In my first blog, I shared with you the main reason (but not the only reason – watch out for future blogs on the other two reasons) behind starting Happy Headspace. This time last year I came to realise that I wasn’t coping very well at all after the birth of my third child, and I was in fact suffering from postnatal depression. It was in the months following this I then started on my journey with mindfulness.
In starting to become more mindful myself; taking time to look after my self (self-care), beginning yoga classes and getting so much from the ‘moment of calm’ at the end of each session, that I started to realise perhaps there could be something to this whole mindfulness lark after all…
In starting Happy Headspace I knew I wanted to share my journey with you. Over the last couple of months on my twitter and facebook pages I have been sharing interesting articles and ideas on how to incorporate more mindfulness techniques into our lives, with the ultimate end goal of improving our overall mental health. Being more mindful has helped me in so many ways over the last year; not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Trying my best to be fully ‘in the moment’, taking everything in, the good, the bad and the ugly! Stepping away from my phone or devices and enjoying the craziness that is my house at times. Trying my best to enjoy my children being so little, even through the sleepless nights, tantrums and constant clutter! It won’t be like this forever and I don’t want to have wished my life away in the mean time.
It’s now your turn! I would love to know ways in which you incorporate mindfulness into your life. Over the next four weeks I will be using the hashtag #MoreMindful to share ways in which myself, my husband and my children are striving to become more mindful in our lives.
Week 1 – Taking some time out to gather your thoughts
One way I have found to easily incorporate more mindfulness into my day is by taking some time out, even if only for a few minutes. Each day I purposefully switch my laptop or television off, put my phone to one side and take a moment to just be. Concentrating on how I feel in that moment, the sounds I can hear and the sights I can see around me. This can be done in many ways, for example; enjoying a coffee with a friend, gazing out of the window and acknowledging what you see and hear, watching intently as your children play, the list goes on. The point is though that you try your best to be totally in the moment, not thinking about what is for tea, which job is next to complete on the to do list, simply immersed in that precise moment.
Week 2 – Meditation
This week I want to try out some meditative activities. Meditation does not have to be sitting cross-legged chanting ‘ohm’, instead it can be any activity where you totally switch off and immerse yourself completely. It is a practice of focusing your attention in order to clear the mind.
In the past I have found running to be a fantastic form of meditation. The time outdoors on my own, thinking only about my breath, the way the road feels under my feet and the rhythm of running itself. My mum swears by sewing to switch off. She probably doesn’t realise that she is in fact meditating while she is so engrossed in her work (as say work, it isn’t work at all, more her passion in life). Again this is due to the focused attention such activities require. The same is true for colouring and painting which can be seen in the huge new trend of mindfulness colouring books.
So this week, I would like you to share with me your hobbies, past times, the things you do to truly switch off and relax.
Week 3 – Digital Detox
Smart phones, Ipads, laptops – they are all a huge part of our daily lives now. Everyone wants to stay connected (myself included) and in doing so feels the need to regularly check their social media feeds, switch on the television rather than read a book or quickly check their work emails at 10 o’clock at night. There is only so much of this we can take as humans, evolutionarily speaking we are not built to be this switched on all of the time.
For this week’s #moremindful challenge, I would like to take time away from our devices as a family. This will include putting my phone aside for a certain length of time or spending an evening reading as opposed to being glued to Netflix. I will also monitor the amount of time my children spend on their devices. I am quite strict with them anyway during the week but then a lot more relaxed at weekends. As a family we need to get outside more rather than simply watching TV. Some days it’s good to have a relaxing day indoors (especially when the weather is miserable outside) but this does not have to be spent in front of the TV! We will spend more time doing jigsaws, reading books and being creative which I know they will absolutely love.
Again, I would love you to get involved and try having a digital detox of your own. It does not have to be for the whole week, or even a whole day, but perhaps a few hours at the weekend? Whatever works best for you. I’d love to hear how you get on with this and whether you feel any different for taking some time away from your devices.
Week 4 – Mindful exercise
This final week I would like to know which physical activities you do that incorporate mindfulness. For example, are you an avid yogi? Or do you enjoy walking or running outdoors to heighten your mindful awareness? I have tried yoga in the past and can totally appreciate its benefits for both the body and the mind. Life got in the way though and I didn’t continue my practice so this week I will be joining in with a local yoga class and also donning my running shoes to get back to my running. I would love to hear all about the physical activities you enjoy to become #moremindful.
How to get involved
Each week I’d love it if you could share any moments you may have that tie in with our theme each week, using the hashtag #MoreMindful. It would also be great if you could tag me on my Happy Headspace social media pages;
or post to my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/HeadspaceNE
I look forward to hearing about all of your mindful moments, while we all try to become a little #moremindful.