience, it’s difficult to physically be at one job when your heart and your mind are out there searching for a new job.  Last week I felt a lot of anxiety for that reason.  I’m trying to recenter – to ground myself in the knowledge that I am, as always, exactly where I need to be.

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balance · mindfulness

#soul #mind

A few months ago, I set some heartsoulmindbody goals when I was neglecting my #soul quadrant.

-Attend a training in mindfulness-based stress reduction.

-Take an online writing class.

-Finish the self-compassion workshop I started on Brene Brown’s Courage Works website.

I am crushing it.

Today I attended a PESI training in MBSR and I loved it; it’s a two-day training, so I get to go tomorrow, too.  I’ve been journalling in an MBSR workbook and Tee and I did a mindful check-in just now.  I think this technique could be a touchstone for me – a central tool for my personal and professional growth.

I am signed up for a course in advanced fiction writing at Harford Community College beginning on March 15th.

AND today I re-committed to completing the self-compassion workshop.  I need it!  And the biggest barrier has been slow internet at home.  But today (and most work days), I was in a building with great internet.  So I watched some kickass self-compassion videos during my lunch break.  (#socialworkdork)

The workbook I’m using has exercises and text interspersed with bits of poetry.  Like this one by Mary Oliver.  Love.

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mindfulness · podcasts

Mindful and Kindful #soul #heart #mind

This week on the podcast Happier With Gretchen Rubin, Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth discussed single-taskingmaking a practice of doing only one thing at a time.  So, basically, mindfulness.

Mindfulness is my current obsession, so I love hearing it discussed.  And it’s discussed everywhere these days.  The trouble is, every day it gets easier to multi-task.  You can text in the car, using a dictation app.  You can watch a TV show on your phone while taking a walk outside.  You can write a blog post with a TV show on in the background (which I often do).

Tee, Teddy, and I just got home from a trip to Vegas for Thanksgiving; my mother traveled with us, and we spent the holiday with my sister.  It was a lovely trip, with lots of family togetherness and mini-adventures.  (Plus, when Thanksgiving is over, it’s officially time to be in the Christmas spirit!)

There were several moments during this week that I caught myself being sharp or testy, or nagging.  I think that being more vigilant about mindfulness would help with these situations.  When I’m multi-tasking, my attention is never fully anywhere, and it’s harder to stay in touch with my mind, my heart, and my body.  My nagging or testiness – these are tendencies I am aware of.  But I want to do more than just be aware.  My goal is to notice when I am feeling a certain way, and then to be kind and loving even when I am feeling aggravated.  I want to be mindful, and then I want to choose to be kind.

I’m all about mantras – I like having something simple that I can say to myself in moments of stress to remind me of who I am and who I want to be.  Today, I am trying out a new one: be mindful and be kindful.

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