Being Here Now

I am going to try my very best to articulate these thoughts into words, so bear with me. Firstly,  I cannot fail to mention my sadness about the horrific events that occurred in Manchester last night.  My heart breaks a little with every story, plea for contact with unaccounted for loved ones and devastating news at those who sadly won’t be going home.

Also, the thing that has made me well up the most is the pride i feel for the fellow humans who have gone above and beyond to provide comfort, food, transport, shelter and love to those affected.

I also cannot imagine how Ariana Grande is feeling having her performance targeted like that. Poor lady.

With that said, the inspiration for tonight’s blog came to me whilst I was meditating following a reluctant dumbell workout (wow how pretentious does that sound?!).  A little while ago I wrote about the difference between being and doing, and how to differentiate between the two in real life. Easier said than done, right? But it led me to think about exercise. It’s no secret I have an ongoing battle with my weight and by proxy physical appearance. I am trying hard to sever the mental link between that and my self worth. One sure fire way to lose weight and generally get healthier is to exercise. Before I have put pressure on myself to do it, because that’s how you lose weight (as well as eating right). However since I have made a habit of it, I am enjoying working out for the sake of working out. 
Forget whatever goals I have of one day feeling like it might be acceptable to wear a bikini in front of other people (not that I intend to, just feeling like I can); that would be acceptable bonus acceptable nd not the be all and end all. I LIKE  the workouts I am doing. I LIKE  the lady that does them. And as a bonus, I like the positive difference it makes to my frame of mind. And with no defined goal, it makes it feel a lot more relaxed!
Summary: Do it because you like it and do what has to be done.
Second point from that: meditation. I recall reading several times not to meditate to achieve enlightenment,  sleep, relaxation or any other profound experience other than to perform the act itself and spend some time purely in the moment.  It made me think that I am not lost in meditation, which seems to be quite a popular hippy outsider concept ( for want of a better definition) but through mindfulness practice I am HERE in meditation. 

Despite my amateur ramblings, I feel this demonstrates to myself that I am really getting the concept of living mindfully and the attitudes  I’m beginning to adapt naturally reflect that. 
There, that feels better! Now to enjoy the rest of my bath and hopefully the baby will sleep through the night ūüôā

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I think it’s working :-)

Wow, what a difference in how I am feeling and behaving!

Argh I’m going to sound a little bit preachy now; believe me that is not the intention I just want to share how helpful I’m finding keeping a bullet journal. ¬†It’s like a paper PA that has seen a massive increase in my own personal productivity in the week that I’ve been keeping it. ¬†Like paying outstanding invoices promptly, signing up for things, working out, meditating and being more aware of what I’m eating.

 

I love being able to set daily goals for myself and the satisfaction of crossing off each task as I complete it. ¬†In addition, because I have been able to keep better track of it I have been meditating almost every day (only times I didn’t were after an evening of drinking – not really the best frame of mind for me to sit still!) and working out at least every other day.

 

I really like doing kettle bell workout videos on YouTube. ¬†As husband does kung fu, he finds it helpful as well to do between classes and I love that it’s something we can enjoy together. ¬†As the videos range from 15 mins to 30 mins I find myself sometimes doing a couple a night, it’s getting addictive! ¬†I am pleased with past me for picking up a couple of kettle bells from Aldi when they were on offer a while ago, will definitely be looking to purchase another soon with a heavier weight. ¬†I haven’t noticed any difference in my weight/body shape yet but it’s only been a week and I am enjoying the fact that I have made a commitment to myself and am sticking to it more than anything else at the moment.

 

I also found out that my surgey will be on 2nd July. ¬†I’m scared – not going to lie – and to be honest the worst bit will probably be when they cannulate me! ¬†But I plan to use the techniques I have learned through CBT and mindfulness to try and make it as least stressful experience as possible. ¬†Plus husband has 2 weeks off work so I know the boys and my mum (who I work with) are going to be OK.

The mindfulness meditations I have been doing have made me feel overall calmer; in particular when dealing with children who refuse to sleep/settle/not sleep through the night and also feel more positive despite the resulting lack of sleep.

I have been trying to do the loving kindness meditation over the last 7 days but to be honest, I’m having trouble getting into it as much as those that focus more on the breath/body so will be trying that kind this evening. ¬†So yeah, it’s nice to have something positive to talk about!

I also managed another period of the boys playing with balloons… husband even blew another one up (sneaky man!) and was releasing it much to the boys’ delight. ¬†I feel like I cheated a bit as it was mainly whilst I was in the kitchen preparing dinner but this for me is progress, and I kept popping my head into the living room to see what they were up to.

 

Definitely feeling a lot better than I did a year ago. ¬†Give meditation and mindfulness a try, I’m still very much a beginner but already feeling the benefits!

Kettle bells and plans for the future.

