Health · Uncategorized

Meditation for Beginners

You have heard about mindfullness, meditation, even thought about trying Yoga. You have read a lot of self help books, tried downloading meditation apps and tried everything you could but you can’t stay with it and nothing seemed to help- the voice on the app was too distracting or the music was too loud, the app was full of ads and you couldn’t get it to load properly.

All of those are issues I had when I first started. So I started looking for blogs and sites to help, bought several magazines and in the end, stopped reading and started trying.

There was one daily Yoga app that helped, but I don’t like paying for apps unless they are truly gold- the beta only covered a few weeks and after those weeks, I lost touch. I tried buying a Yoga DVD, I have a yoga ball, bricks and a mat- the mat collects dust, we had to throw the bricks away and the ball was a play toy until we finally admitted it was too big for our house. Now it’s in storage.

You do not need tons of stuff- a mat could come in handy if you have hard floors. Mine  are carpeted, so I need nothing.

All you need to start a daily routine- yourself and the will to do it. Determine if you’re wanting to learn mindful meditation, Yoga or normal meditation. The next step is to just start- find a chart on Pinterest with beginner Yoga moves and start doing it.

Find some time in your day and just sit down, close your eyes and clear your mind. Clearing your mind isn’t as easy as it seems at first, when I can’t clear my mind for any reason, I start counting. It works well for getting me to sleep. If you can’t find a good time of your day, put yourself to bed, lie there and count. Start at one, slow yourself down and each time you inhale, count. Focusing on your breath is the first step and once you start feeling your lungs inflate, deflate, chest rise and fall and the air going in and out of your nose/lips it will clear your mind.

I already wrote a tried/tested guide to making meditation part of your everyday routine when you’re too busy to just sit down

All four of those methods are things I try to do on a regular basis because I’m not living a lazy, laid back life (although I’d LOVE to slow down a bit).

 

I’ll be writing more on the topics of Yoga and meditation, I’d like to know what types of advice would you give beginners?

Health · Uncategorized

4 Fast Ways To Incorporate Mindfulness and Slow Down In Your Hectic Life

At some point in our early to mid 20s, our lives become stressful. With jobs, school, children, family, businesses and the bills don’t pay themselves. Among all the chaos, it’s easy to get so wrapped up you forget to breathe. Self care is extremely important and living in the moment helps keep us in check. Over the years, I have learned a few ways to keep myself grounded. I’m not perfect at it, but it does help me settle down. I have been less stressed and less anxious since I started studying and trying to practice mindful meditation and here are four simple and fast tips for when you don’t have the time to go to Yoga or meditate.

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1. Practice mindfulness in the car on your commute- don’t zone out to the radio, don’t let all your stress pile up in your brain and just watch the road- take in every sense. I read that most of us tend to kind of zone out on our commute- we enter a kind of daze and our minds wonder. Start practicing not letting your mind wonder- look at the car in front of you, really listen to the lyrics of the song on the radio or turn the radio off and listen to the sound of your car, the traffic and nature- whatever the sounds around you are.

Don’t let yourself think and just focus on feeling as calm and relaxed as you safely can.

I found that since trying this one, when I achieve it, I’m more patient and get less annoyed when I get cut off. I also no longer feel any anxiety when I have near hits (I’ve almost had 3 people wreck into me and I almost merged into someone)

None of those times made me react- I was able to quickly get away from the cars without reacting and without wrecking- and no anxiety.

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2. Meditate yourself to sleep-

This is a major one for me. I try to focus on the sounds of my daughter or husband breathing, my breathing, the cat moving around downstairs and the sounds outside. Close your eyes, clear your mind and don’t allow any stressful thoughts to cross your mind. Anytime you fail (and there will be slip ups), don’t stress and just push it out of your mind. In the end, start counting and count as far as you can before you fall asleep. I almost always count myself to sleep every night and I never go further than 30 to 40.

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3. Meditate in the shower

When you’re getting ready for work, try to take a shower mindfully- really feel the water splashing down your body. Feel the heat from the water as it steams (if you like your showers as hot as I do). Take time to smell the soap and shampoo you use. Notice the feel of the washcloth or loofah. Use all 5 senses and bring yourself to the moment. When you’re in the moment, you don’t have time to think about the stresses and to do list for today.

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4. Practice mindful eating

This is one that can help you lose weight as well as helping destress.

Too often, we scarf down our food- we don’t savor it and we don’t enjoy it- and we eat more than we’re meaning to eat. Instead of fixing a huge breakfast and quickly eating it, take a bite. Take one bite and let it sit in your mouth for a bit. Notice the way it tastes, the texture, the thickness- make sure to smell it and use all your senses to really experience your meal. Do this with all meals and snacks- in time, it will come second nature and it’s not as time consuming as typing it out makes it sound. When you eat mindfully, you become aware of what you’re putting in your body- you get to know your hunger cues and you learn to slow down, eat less so you won’t feel as full and uncomfortable.

 

Once you start trying these, you’ll find that it will help you get in the moment. Instead of being stressed constantly and feeling sick and fatigued, it will help you feel more in the now and after a few weeks of deliberately getting in the moment, it will come second nature. You will no longer lay in bed wide awake stressed, you’ll start focusing on the feelings and counting down to sleep. Once you have made this your new habit, you’ll have less stressful commutes to work and you will be able to react easier. It is literally all in the mind.

