We’re coming up on a new year, which means most people are thinking about how they would like to improve their lives, myself included. In 2020, I chose to focus on different areas of my life, from mediation and journaling to taking vitamins and ensuring I kept a clean house all while keeping my mental health at the focus. Next year, I’m going to continue working on my mental health, but I’m also going to start working more on my relationships with my family and friends.Continue reading “Planning for Presence in 2021”
2020 was an…interesting year. It was a year full of hardhsips and victories. Losing control and gaining a new sense of freedom. As the year comes to an end, I’d like to take time to reflect on what this year has meant to me and why I’m glad that it happened (and that it’s ending).
2020 was an…interesting year. It was a year full of hardhsips and victories. Losing control and gaining a new sense of freedom. As the year comes to an end, I’d like to take time to reflect on what this year has meant to me and why I’m glad that it happened (and that it’s ending).Continue reading “Reflecting on the Hardships and Accomplishments of 2020”
There are many reasons to declutter your house, especially if you have children. In this post, I discuss some of the blog posts and life experiences that finally pushed me into decluttering my home, ultimately making it a nicer place to live in.Continue reading “The Beginning of My Decluttering Journey”
My Meditation Journey
I started meditating on March 11, 2020 as a way to help me quiet my mind enough to fall asleep. My goal was to do 10 minutes of mediation every night before bed. In the beginning, the meditation helped so much that I was asleep before the guided meditation ended, but the more I practiced (and the more sleep I got), the better I became at staying awake through the entire meditation.
I started with the Navigating Change course on the Headspace App. I’ve moved on to many other courses since then, and with each new course that I take, I learn more and more about who I truly am. (Meditation is not the only thing that has helped me in this way, journaling and going to therapy have also been huge for me.)
- The goal of meditation is not to maintain a quiet mind, but to notice when the mind has wandered and bring it back.
Before I started meditating, a friend explained that oftentimes beginners of meditation become frustrated by the fact that they can’t maintain a quiet mind throughout the entire meditation (or they won’t start meditating because they don’t think they can maintain this stillness). She said for her, it was easier to look at meditation as an exercise – when you notice your mind wandering and you can bring it back, that’s like doing a rep during a workout. The more times you can notice your brain wandering, the stronger you become.
What this translates to outside of your meditation practice, is being able to take a step back and notice your thoughts and feelings as you’re experiencing them, ultimately creating the space you need to become less reactive.
- Nothing is permanent. Everything is changing all the time. (Even our thoughts and feelings.)
This lesson came from the Navigating Change course on the Headspace App and it was very difficult for me to learn. Change has always been challenging for me, both positive and negative change, so surrendering to the idea that nothing is permanent gave me the uncomfortable feeling that I had no control over anything. After going through the course (twice), that fear slowly faded and what was left in its place was a feeling of freedom.
In some ways, the freedom that I felt was a freedom from the “rules” that I had placed on myself long ago. I used to be the type of person who would get stuck in a bad mood simply because I wouldn’t allow myself to feel better – I would relive whatever upset me the rest of the day, if not for weeks. I would also “stay the course” on something that didn’t make me happy simply because I didn’t want to look wishy-washy. But by accepting that things change (and that it’s completely normal and acceptable) I was able to break away from those rigid ways of thinking and lean into happiness.
- It’s not our thoughts and feelings that are the problem. It’s our thoughts about our thoughts and feelings that cause us pain.
We cannot control our thoughts and feelings. They just come and go, whether we want them to or not. Often, they’re conditioned responses from our past experiences. We can’t control them, and yet, when the thoughts or feelings we experience are negative, we berate ourselves for it or we feel guilt or shame. Through meditation, I’m beginning to learn how to let these initial thoughts and feelings go (or exist) without adding extra thoughts and feeling onto them. In her book Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life, Susan David mentions how we can spiral into these feelings, so please, if you’re trying to let go and you notice that you’re feeling guilt or shame about a thought or feeling, do not add more guilt or shame onto it. Simply notice it and let it go.
- Difficult moments are easier to move through when we center ourselves in the present.
This lesson comes from an experience I had shortly after I started meditating. I was having a particularly hard time at work and woke up in the middle of the night to an anxiety attack. I recalled things I did during mediation as well as ideas I had learned from Emotional Agility: I labeled my experience as “thinking” and “feeling”, focused on what was happening in my body (heart racing, breathing short and quick), and noted that the thought which caused the anxiety attack was a thought about the future, it wasn’t real. Almost instantly my anxiety was gone and I was able to go back to sleep.
