Before you close this tab and say “this spiritual junk is not for me”, give us 2 minutes of your undivided attention. That is the direction health and wellness is going, “undivided”…on your “self”, the whole self, including the body, mind, and breath.
Take a moment where you are, sitting or standing, and close your eyes (but first, read this). Let your shoulders relax. Without trying to change anything, just witness the body as it is. How do your feet feel? Is one slightly in front of the other? How are your knees and hips? Are they soft and tension free, or locked out and activated? Is your core engaged or resting comfortably? Are you clenching your teeth?
How is your breath? Is it up high in your chest and neck, or deep in your belly? How does it feel to breathe all the way down and just let it go?
That is mindfulness. Just witnessing. Not changing and not judging. Because how can we change if we do not know where we are right now?
So when you are doing 15 reps on the leg press machine, how is your breath? When you are driving 45 minutes to work, where is your head relative to the rest of your body? When you open a bag of potato chips, are you actually hungry?
Becoming mindful takes no extra time, just one thought; “Be present now”. This practice will improve your exercise routine, decrease areas of any present pain, and improve the totality of your emotional and social systems.
The holiday times can be extremely busy, with our personal health taking the back burner. You absolutely should enjoy the tastefulness of the holiday season, however here are some ways to incorporate mindfulness.
- Try eating distraction free. No phones, no TV, no computers. Enjoy the company you are with, or do this alone! Really taste the food. Chew it up and feel the texture. What sensations come up? What do you enjoy about this food (or maybe not enjoy?) Be a food critic and taste all the flavors.
- Take a moment to breathe, and put your fork down! Too often are we are eating on the go and cannot shovel food in quick enough, but in those moments where you can sit down (which should be at least 1x a day), breathe in between each bite.
- Change up the physical act of eating; flip your fork upside down or switch hands. This allows you to get out of your robotic routines and get the brain working. You can even change the utensil; chop sticks take a lot more time to eat carbo-loaded rice.
- Remember that eating is a gift and a process to fuel our selves for our day. We are lucky to have an abundance of food in this country. Appreciate every bite you take, and that act of kindness within your own self will spread to those you interact with.
We hope this helps you relax a little and take some time for you this busy holiday season. Remember to be thankful for everything you DO have and enjoy your loved ones and those little moments. Breathe it in and be present. Have a happy & healthy holiday season!