 

*disclaimer: None of this should be taken as psychological/medical advice- these are things I found help me after reading several books and magazines and putting the practice into my own life.*

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This coming June I’m taking my first ever paid vacation from work

Since I’ll have a full week off, I have decided that the month of June I am going to try to do one post a day and come up with either 1 post or one article to submit to a magazine or blog every day through June.

Coming up with ideas shouldn’t be too difficult.

I have 11 more days in this month and I’ll be brainstorming topics (privately) and I’ll try to come up with 30 varied posts.

Health · Uncategorized

Day 5 of the Happiness Challenge- Morning Meditation

“Hooray! Pat yourself on the back for starting your day with a morning meditation. We bet you’re feeling rested, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the rest of your day with increased energy, peace, and happiness.

If you haven’t done it yet, today’s action is to begin your day with this guided morning meditation.

 

Tomorrow I will start my day off with a meditation. It works out well due to promising my six year old we could do some Yoga tomorrow since she’s once again not in school.

The challenge from last night was to turn off my phone and all electronics an hour before I went to bed to relax before I went to sleep.

I made it about 30-40 minutes and fell asleep. I turned my phone off shortly after I posted the blog, decided to put my girl to bed (we still cosleep with the 6 year old- she’s special needs and has had a fear of sleeping alone ever since she fell out of her bed when she was 3, we had a baby gate up so she wouldn’t leave her bed and fall down the stairs and she couldn’t get to us so she’s been sleeping with us ever since. She has actual panic episodes when we try to get her in her own bed, so we’re waiting until she’s hopefully able to give it up herself- she even has her own room, bed, sheets, blanket, pillows and everything else in characters she has asked and she now spends most of the day in her room. We’re hoping we’re getting closer to her being able to give up our bed and move to hers since she loves her room so much)

When I put her to sleep, I was tired and worn out so I ended up falling asleep by 9:30. I woke up at 7:30 so it gave me a full 10 hours of sleep, which was nice. I have autoimmune issues, so even with that much sleep, I was still tired. I was more awake during the day and needed less caffeine than I usually do. I’ll post about trying the meditation with both of my girls tomorrow.

Health · Uncategorized

EDS, post 30 can your body bounce back?

I know your metabolism takes a slight hit at 30, larger hit at 35 and every 5 years or so keeps shrinking. I’m still heavier than I was pre-kids and reality is hitting me. I knew I no longer had my pre-baby body, but will I be able to go back?

I accepted the fact that pregnancy made my hips more of a problem area than they already were. I only wore a larger size (11-13 in high school) for that reason, but had an hourglass figure. When I dropped to a 14, I tried on some 17s and couldn’t get them past my hips. That was when I read that juniors and adult sizes are made different (1,3,5, etc are juniors. 2,4,6, etc are adult). Juniors are made narrow in the hips where adult jeans are made wider in the hips.

I do know that with Ehlers Danlos, collagen is affected and where it makes your skin stretchy, it seems it may be harder to just bounce back. My scars fade but they still look strange when they heal. I don’t know much else about EDS but I do have an appointment, not only with a genetic specialist, but a specialist who lives with EDS herself. But that’s in a little bit. Right now, I’ve been researching trying to find foods that can help, workouts good enough to help lose weight and tone up but also safe for Osteo and loose joints and anything else that could help me with shrinking back down.

In the past 2 years, I’m down from 220 to about 170. I’m down from a size 20 to a size 14-16. I still have 40lbs left and hoping to get down to a 6ish or 8, maybe and I have 5 years in my mind to do it. If I can get down to my goal, fix what I need to fix diet wise and perfect my ingredient reading I should be able to maintain despite my Hashimotos. I’m seeing that even thyroid isn’t as much of an excuse as people use it. I dropped 20lbs in 4 months on a good dose of thyroid medication and cutting 1 ingredient out. I’m almost 1 month back to the normal (gluten free) lifestyle and finally feeling back to how I was feeling. I just had my thyroid levels tested again and they were perfect.

Right now, I’m trying to buy less processed foods. I have quit drinking Mello Yello (but I did switch to Diet coke for the time being), I’m eating 1 grain meal a day (if that) and the rest are cooked or salad. I do need to cut condiments and I still am drinking my Starbucks double shots (1 a day), I also started to notice my sugar drops when I eat potatoes so I’m switching to sweet potatoes.

The problem is when you have multiple diagnosis’s with several recomendations for diets. Where I have obvious issues with gluten, gluten free is needed (unless I want to spend all day cramping and in the bathroom), I had the diabetic low glycemic diet recommended to me for the reactive hypoglycemia. Cutting everything that was recommended to me feels restrictive. It also makes my OCD mind feel like I’ll be depriving myself and feels like it’s a black/white situation instead of- eat this way and you’ll feel great, eat that way and feel like crap.

I’m working on disassociating food with pleasure or anything related to emotions and trying to associate it with fueling my body and nothing more. Mindfulness helps that. Taking time to savor what I eat and pay attention to it is what I’m working on. Salad tastes great, so does fruit. Sugar and snacks that are heavily processed taste like chemicals but are an addiction- I’ve read all about sugar addiction and cold turkey is the way to go with kicking it. I’ve been thinking about trying a 1 month sugar free diet to try to break it. Just not sure if I have the will power currently. I will start it at the beginning of a month this year, though. Just have to build up and do further research into it to go in armed instead of half assing it.

In my picture, I was 18. I was constantly working out but didn’t know half of what I know now. I was also healthy.

I wasn’t skinny, but I was a good 30lbs smaller than I am now.