The first Monday Mindfulness post of the year! And, as many of us are working hard on keeping our resolutions, it couldn’t come at a better time. After doing some reflection on what the next year looks like for my little blog, I decided I was going to change up the format of my Monday Mindfulness posts. Instead of sharing inspiring articles from around the web, I’m going to share personal experiences. It could be something that happened that changed my perspective, a new thing I’ve tried, a podcast, song, movie that inspired me. Instead of reading articles about wellness & mindfulness, I’m actually going to DO something about it! To start things off, I started meditating.
My initial struggle was where do I even BEGIN? I can barely get through a yoga class, how can I possibly get myself to sit down and commit to meditating every day?! We all say we’re too busy, and I felt the same way. I was also unsure about what exactly I was supposed to do. Do I just sit there and breathe deeply? #clueless. That’s why I decided to download Simple Habit, a meditation app “for busy people”. I figured, well, if all I need to do is put my headphones on and press play, it can’t be that bad?
The app has a ton of free guided meditations available, so I dug into the starter series, which required 5 minutes a day. I thought I’d benefit most from meditating in the AM, since I typically wake up and check my email immediately. That’s usually about the time the stress kicks in, as I mentally go through all the things I need to tackle that day. Instead of going straight to my inbox, I started my day with a five minute meditation…and here’s what happened.
It’s been a while! Sorry, I was in Paris celebrating my 30th birthday last weekend (not sorry, haha). So here I am, after being MIA for a week or so, now in a new decade of life. I was filling out a form today for something that required me to put my age…plugging in the number 30 was a weird yet comforting sensation. It feels right, so why is it so strange to say that number out loud? It will take some getting used to! I’ll of course be sharing more on my birthday weekend in Paris and my take on this “big” birthday and saying bye to my twenties – more to come in the next few weeks!
I can’t believe it’s already October! Where has this year gone? It’s officially fall…which is great because I love fall…but it also means I’m turning 30 soon. WOAH. That’s kind of a big deal right? A month from now, I’ll be going on three decades of life. Crazy to think about.
I remember when I was younger, people would say after you pass a certain age, the years just FLY by. The older you get, the faster time goes. I catch myself saying things like “oh, 15 years ago I went to…”. WHAT?! 15 years ago now refers to a time when I was a coherent & “almost” responsible adult…it’s no longer referencing a moment in time where my biggest concern in life was when the next I Love Lucy marathon would air (yes, I was into I Love Lucy, and no I’m not ashamed of it). How times change.
Surprisingly enough…I feel alright about it. Six months ago I was in panic mode, but now I’m okay. I thought about why I would be afraid/sad to turn 30, and really, I’m quite happy with where I’m at in life. In fact, I’ve never felt so comfortable in my own skin, and it’s a good feeling. So, what’s the deal? There’s nothing to be afraid of. I’m ready to embrace 30 people. BRING IT.
It’s been a while since I last wrote a mindfulness post, and I’m realizing that I’m having a hard time writing it now. Why? Because I haven’t been very mindful lately. I’ve been caught up with work, the million house projects we have going on (do they ever end?), trying to make time for my friends, family & Leo. Summer felt like a whirlwind…I haven’t had a moment to just take it all in. Not because I didn’t have the time, because I didn’t MAKE the time.
On Saturday afternoon, I went to my mom’s for a bit to hang. I haven’t spent a lot of time at home in the last couple of months, and I was really starting to miss it. I think what I miss the most is the simplicity of life back when I lived there. When I was a teen, all I wanted to do was grow up and get out of that place. Now that I’m older, I wish I had embraced that period of life for what it was and enjoyed it a little more. And I thought about how 10 years from now, I’ll likely be saying the same thing. How do I prevent this from happening? We’re all guilty of constantly thinking ahead – “when I do xyz, things will be better”, “I can relax once I accomplished abc” – that we don’t take time to soak in the present.
The worst part of going on vacation is always the aftermath…coming back to reality. I tend to reflect on all of the beautiful places I visited, and am saddened that I don’t have the flexibility to spend more time seeing other parts of the world. To my surprise, coming home from this last trip I found the transition to be slightly less difficult.
I thought about why my vacation blues didn’t linger as long as usual. It could just be that I’m getting older and am becoming more of a homebody, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think that I’m finally in a place where I’m able to recreate the things I love about vacation at home (outside of exploring the world, of course). It’s more about that excitement and ability to decompress. I’m excited about our new home and spending time enjoying it. I’m excited about summer in Chicago and exploring new restaurants, bars, and summer events. I’m excited about hosting friends and sharing our home & city with them. I’ve learned to plan better (aka learning to say “no”) so I’m not overcommitting – definitely a source of stress for me in the past. Bottom line is, I don’t feel like I’m only happy on vacation, which is a good thing!
