We’re already into the third month 2017 and while I’m not one for making new year’s resolutions, I do believe that practicing ways to be calm can help in many aspects of our lives. It’s not easy to remain calm and carry on when our kids won’t PICK UP THOSE GODDAMN SOCKS even after the twelfth time of asking. And given the state the world is in right now, it can feel overwhelming.
We’re hearing more and more (and more and MORE) about being “mindful”—from the food we eat to the clothes we wear and what we choose to spend our time on. Frankly, being mindful of being mindful can also be overwhelming (read: annoying as hell). Since we barely have time to organize our kid’s social lives, let alone our own, we’re hardly about to run off to a yoga retreat in the sunset.
So, what can we do to practice mindfulness? *cough, cough, realistic suggestions only*
Here’s what I’ve been quietly doing over the past year….
THE JOY OF MISSING OUT: I’ve been thinking a lot about media maven Randi Zuckerberg, who mentioned “the joy of missing out” (JOMO), and have been practicing that thought myself. It’s the complete opposite of FOMO (fear of missing out, thank you social media status updates…) Instead, she describes JOMO as “nowhere I’d rather be than where I am right now.” I admit it took a few months to adjust, but you know what? It feels great! It’s being in the moment with what and who truly matters to you.
AYURVEDA: This is all about balancing our health and wellness and how our bodies connect with the world. It’s steeped in over 5000 years of Indian traditions but the philosophies are just as relevant today. At a day of Tea Talks, hosted by Tetley Tea, a panel of Ayurvedic doctors, yogis, experts and chefs discussed the benefits of applying it to our daily lives. Ayurveda talks a lot about Doshas (our life energies), how they control our bodily functions, and the importance of achieving balance. You can find out what your dominant Dosha is and learn how to heal your body and mind through Ayurveda. TIP: your digestive system is important to the rest of your body. Start each day with warm (boiled) water with lemon to gently prepare your stomach and intestines. I’m really enjoying this new line of herbal tea created with Ayurvedic practitioners and available exclusively in Canada.
MEDITATION: This has become more common over the past few years as a simple everyday way to bring focus and calmness into your life. There are many times throughout the day where I will shut the door and turn off music, screens, and just be quiet with myself. No distractions. Just deep breaths and allowing my mind to rest. When I need some guidance, I use Calm.com (also available as an app), which offers different nature sounds like “Rain on Trees”, “Tropical Waves”, and “Celestial Sunbeams”. “Daily Calm” is just 10 minutes long and a great way to get started. New to the site are “Sleep Stories” (for adults and kids) to help soothe the mind and drift into a good night’s rest. Sounds good, right?
DECLUTTER: I’m not that ruthless when it comes to tossing out stuff. I’m a sentimental person and everything has a story. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Wrong! I thought that tidying the kid’s stuff and the mountain of shoes near the door was sufficient. But what about the pile of books and magazines in the corner, the trinkets on the fireplace mantel, and the cupboards and drawers that are full of stuff? I finally started going through the kitchen pantry, dispensing with the expired spices and bottles of sauces, and working my way through the cupboards one day at a time. Baby steps. The less you have, the clearer your mind. It really does feel good. Author Marie Kondo, author of the best-seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has a follow-up book called Spark Joy that explains how to choose, and care for, the things that bring you joy.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE: A friend recently told me that she wished she could find time to get back into her love for photography. But with the kids schedules and running errands, it hasn’t been a priority she’s set for herself. I completely understand. I used to paint a lot. Then I just couldn’t find the time and made up all sorts of excuses, like being “too busy.” Then a friend asked if I would paint something for his office. I had almost forgotten how much I loved that creative process and how I was able to clear my head and jump into my “painter’s clothes”. Even my kids mentioned how much they like seeing me paint as they can see the happiness it brings to me.
Lastly, take a leaf out of Sarah Knight’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck and “stop spending time you don’t have with people you don’t like doing things you don’t want to do.”
Can’t argue with that!