Mindful May is here and it's hit me like no other May. My oldest graduates from high school this month and will be in another state come fall. No doubt his absence will be felt as we go about our daily schedules and the ebb and flow that is life. Yes it's a natural part of life. I recognize that as a mother my job is teach my children how to live a fruitful and expansive life without my every day presence but hopefully with my continued guidance. As hard as it is to get used to, it's a part of life and truthfully I don't want a forty year old living in my basement!
As present as I try to be, I don't always hit the mark, and more than usual, I've noticed it lately. All the little things that we've missed. The cooking lessons, how to put on a tie (we got this one), sewing a button. Here's the thing about teens. You have to take the opportunities when they come and sometimes they come at the most inopportune times. Do you stop putting out the fires and give your undivided attention? YES! Do it friend because these days are so short and your loved ones aren't with you forever.
The perfect example happened last week with a martial arts uniform that ripped during practice. He thought he needed a new uniform, but all it needed was a good stitch. He actually asked, "Can you show me how to sew it up?" In my head I thought--WHAT? Is this boy really asking me to teach him the basics of sewing? So we sat together knee to knee, threading the needle, making the knot and stitching it up. I secretly loved it!
The time we have with our kids is so very short before we have to start sharing them with the world. Our influence can be profound or minor. It's up to you and how present you decide to be. That got me thinking about Mindful May. Am I making an impact where it counts most?
I love my career, health coaching, and my "me" time. I had to take a sincere temperature check. At this space and time when I know I'm running out of it with my oldest-- Am I giving the BEST of me or what's LEFT of me? I've been feeling a bit depleted in a few of my life accounts lately. I haven't been putting in daily deposits that can accrue interest.
When stressors hit that stress takes withdrawals from ALL accounts, it can leave you feeling bankrupt, exhausted, and depleted. We often make the mistake of thinking: "I'm only being hit in one area." In reality, all life accounts suffer when you're hit with a sleepless night, major life stress, or anything else that can take withdrawals. That's when your VIPs end up getting the rest of you instead of the best.
Let's take an example of a sleepless night. You wake up exhausted and your cognitive abilities are diminished. Your hunger hormones are off so you are hungrier than normal. Your cortisol is higher leading to belly fat. You're too tired to be fully present with your family, coworkers, or friends. Your mood is affected so you're grumpy. Every single life account gets docked with ONE sleepless night. Now imagine several stressors all at once. How full are your life accounts? We can take a few hits when our accounts are full and come out relatively unscathed. We can get right back on track. However; when you're starting off depleted, it's a quick trip to emotional bankruptcy, burnout, and trouble.
What does it mean to live a Mindful life? It means being aware and living into your values. It means making every single day count so there are no regrets. This is so much easier said than done. It takes a commitment to re-evaluate the way you're living daily. It means taking account of those daily deposits and knowing what's most important to you.
Is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness is using all of your senses to bring you back to the present moment. According to mindful.org, Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Mindfulness is a quality that every human being already possesses, it’s not something you have to conjure up, you just have to learn how to access it. Mindfulness takes all your senses: smell, touch, hearing, taste, vision and brings you back to now. It can be a form of meditation.
When should you use it?
✨Next time you feel overwhelmed.
✨When you have a big decision to make.
✨When you feel like you're out of balance.
✨Every morning before the day begins.
✨Every night before bed.
All the answers are already within you. Your mind and body are so intimately connected that what we think impacts how we feel and how we feel impacts how we behave.
How do you use it?
Find a quiet space. Get into a comfortable seated position. Take three big belly breaths. Gently close your eyes and ask yourself: What do I smell right now? What do the clothes on my body feel like? What am I hearing right now? What taste to do I have in my mouth?
As a busy career minded women, it's easy to get caught up in putting out the fires, taking care of business, and the busy-ness of day to day. It's good to have an entire month dedicated to Mindfulness. Re-connect with yourself in May, get grounded and realize the goodness that surrounds you.
If you're finding it difficult to get started, take the short Mental Load Quiz and discover where you need to focus, gain life hacks to make it simple, and relief to begin to spend more time on what truly matters.
Cheers to Mindful May!