I realized I didn’t do a mindfulness post in June, so it was hard to pick just five articles this month! So many good reads out there! Below are a few links across the web that have inspired and motivated me the last couple of months –
Life has been a whirlwind lately (when is it not?!). The last week Leo was out of town, so I had plenty of alone time to reconnect with myself and get my life in order. That means lots of gym time, attempting to cook (as I’m trying to eat better – I’ll share more on that later this week!) – hanging with friends and curling up in bed at 9pm on a Friday to watch Harry Potter…yes, that actually happened. I will say there were many cocktails had the night before that resulted in this Harry Potter marathon. It was just what I needed.
Outside of the usual craziness, I’ve been experiencing something lately that I think comes with the late twenties…re-evaluating friendships. I’ve recently talked about how many of my friends are in different life stages, which is to be expected at age 29. However, one thing I did not expect was for some friendships to fizzle out. It’s a weird phenomenon – I realized that there were select people in my life that simply weren’t being good friends. I’m still not sure if these people recently changed, or if I’m just realizing something that’s been there all along. Either way, it’s been a challenging but enlightening experience. As I closed doors, new ones opened. The moment I made it a priority to branch out & meet new people, I did, and in the most hilarious ways (i.e. Lyft line- ha!). It’s been a long time since I’ve opened myself up to someone new. I struggled with it at first, but I found I’m learning more about myself throughout this process in addition to learning more about what I value & expect out of a friendship. It’s funny how life works sometimes.
I can’t believe it’s already April! I’ve been in good spirits the last few days because we had a weekend of beautiful weather here, after two weeks of nonstop rain. It’s amazing how much weather can impact your mood and outlook. The gloomy days were really getting to me, and I found myself being negative and just not motivated. I knew it was happening, and I felt like I couldn’t get myself out of that funk. I’m glad I got a taste of warmer weather…I’m starting to feel like myself again!
The last month or two, I’ve tried to become more mindful of my emotions, and what triggers both negative & positive emotions for me. I know for a fact that the weather was one thing that was bringing me down. Knowing this was happening, I tried to do more of what makes me happy. Working out, cooking, spending time friends & family. I realized that something as small as hearing an old song that brought me back to a happy place could change my day. I know it sounds trivial, but it’s so true!
I’m also trying to focus on giving off positive vibes and surrounding myself with those who do the same. I realized how important it is be around people that make me happy. Now that I’m older & wiser, it’s much easier for me to identify unhealthy relationships in my life. I’m consciously spending more time around those who make me a better person, and also (for the first time in a long time) letting new people in. Here are a few articles around the web that inspired me the last month –
I came across this photo this weekend and smiled. It’s from Leo and I’s first trip to Greece together back in 2013 (I can’t believe that was three and a half years ago!). Here we are being goofy after finding a miner’s cart in one of the mineral mines in Milos. One of my favorite past times is too look over old photos – they always bring back happy memories & beautiful experiences. They remind me of the people & places I love.
I know I’m not alone when I say that some of my most memorable experiences occur when I’m on vacation or out of my every day routine. This is probably because I’m disconnected from the stresses of every day life. Vacation amounts to ~10% of my overall time – and it saddens me to think that the rest of the time I’m not doing what I can to make the most of every moment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anxious mess on a daily basis, but I could be doing a better job of practicing gratitude & not taking time for granted. I’ve decided I’m going to try to do a better job at this…thinking about now and not wasting all of my time worrying about the future or what I could’ve done differently in the past.
The articles below inspired me to be grateful, present and not take happiness for granted. I hope they inspire you to do the same!
February is flying by! Not only because it’s a short month – between house projects, travel for work and everything else going on…I literally can’t keep up. I’ve been sick basically the last 2-3 weeks. I rarely get sick, and I managed to get the flu followed by another virus a couple of weeks later. It’s kind of brutal, and it put into perspective how important my health is. I need to find time to unwind and focus on getting better. Health should always come first.
In other news, my travel bug is kicking in. I found myself reminiscing about my trip to Peru a couple of years ago, and how disconnecting from the world for 7 days hiking the Inca trail was the best thing I ever experienced. When it’s just you and nature, you have nothing to do but to listen to your own thoughts and connect with yourself. The picture above is one of many from that amazing trip.
Since I don’t have the luxury of flying off to Peru anytime soon (though I do have a short trip to San Diego coming up this week!), I look to the internet for inspiration, motivation, ways to be better manage stress & be more mindful. Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:
I know, I know, it’s not Monday…but since most of us had the day off yesterday, it kind of counts as a Monday, right? Regardless, I could use some mindfulness tips any day of the week. I spent the weekend taking care of things around the house (including taking down the Xmas tree – which was long overdue). Despite having to take care of the usual chores & errands, we squeezed in some much needed time with friends this weekend. It was such a relief to not talk about all the stressors in our lives and just unwind (Scofflaw on Saturday night was exactly the ambiance we needed).
I started the new year off with a handful of challenging resolutions, all of which I’m slowly trying to work through. I will admit, I need all the motivation I can get. Please tell me I’m not the only one on the struggle bus! Below are a few posts around the web that have kept me motivated & inspired me on the rough, bitterly cold, days (is the feature photo making more sense now? Warm weather, please come back).