Image source: Get Some Headspace
It’s funk-time alright. Snowsuit struggles, mealplan mayhem, and whining woes have made us more than a little cranky. Throw in a teething baby, CRA frustrations, and a birthday party to plan and, well, it ain’t pretty. But the snow has melted, the sun is shining and spring has sprung. Now if only we’d stop complaining long enough to notice.
Nope, not talking about chocolate. Although that colourful bowl of treats would help temporarily, we know the fix would be only that, temporary. Despite what our children say, band-aids don’t help unless you’re actually bleeding.
Proper nutrition, fitness, and sleep are critical to our well-being. But there’s another essential element often overlooked: mindfulness. This means being present – focussing on what you’re doing in the moment you’re doing it, allowing your mind to stop multi-tasking and calm down. There are times we need cerebral distractions (for example, when our personal trainer is kicking our butt), but the rest of the time? It’s just noise. It doesn’t make sense to worry about when the heck we’ll bake the party cupcakes during the school run – we could be listening to our son’s stories instead of tuning him out and the resulting conversation would be awesome! It’d be easy if we had a switch to turn those nagging thoughts off, but we don’t. So, what to do?
Meditate. Ever tried to meditate and given up out of frustration because your mind kept wandering? Yup, us too. But if you’re loyal goop subscribers like we are (okay, one of us is), you’ve probably heard about Get Some Headspace. Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk with a degree in Circus Arts (no, really!) began Headspace on a mission to make meditation fun, easy, and sustainable. And he (and his team) succeeded! Check out the app, read the book* and then carve out time in your busy schedule to breathe, peeps.
The second M we’re talking about? Moderation. Trying to do anything to the extreme is a set-up for failure, guilt, and despair. Working out every day and never eating dessert? Pshaw. Not sustainable long-term and when you fall off the wagon you’ll be less motivated to try at all. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right? The same can be said for all protein and no carbs, or all gym and no chill, or all blank and no opposite-blank. Do you want to end up like Jack Torrance, chasing your family through an icy maze??? So enjoy that cupcake, bagel, coffee avec crème (gasp!), wine, downtime, all of it – in moderation. Even when we meditate we do it in moderation: Andy recommends first thing in the morning sitting upright in a chair. We do it in bed before going to sleep (well, technically it’s usually as we’re drifting off). But it’s still the best sleep ever!
Sometimes, we need a kick in the pants to shake that pity-party. If all else fails, fake a good mood. Pretending will often turn your frown upside down long enough for you to forget it’s an act. Our almost-four-year-old stealthily negotiated a treacherous climber successfully only to trip and fall as he walked away. Knowing he was okay, I forced a chuckle, which made him pause before complaining (he’s been in his own funk lately, but that’s a CRUNCH for another day). Smelling victory, I upped my chuckle into a laugh, which made him laugh, which made me laugh harder. Buh-bye bad mood.
When you’re stuck in a cycle of negativity, it helps to simplify by getting back to basics. Breathing is about as basic as it gets. Besides, it could ALWAYS be worse. At least it’s not November.
*We’ve mentioned this before but, no time to read? Audiobooks people! You can find tons at the library and if you place a hold they’ll even deliver to your branch!