Since my last post, I have generally been feeling a lot happier and brighter. Husband is embarking on his dream of starting a PhD in October, and my own academic aspirations look to be partly fulfilled next September as I am hoping to start my MSc in Psychology!  It will be difficult both mentally and financially, with the added challenge of two small children but we want to do it so much so I will be sharing that journey here no doubt.

In addition, I was in touch with my former undergraduate superisor and my independent study has been accepted for publication in an actual psychology journal! Exciting!
An update on my 32@32: things hadn’t been going so well until Friday just gone when I ran my first 5k in ages. I have also been trying to meditate each day for 10 mins and find it really relaxing. Tonight I did fitness blender (on YouTube)’s 30 minute kettle bell beginner workout and am proud to say I am sat here in my own sweat having successfully completed it and enjoyed it. Definitely ready for a bath though!

I have a wedding to attend in 2 weeks and anothrr in just under 3 weeks. If I want to fit into my planned outfits this needs to continue!

Working the Body and the Mind

This week it appears I have got my mojo back! ¬†Or obtained some mojo from somewhere; either way it’s brilliant and I’m not complaining! ¬†I’ve felt more energised and involved in my work, and have also had the motivation to try out new workout experiences AND meditation the last couple of nights!

I realised that 30 day challenges, although a guaranteed way of getting fit if followed properly, are not for me. ¬†I can’t commit to doing it daily (which isn’t too bad) but I just put too much pressure on myself and so have decided to go my own way rather than follow someone else’s plan.

 

Last night, 6 months after purchasing them, I tried out a 10 minute kettlebell workout on YouTube. ¬†I was amazed how hard I worked in that short time, and was feeling the after effects for most of the day today. ¬†So this evening I decided to try Yoga, thinking it might be a bit more on the relaxing side and maybe do something to relieve my hard-worked muscles. ¬†Again, I searched for a beginner 10 minute video and boy was I wrong… my heart rate was going and some of the moves were quite difficult. ¬†Needless to say it was not the relaxing, gentle experience I was hoping for! ¬†But did I enjoy it? ¬†Yes! ¬†Will definitely be doing more!

 

Since finishing Sons of Anarchy, I definitely feel at a bit of a loss of what to do in the evening. ¬†I am still playing the Witcher 3 after almost a year but I don’t want to spend every night in front of the TV, I want to do things that are going to make me feel good and be good for me in the long run. ¬† ¬†And in addition, tonight I decided to undertake a Mindfulness meditation and ask husband very nicely to be on small person alert so I could be uninterrupted, and hopefully not fall asleep.

 

I can totally see why people do this. ¬†It was only short – again 10 mins as I don’t want to overwhelm myself and it’s been a while – but to perform a proper, mindful meditation felt like my mind was having a lovely hot bubble bath with a Lush bath bomb. ¬†I didn’t want it to end, so must be a good sign! ¬†The night is still young, so I might be totally rock n roll and get into my jamas and read my book in bed.

Increasing Mindfulness: Week 3 of Course

This week is week 3/4 of my Mindfulness course, and I’m starting it with a negative mind-frame because I haven’t completed the assignments from last week. ¬†All I was required to do was practice mindful breathing (which I actually managed a few times), mindful movement (only did during session) and keep an event awareness journal (managed one entry – however was aware of a few individual moments).

No excuses – I just wasn’t as firm with myself during the last week, same for my eating habits. ¬†I think because I was feeling a little better mentally I allowed myself to get complacent, which happens.

This week has been about using Mindfulness to deal with stress; specifically beginning with the breathing space where one acknowledges what one is feeling, then focuses on one’s breathing before becoming more aware of the body and surroundings. ¬†This relates to becoming a watcher of my emotions which is in one of the workbooks on Distress Intolerance my therapist gave to me. ¬†It is advised I practice this often.

Next, the session moved on to acknowledge that thoughts are not facts! ¬†Something personally I struggle with. It’s OK to notice and accept thoughts and watch them without getting stuck in them. ¬†Thoughts are just events in the mind – a bit like being at the cinema and appreciating the film (whatever the genre) but knowing it isn’t real. ¬†The breathing space exercise can be used to create space between thought and reaction. ¬†I took the time to practice the 22 minute meditation – keeping my eyes open to help me retain focus and not fall asleep! I was relaxed so not feeling and particular emotions or difficult thoughts but managed to complete the exercise – reflecting being a watcher of one’s emotions. ¬†A big message I took from it was to treat difficult thoughts and emotions as guests who can stay until it’s time for them to move on, like a train passing through the station.

My assignment this week, in addition to practising the above, is to be aware of any reactions to stress I have without trying to change/freeze/block or shut them off, or if I have the urge to rush in and fix things and notice how this feels. ¬†I have written “stress response” on my hand to remind myself to do this! ¬†Again this links with the third part of my distress tolerance workbook, to just be rather than getting caught up.

So that concludes another Mindfulness session, time to go forth and put into practice what I have learned!