Mindful Monday: 35 Things I’ve Learned

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I turned 35 last week. I have mixed feelings about that. My mom’s funeral was on my 30th birthday so I have bittersweet emotions about the day in general and both my parents only lived to be 65 so one tends to put things in perspective. That aside I’d like to think that I’ve learned a thing or two over the years so I’d like to share 35 lessons I’ve come to understand.

  1. Laugh loud and often
  2. You’re not a special snowflake/unicorn/mermaid
  3. Your pet thinks you are a special snowflake/unicorn/mermaid so spoil them rotten
  4. You’ll have lots of geographical friends throughout your life based on living in a common place, working at the same company, or going to school together. You won’t have as tight of a relationship with many of them after you’re no longer a part of the same place or situation and it’s okay. We only have so much energy for deep relationships.
  5. You will have a few relationships that transcend being in the same location or situation and those people are the most precious. Don’t take them for granted.
  6.  Never wear white if you plan on drinking coffee or eating anything red that day. It will end up on your clothes.
  7. Worry less about the size of the dress or number on the scale than how you feel in your skin.
  8. When your mind is all over the place and hard to listen to listen to your body instead.
  9. You will always be your harshest critic.
  10. Learn to be comfortable with alone time.
  11. Don’t trust people who give compliments or critiques too freely before they’ve gotten to know you.
  12. Knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do want.
  13. It’s okay if you don’t want things that society tells you that you should want.
  14. Watch less TV and spend more time outside.
  15. Instead of focusing on what you perceive as your shortcomings be grateful for what you see as blessings.
  16. Say I love you often to the people you care about.
  17. You don’t always have to say yes.
  18. Eat more vegetables.
  19. Kindness and compassion are contagious so pass them on.
  20. Do what you love since you’ll spend most of your week at work.
  21. If you learn something from the experience it wasn’t a mistake.
  22. Be generous and not too proud to ask for help when you need it.
  23. Find a hobby or activity you love and don’t worry about being the best at it.
  24. Face your fears in order to conquer them.
  25.  Walk often and wear good shoes.
  26. Appreciate the little things in life that bring you joy.
  27. Learn from the past, plan for the future, but live in the present.
  28. People think about you way less than you think they do so don’t worry so much about impressing them.
  29. Get more sleep.
  30. The only person’s approval you should worry about is your own.
  31. Don’t settle.
  32. Treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend.
  33. Fit in the things that are most important to you each day, if they’re truly important you’ll find the time.
  34. Never stop learning.
  35. Never stop loving.

Mindful Monday: Evening Rituals

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Last week I wrote about some rituals I try to practice every morning. I thought I’d also share some things I do to wind down most evenings.

1.  Light Movement: Some people love to work out right before bed and others find that it keeps them awake. I fall somewhere in between. If I do an intense workout like running or something with weights I have too much adrenaline and end up not sleeping well. I do find that a bit of low-intensity exercise helps me wind down. I usually mix it up between going for a walk, restorative yoga, and light cardio.

2. Aloe Water: I drink a glass of water with a table spoon of aloe juice and a few drops of liquid chlorophyll. It’s supposedly good for your skin and I do find that I have had much less insomnia since adopting this practice.

3. Meditate: This was not something that was an easy practice for me to adopt since my mind loves to race but this helps me calm my brain down before bedtime. I started off with guided meditations which I still sometimes do but lately, I’ve taken to choosing mantras that speak to me and saying them to myself using with a Japa Mala.

4. Journal: Unlike morning pages journaling is more personal and I can go back and reflect on passages later on. If I don’t know what to write I draw a zen tangle as my entry instead. Sometimes I write a bit and also include a zen tangle.

5. Audiobooks: Sometimes I’m so tired I know I’ll fall asleep when I hit my pillow but typically that isn’t the case. I’ve found that playing an audio book and setting the sleep time on Audible is great for me. I play a book I’ve finished in the past so that way it’s something familiar that is just providing white noise.

 

Mindful Monday: Rituals

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This week I’m focusing on rituals. The word ritual is a bit loaded since it holds a number of connotations and my association with the word has changed over time. Growing up I associated the term ritual as something you did in an organized religion during a high holiday or weekly ceremony. Over the years I’ve come to feel that a ritual is something that you can practice in the privacy of your own home and doesn’t always have to have a spiritual connection to it.

For me, ritual is a replacement for the word routine. I have a dislike of too much routine because it makes me feel like I’m in a rut. However building daily and weekly rituals has been a good practice in finding balance. Yes there are some days and weeks when I’m rushed and I don’t fit everything I want to in my day and I try not to stress out about that, but if I go too long without a routine I’ve come to find value in, its absence is felt.

I’ll be exploring specific rituals that I’ve adopted through the course of this week. Do you have any rituals that you’ve taken on?

Mindful Monday: 21 Day Goddess Workout

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So in the past, I’ve talked about my struggles with weight and body image. I eventually had lap band surgery and that along with exercise worked well for me. I wrote that I had some complications at the end of last year which resulted in having to have my lap band removed.

These past almost six months have been a real struggle for me. I had gained some weight prior to my lap band being removed and gained some more after my second surgery. I really want to get to a place where the number on the scale and the size on the pair of jeans don’t matter. It really shouldn’t. What should matter is being healthy and feeling good. Mid spring I wasn’t there. I was feeling sluggish and tired and wasn’t in a good head space at all.

