Posts tagged mindfulness
Keeping your mom game Strong
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I killed it in the mom department yesterday. I literally sat in the bath typing this out on my phone because that’s how great of a day it was – it ended with actually having time for a bath.

My house was clean, my kids were happy, and there may have been a couple of toddler meltdowns, but I handled them like a champ. I got down to my tot’s level, I looked him in his eyes, and I empathized with his emotions. I told him I knew how hard it was to not get his way, and that I understood he was sad.

I tried to get him to do some deep breathing, but he refused, because #toddlers. But after that he recovered. I went to work, and kissed my infant good-bye with a smile on my face, and there were no tears from either of us.

I did work that I love, and I returned home to a happy baby. I even managed to have milk pumped and waiting in the fridge for grandma to feed her while I was away. #winning

I got home and I made a nice healthy dinner, did bath time, and got everyone to bed on time. I felt like a freakin rockstar! My mama rockstar status reigned so supreme, that I had time at the end of the night to unwind and take a bath myself.

By this point you may be wondering why I’m telling you this. And if you didn’t maintain your rockstar mama status today, you may even want to quit reading and/or punch me in the throat for gloating. Both of which I totally get, but I promise you there is a point to tooting my horn publicly, so stay with me ;)

I’m telling you this because this is NOT a typical day for me, and it really lead me to do some detective work into what caused such a freakish chain of events to occur in one single day.

Most days don’t end with me feeling like gloating. Most days end in exhaustion, and me falling asleep while nursing my baby, wishing that she’d hurry up so I can actually get into bed comfortably.

But on this rockstar mama day, as I sat in the bath and contemplated the difference between the oh-so-tired days, and this feeling of energy, it became clear to me what the difference was, and that’s what I want to share with you, mama.

The difference was my mindset. It started with mindfulness, and being intentional about my day. It took me all of 10 minutes to set myself up for success when I woke up in the morning.

I started my day with a 5-minute journaling exercise. The app is literally called, “The 5-Minute Journal.” I took the time to write out what I was thankful for, and what I planned to do in order to make the day great. I also typed out a few positive affirmations, and I carried all of this goodness with me throughout my day and sprinkled it around like pixy dust, and you know what? It worked!

By starting my day with intention, and being mindful throughout the day of those intentions I controlled my own mindset, and it made for some fantastic results.

On this very fine day, I journaled that I would be patient, be kind, and smile at strangers and those that I came into contact with.

I’m aware that this might sound cheesy, but I’m also aware of how easy it is to lose your shit as a mom. I’m aware of how easy it is to fall into comparison mode with all the moms you know on social media, and I’m aware of how easy it is to tell yourself what a crappy job you’re doing.

The good news is that it only takes a mindset shift, and that can happen at any moment you choose throughout your day, mama.

So while not all days end up being as fantastic as this one, when those days get challenging, I stop myself and remind myself of what my intention was at the beginning of the day, and I regroup, and restart.

I forgive myself for yelling back at my toddler, and I tell myself that things don’t have to be better tomorrow, they can in fact be better in the next hour.

On the really draining and not-so-good days, I don’t set any intentions, I don’t practice being mindful, and I don’t give myself grace. Those are the toughest days, and taking time to compare the two has created a new morning routine for me, one that almost always includes gratitude and intention.

What is one thing you do that makes a big difference in your day as a mom? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and you never know - your comment could just be the answer that another mama has been searching for!

Here’s to sharing the love, and all the tips and tricks, as we get through these longest shortest of days as moms.

If you need help shifting your mindset, being more intentional and mindful, you are not alone! In fact I have a group of some of the most amazing mamas who gather and work on lessening their anxiety, and those bad days. You can learn more about my group here

 
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Mindfulness for Moms
 
 

Mindfulness and meditation have become buzzwords lately. With the popularity of yoga and other Eastern-influenced practices that are becoming more mainstream, this skill is another valuable one to have in your arsenal as a parent.

Raising little ones is tough. I often feel like my head is going in a million different directions, and it’s not easy to run a business and a household at the same time. Little people have a way of reminding us that we can’t do everything all the time. That dissonance (the difference between your thoughts and actions) can cause some major anxiety, but mindfulness can help in so many ways.

What is mindfulness?

It’s pretty much what it sounds like. Mindfulness is bringing your attention to what’s happening in the present moment. This includes your internal experience as well as your external experience.

So why is this so helpful?

We have a way of going through life on autopilot. We can often be doing things without even recognizing what we are doing, and if you have an anxious mind it’s easy to be parenting and going through the motions but missing out on what’s really happening.

Have you ever been giving your baby a bath while simultaneously going through the list of things you need to get done after they go to bed?

The little moments that can be so precious are not savored because we simply aren’t present in them. I’m not saying you need to be present for every single moment of bath time, every day of the week – I’m currently writing this post while my 2-year old is splashing around in the tub, but a little bit goes a long way. 

