Mindfulness - A re-think ...
Owner/founder of aspire hair and self confessed wig addict.
2019 was a rough year for my family. In July of last year my Dad passed away after a very long illness. My brothers didn't cope with Dad's illness well and are struggling even now with functioning on a daily basis.
Along side all of this were stresses in my own little family unit at home. Our 11 year old daughter was struggling socially and at school and was having daily panic attacks. Her mental health got so bad that my Husband and I made the decision to de-register from School and start homeschooling her. This in itself was a massive change to our family routine but one that was definitely worth it I'm happy to say.
I have been a big believer in practising mindfulness for many years now and was keen to introduce it to my daughter as I really believe it can help relieve anxiety and depression.
Now, I am not for one moment saying that the daily practise of mindfulness is all you need to be doing to help relieve anxiety and depression but it is a nice solid addition to your daily routine and any talking therapy/medication you may already be doing/taking.
My morning mindfulness.
Mornings are tough in our house. I have suffered from insomnia and sleep walking since childhood and my children struggle to fall a sleep and stay a sleep through the night and are very active sleep talkers when they do manage to drop off!
Our mornings consist of 2 very sleepy adults and 2 very sleepy children who are generally grumpy, running late and trying to find a matching pair of socks!
SPOILER ALERT! - Most days are spent in odd socks but hey ho at least we're wearing socks right?.
Even with all of this going on each morning I still try to find just a few minutes to look out of the window and notice the weather, any cats, dogs, squirrels etc roaming about, people walking their children to school, the school bus picking kids up, the postman etc.
Noticing what is happening outside in the moment is mindfulness. You are in the moment and it's a much easier task to get ticked off your mindfulness to do list that trying to get in 10 minutes of traditional meditation while the kids are running riot!
the first cup of coffee.
I never seem to find the time to have a Coffee until i get to work each morning. My lovely colleague Louise always makes us a coffee as soon as we open the shop and one of my favourite things to do is sit with my coffee and tune in to the sounds around me.
I was diagnosed with autism and ADHD last year and after a lifetime of being totally overwhelmed by sounds that don't seem to be an issue to others I found it so interesting to understand why I reacted this way to my environment.
What I realised after I discovered I was autistic was that I had unintentionally created a 'sensory safe' environment in my shop. The music is always on low in the background, The lighting panels are daylight panels so don't buzz and hum like standard panels do. The hush of the heating system is something I always hear in the background but not something that drives me crackers. The shop decor is very neutral and calming and organised (most of the time!).
I tune in to all of the above while I sit at my desk and sip my morning coffee.
It's an act of mindfulness and it helps me to tune in and focus for the coming day at work.
the lunchtime jump-a-roo.
OK, so I'm going to be straight with you here. I am a walking contradiction and have been my whole life! One the one hand I love the quiet days we have in the aspire shop where I can catch up on writing my blogs, my social media marketing and writing the aspire newsletter.
On the other hand I struggle to sit and be still and am constantly swinging my legs in my chair, twisting and turning and adjusting my seating position!
Half of my brain craves stillness, quiet and zen and the other half absolutely HATES not foot tapping, finger clicking and feeling restricted in my movement. A walking contradiction!
Lunch times are a time for me to move more and not feel like a huge pain in the butt to my colleagues as I'm almost positive my fidgeting must disturb them as they try to work around me.
At lunchtime I'll do what ever I need to to get rid of some of that built up internal energy. I'll walk around the shop and set the wigs straight, shake out my hands and notice how nice that feels and stand outside the shop and people watch. This gets me moving and also keeps me in the moment all at the same time.
Lunchtime mindfulness - check!
pre dinner music anyone?
Did I mention I live in a mad house? Our house is never quiet, not even when we sleep thanks to sleep walkers/talkers! When I get home, before we attempt to sit down to dinner I like to pull out my headphones and listen to my favourite music. I have recently discovered Simon and Garfunkel and I AM OBSESSED with them.
The sound of silence is a great song to put on and close your eyes to. I listen to each of their voices, listen how well their harmonies blend and how their voices gel and compliment each other so well.
It's at this point I can also check in with my own body. My heart beat, my breathing, the way my tummy rises and falls with each breath. I will relax my whole body throughout the course of that one song starting from my toes and working my way up to the very top of my head.
It's my own version of meditation and the closest (and most still!) I think I will ever get my mind and body to be.
Bubbles before bed.
A nice hot bath before I get in to bed feels like a real luxury to me. I'm not a fan of taking a shower in our current home as i swear the shower never gets hot enough. My husband disagrees!
A nice, hot bath (with or without bubbles) is a great way of unwinding after a long day and it's where I do most of my thinking about the day and also wrap everything up in my head to give me a fighting chance of falling a sleep each night.
In those moments, surrounded by the lovely hot water and delicately fragranced bubbles nothing is stressful or going wrong. Mindfulness bliss!
I hope today's blog has been helpful for you and also I hope that this blog has encouraged you to give mindfulness a go for yourself! Mindfulness doesn't have to be Yoga and meditation in the traditional sense.