There are many different ways to recenter yourself when you’re having a difficult time. I think the most popular is the 5-4-3-2-1 method. Other things that I’ve found helpful is journaling and/or going for a walk. Of course, there’s also meditation. The Headspace app has SOS meditations on feeling overwhelmed, panicking, feeling flustered, and more.
I have learned so much from meditation over the last year. I honestly believe that I wouldn’t be as far as I am today if I hadn’t introduced this habit into my life. It isn’t always easy of course, there have been times when I have to take a step back and reevaluate my goals with meditation and times when I was just too tired to meditate, but all in all, this has been one of the most helpful habits that I’ve created over the last year. If you’re feeling lost, this is definitely one place I recommend starting.
If none of these apps work for you, you can also search YouTube to find what works best for you!
We are 2 weeks into this new habit! This week was fairly uneventful – mostly because I spent the latter half of the week away from home as we were visiting family for Thanksgiving. While I was home, I found it very easy to complete this habit…almost too easy.
We are 2 weeks into this new habit! This week was fairly uneventful – mostly because I spent the latter half of the week away from home as we were visiting family for Thanksgiving. While I was home, I found it very easy to complete this habit…almost too easy.Continue reading “Can a Small Habit be Too Small Pt. II: My Self-destructive Tendencies (10 Minute Clean-up Habit, Update #2)”
We are one week into this new habit of cleaning the house for 10 minutes every day. This week went pretty well; we complete 5/7 days. Here are some of the challenges and benefits that we experienced this week…
Hello and happy Monday, everyone! We are one week into this new habit of cleaning the house for 10 minutes every day. This week went pretty well; we complete 5/7 days (so not perfect, but not bad).Continue reading “Challenges and Benefits of the 10 Minute Clean Up Habit (Update #1)”
Today is an exciting day, because we are introducing a new habit! I always love starting a new habit. It’s a new chance to learn, grow, and get closer to the me that I want to be. It’s also a new challenge, which is great…most of the time. For this 90 days, we are creating a habit of cleaning the house for 10 minutes a day.
Hello, everyone! Today is an exciting day, because we are introducing a new habit! I always love starting a new habit. It’s a new chance to learn, grow, and get closer to the me that I want to be. It’s also a new challenge, which is great…most of the time. For this 90 days, we are creating a habit of cleaning the house for 10 minutes a day. I say “we” because this one is going to be a family effort, which is also exciting!
Why I Chose this HabitContinue reading “Introduction to the 10 Minute Clean Up Habit”
In March of 2020, I hadn’t worked on my habits in nearly a year and I felt like it was time to get back on track…
Where I’ve been these Past 18 Months
It’s been 18 months since I last made a post to this blog. And what an 18 months it has been. My last post, Take Time to Reflect When Building Habits, was written in May of 2019. That was also the month that I found out I was pregnant with my second child, Willow. That pregnancy was hard on me and my family right from the beginning, derailing my self-improvement journey. During that time, I suffered physical and mental pain, leaving me disheartened and depressed.Continue reading “Getting Back on Track”
Hi everyone! It’s May, 5 months into the year, 5 months into my habit building journey. This morning, after wondering where the last 5 months had gone, I began to feel a bit down. I felt like I had been working on this one habit for such a long time. I knew it would take a while, but 5 months with another month to go seemed like such a long time. I began to feel like I would never get to the person that I want to be. These, unfortunately, are some of the negative thoughts that you experience when you’re trying to change your life. At this moment, I realized that I needed to take a moment and reflect on these last 5 months. Had I really wasted my time or was this just my insecurities creeping through? Here were some observations from my reflection:Continue reading “Take Time to Reflect When Building Habits (Habit #3, Update #4)”
I’m beginning to feel like my small habit might be too small. I’ve been doing it for 20 days now and I’m beginning to feel restless, like there’s more that I could be doing. Deja vu…
We’re one-third of the way there guys! Officially just hit the 20 day mark.
Issues that came up during the week
Last week we didn’t have any issues, so we talked about how one small habit can lead to bigger changes. Despite having just talked about that, I’m beginning to feel like my small habit might be too small. I’ve been doing it for 20 days now and I’m beginning to feel restless, like there’s more that I could be doing. Deja vu to the beginning of the year anyone? I don’t want to ignore this feeling, but I don’t want to keep making the same mistakes over and over again, so I decided to hit the books…web pages…and find out what I can do to help alleviate this feeling. Check out what I found!Continue reading “Can a Small Habit be too Small?”