I often think of a woman’s brain like a web browser with 100 tabs open at the top, and we toggle back and forth through each of those tabs at any given moment. It’s often difficult to stop and it can take over and create feelings of overwhelm because it can feel like it’s never ending.

Creating a new reality takes practice, and mindfulness is a practice much like yoga. The more you do it, the stronger that muscle will get – kind of like working any other muscle out at the gym.

Practicing Mindfulness

I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only mama who has experienced overwhelm and anxiety, and so I created the Mindful Mums Group where I teach mindfulness. Moms share their experiences and have a special place where they truly find that they are not alone. They gain the support they need to be open and honest about their struggles and their wins.

There is a ton of ways to practice mindfulness, but the easiest is to just pick a designated activity to start with. I like to do it while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea and I choose a time when my kids are asleep or out of the house.

From start to finish, challenge yourself to focus only on the task at hand and engage and pay attention to each of your senses.

While you are brewing your cup of coffee or tea, take the time to smell it as it seeps. While you’re pouring it into your cup, notice the aroma. Notice what the cup feels like in your hands, and take notice of the warmth.

As you take a sip, do it slowly, and notice what it feels like when it first enters your mouth, as it sits on your tongue, and as it goes down your throat and into your stomach.

Drink the entire cup slowly, engaging your senses each time you take a sip. This entire exercise may take 15 minutes. But when was the last time you truly enjoyed a cup of coffee? Mine usually sits on the table and gets cold by time I get to it.

You can do this with anything you’d like, a glass of juice or water, a piece of fruit, or toast.

Once you’ve done this exercise you can translate it to any other activity in your life, including those moments with your little ones that you know you should be more present for. While giving a bath, close those tabs in your brain’s browser and engage your senses. What does the water feel like? What do the bubbles look and smell like? What do your kiddos giggles sound like? Engage in play, give some extra kisses after the bath, sing a song, and be present.

It’s not always easy and I’ve had my fair share of rushed baths full of tears and tantrums, but when I go into the process with the mindset that I want to be present, things seem to turn out so much better.

Often times the stress comes in when we feel overwhelmed with the to-do list in our minds, and feel as though what we are presently doing is just one more thing on that list, which makes it difficult to enjoy.

Mindfulness is a practice. It takes time to implement any kind of change, and support goes a long way. If you’re interested in learning more about Mindful Mums, click HERE. We currently have a few spots open for our upcoming 4-week session, which begins February 10, 2017. 

#100HappyDays How a social media challenge can help you heal from Heartbreak

The other day I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, and saw my friend’s picture of her with her kids. I glanced at the hastag, #100HappyDays. I have seen it before, and I’m sure you have too. But can we really have 100 happy days in a row?

When you’re in the midst of a face-down moment (yes, I’ve been reading a lot of Brene Brown lately), going through a break-up, or trying to get back on your feet after a devastating life-altering event, it can be difficult to see anything aside from pain and sadness.

I totally get that, and it’s totally ok to hide under the covers and pretend the world doesn’t exist for a little while. But aren’t those covers amazing? Who doesn’t love the comfort of their warm bed after a long day? Those sheets were totally worth the splurge! My point is, there’s a silver lining in everything, and a challenge like #100HappyDays or other social media challenges can help you see that.

After seeing my friend’s post, I decided to do a little research. I googled #100happydays, and it lead me to a website where you can join the challenge. For 100 days, you take a snapshot of something that makes you happy.

And while you may be having a horrible day, and feeing so much hurt and sadness over the loss of your relationship, no one’s day is entirely crappy and a challenge like this can help you to see at least one positive thing in your life each day.

It may be the warm cup of tea at the end of the day, a beautiful flower or sunset you catch a glimpse of on your way to or from work, a snuggle with your cat or dog, or the new cute running shoes you added to your workout wardrobe.

These are all small things, but when we practice gratitude, and are mindful about those things that makes us smile, it can add up to big changes in our lives.

The other great thing about a social media challenge is that it brings about a sense of community and accountability. A while back one of my cousins was doing the #100happydays challenge, and I came to look forward to her happy post each day, and if she wasn’t able to post something for a day, the following day I’d see comments asking what happened to the previous day’s post.

There are other great social media challenges with various focuses, recently I saw someone doing a #FlowerADay challenge, and a facebook group I’m a part of did a 30 day passion challenge where everyone picked something they were passionate about doing more of. Another great example of this was my colleague’s #FitLifeJust1 challenge where everyone posted one thing they were doing to get healthier each day.

Finding a challenge that has a meaningful focus for you can help get you out of a funk, and help you to notice something positive in each day with others there to support you.

As author, Naomi Williams says, “It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment."

Have you participated in a social media challenge? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Did you gain any unexpected benefits from participating?