For me, food and weight is a slippery slope. I have the tendency to obsess about everything I eat and sometimes undereat because I feel like I need to “discipline” myself. I wish the concept of just eat what you feel like worked for me but it really doesn’t. I needed to find a plan that worked for me.

That’s how I discovered the 21 Day Goddess Workout through Daily Om. The program which was developed by Jannie Murry is part fitness, part nutrition plan, and part mindfulness. For me, this was exactly what I needed it is a three-week low sugar, low carb, and alcohol-free plan. These are all foods I know are triggers for me. The exercise plan is cardio and yoga focused.

I lost weight and inches which I’ve managed to keep off so far but more importantly, I am starting to feel more energy and pep again. I liked this program so much that I am now starting Jannie Murry’s 8 Week Body Makeover which is also through Daily Om. It’s a similar program but has more complex carbs included in the nutrition plan and strength training/toning exercises. I’m not where I want to be physically or mindset wise yet, but I’m getting there slowly.

Bath Time

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Yesterday I kicked off this kindness series and wanted to start off with a small act of self-love. Self-care and attention seem to be the last thing that many of us focus on when it should really be the first. When we so ourselves a little kindness and compassion it opens us up to giving that to others too.

One little thing I’ve been doing for myself lately is a nightly ritual of taking a bath and doing a little restorative yoga before bed. I spend less than thirty minutes on this little act but it winds down my day and quiets my hyperactive mind so I can sleep better. This little act feels luxurious because I use bath salts with different fragrances. Epson and mineral salts are great for soothing the body. Here are a few of my favorites depending on my mood.

Balancing Soak by Soothing Touch: This blend of oils is great for clarity and mental focus. I like using this the night before a big meeting. It’s probably just a placebo effect, but it makes me feel good so who cares.

Eucalyptus by Aura Cacia Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus is refreshing and soothing. It’s a great oil to use for hand and foot massages too.

Namaste by Botania: This blend is spicy and citrusy. I discovered this company on a trip to the farmers market in Montreal. Their website is opening an online store in the near future so hopefully, I’ll be able to stock up before my next trip to Canada.

Nighty Night by EO: Nothing gets you ready for bed like chamomile and lavender. This is perfect after a particularly stressful day. If bathing salts aren’t your thing they also have the same fragrance in bubble bath form.

Sweet Honey Almond Froth Bomb by Pacha Soap Company: This is pure lux and my skin feels so silky smooth after a bath. I don’t get this often because it’s a little pricey, but when I feel like treating myself it’s a great reward.

Do you have a self-care ritual you love?

Mindful Monday: Kindness

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Kindness is such a simple concept yet when you read the news or tune into what is happening in politics it feels absent. I think kindness is something everyone could use a little more of and it doesn’t have to be in the form of grand or mass gestures. Think about it if we just spent a little more time on being kinder to ourselves, others, and this planet those little acts of individual love could snowball into something a lot bigger and more impactful.

You can accuse me of being a Pollyanna, but be honest when you see a friend or stranger in an act of pure kindness doesn’t fill your heart and inspire you to do the same? For the next couple of weeks, I have a number of posts coming up centered around kindness because I think we’re all wanting a lot more of it at this particular time.

Mindful Mondays: Healing Teas

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Admittedly I’ve always been a coffee girl, but over the years I’ve found an appreciation for the other hot beverage…tea.  Tea offers a bit more variety when it comes to taste and flavor compared to java.  Another benefit to tea is the health perks.  Here are some I’ve discovered over the years:

Acid Reducer: I used to suffer from acid reflux and when I’d have a flare-up certain things I loved like chocolate and coffee were off limits because they end up making me feel worse. Many people with reflux or GERD find that tea also upsets them, but when I was dealing with this ailment I found that low caffeine tea was easy on my stomach and prevented me from having caffeine withdraw headaches. I still drink low caffeine teas in the afternoon and evenings when I’m looking for a little pick me up but don’t want something that will keep me up all night. 

My favorite low caffeine teas are:  Zen by Tazo, Ginger Peach by Republic of Tea, Monkey Picked White by The Tea Spot

Cramp Relief: Mint tea is great when it comes to cramp relief. During my cycle, I always have it on hand. In the winter months, I sip on hot peppermint tea throughout the day. Once the temperature rises I make pitchers of iced Moroccan mint tea. 

Mint teas I love: Peppermint by Celestial Seasonings, Mint Verbena by Harley and Sons, Armenian Mint by Argo

Sore Throat Aid:  There are a variety of teas I drink when I’m suffering from a cough or have lost my voice. Black tea with honey and lemon is the standby. However, there are a number of herbal teas that are also great aids when under the weather.  

My go to’s for a sore throat are: Throat Comfort by Yogi, Liquorice and Mint by Teapigs, and Red Rose Original by Red Rose

Stress Reducer:  An afternoon cup of herbal tea is a great stress reliever. Several months ago I purchased a cast iron teapot for the meditation area in my bedroom. I’ve made enjoying some tea at the end of a yoga practice or when I’m curled up in my reading chair a ritual.  I gravitate towards floral fragrances I love. I also look for caffeine-free or low caffeine varieties when it comes to sipping for stress reduction.  

Stress relief teas I adore include: Earl Grey Lavender by Adagio, Pure Camomile by Twinings, and Jasmine Blossom by Stash