Month: March 2021

  • The Value In Doing Less

    Even in the midst of a life-changing pandemic, we are still “encouraged” to do more. To “take advantage”  of this time at home and to see what you can accomplish. We’ve all seen the quotes going around about how Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague, Taylor Swift released 2 new albums. Leaving us to ask ourselves “so what great work will I accomplish??”

    Yet, the question that we don’t ask ourselves enough is what can I let go of?

    When we check in with ourselves, we start to realize that there are things that we need to do for ourselves (body, mind and soul) and they might not be one of the many items on the pandemic lists of 2020 that have been floating around.

    I don’t know about you, but I did not bake any sourdough bread while in quarantine. In fact, the only baking that I did was at Christmas. And I bake something at every Christmas so this was business as usual for me. Except that I baked less this time.

    Ah, doing less. What comes up for you when you think about doing less?

    Does your inner critic pipe up with all of the things that you “should” be doing the moment that you decide to sit down and take some time for yourself?

    The Purpose Behind Doing Less

    Telling someone to “just do less” may sound easy, but the reality is it can actually be very hard. Especially if you are the type of person who likes to keep busy otherwise they feel unproductive and lazy.

    But the thing is, that’s not actually true. While we might think that #doingallthethings makes us productive and that the alternative is just laziness, we’re actually able to feel some sense of accomplishment and joy in what we do – by doing less.

    Making the conscious choice to do less, for its own sake, can be startling and transformative.

    Just imagine what it would be like to have a real and unhurried conversation in the middle of the workday with someone you care about? What would that feel like?

    Imagine completing one task at a time and feeling calm and happy about it. Imagine waking up in the morning and engaging in a gratitude practice – simply for being alive and that the sun is shining.

    When we make the conscious choice to do less, we mindfully choose the things that matter to us. Almost immediately we can start to feel a sense of ease.

    Choosing less, means being aware of what you are doing. This new awareness means that the mindless doom scrolling starts to happen less. We stop trying to multi-task (which doesn’t even really work) and we do just this one thing. And then we do the next thing. And the next.

    Slow Down to Do More

    This new attention that you’re bringing to your work? Means that you are no longer running around from task to task. You feel more focused and able to complete the task that you sat down to do. Because by doing less, you’ve already eliminated most of the distractions that keep you off task.

    Mindfulness can help you to tap into and connect to yourself. To start you on the process of noticing when you are taking on too much, when you need to let go and to start asking what’s needed now?

    A Mindfulness Practice for Doing Less

    For this practice you don’t even need to get up from your desk. It’s called an Intentional Pause and it’s a deliberate slowing down and pausing in between tasks.

    Finish writing a blog post? Great! Stop, take a moment to check in, take a few slow breaths, notice what’s going on inside and outside of you, and then gently move to the next task.

    That’s it. That’s the practice.

    I like to do this one throughout my day. Choosing moments of stillness helps me to connect into myself which always helps me to make the best business decisions that are right for me.

    Getting into the car after grocery shopping? Take an intentional pause after you sanitize your hands before shifting the car out of park.

    Moving from the “office” to the next room in your house. Pause, check in and then go.

    You can do this practice over and over again.

    Every time we practice pausing we learn how to be still and how to be with ourselves. Which is a great skill to develop for ourselves.

    a mindfulness practice for doing less

    STOP the panic, mindfulness, meditation, therapy
    STOP the panic, mindfulness, meditation, therapy
  • How To Bring Mindfulness Into Your Everyday Life

    When people first think mindfulness the first image that comes to mind? Probably this one.

    And meditating is a HUGE part of mindfulness.

    There’s also so much more than that.

    Sure, there’s the sit down formal practice like The Welcome Mat practice that I teach. But there’s also the informal practice like a mindful eating practice. Really though, any time you are engaging in an activity mindfully you’re practicing mindfulness.

    I teach these informal practices alongside the more formal ones because we want to take all the goodies we create on the mat and bring them to every moment of our lives.

    Stuck in traffic? Practice being aware and present in the moment. Notice that you’re getting frustrated and angry? Lay out the welcome mat and allow it these feelings to just be.

    The more we practice mindfulness in these moments, the more we start to notice that we’re not getting as caught up in our doubts and worries about the future.

    This past year has been a challenge for myself just like everyone else. It’s in these moments that I rely on my mindfulness practice to guide me through.

    When I’m binge watching something on Netflix (currently re-watching Gilmore Girls for the millionth time) mindfulness helps me to check in at the end of the episode so that I consciously choose whether I want to watch the next episode or get up and do something else.

    Mindfulness also helps me to stay focused when I’m working so that I don’t end up distracted and attempting to complete 10 different tasks at once. I focus on the one (like this blog post) and anything and everything else can wait until later. When I’m focused and not distracted I’m actually able to get more things done and in a quicker time period because I’m not constantly getting distracted by shiny object syndrome. Which means I don’t have to constantly shift my mind back and forth between activities.

    When I do get interrupted in the middle of a task? I use mindfulness to help me to shift my focus to the interruption, to notice what thoughts and feelings come up for me, and to then shift back to what I was doing.

    Simple? Yes. Easy? Not so much. No one is mindful all the time, myself included, and I have definitely spent the occasional night vegged out in front of the tv watching too many episodes and paid the consequences the next day. Especially this last year.

    One of my favourite things about mindfulness is that it teaches us all that time that we can begin again. Today I mindlessly watched too many episodes in a row. Tomorrow I can begin again and mindfully watch GG on Netflix.

    How do you do an activity mindfully? You just need to bring your 5 senses to whatever it is that you’re doing.

    Here’s a quick rundown to show you how that I shared on my Instagram recently.

    I share lots of tips and practices on my Instagram as well as inside my private Facebook group. Click here to join us and be apart of a supportive community.

  • How A Mindfulness Practice Can Help You

    I’ve been practicing and teaching mindfulness for a number of years now. There are a number of benefits to meditating regularly but the biggest one might not be the one that you think of…

    A few years ago, my world looked pretty different.

    I was working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), had a small group a friends and was living with my best friend/roommate. Oh, and I was so painfully shy that I struggled with speaking with anyone outside of my tight knit circle.

    When I say anyone, I mean anyone.

    Friends, acquaintances, waiters… anyone and everyone.

    As you can imagine it made my life pretty difficult.

    I struggled with speaking up in work meetings.

    Meeting new people? Forget about it.

    via GIPHY

    It was always a full on deer in headlights situation and one of my friends would often have to answer for me.

    Here I was, trying to create a life for myself complete with a social circle and knocking my goals out of the park…

    And was getting stuck at every turn because of that voice inside my head that was filling me with doubts and fears.

    Did I enjoy my life? Of course I did! I loved my work and my friends and ultimately I had no complaints.

    Yet I knew that there was more out there. I just didn’t know how to find it.

    And then in 2013 my life changed in a moment.

    I went from working with kids and teens, living in an apartment with my best friend, traveling and hanging out with friends…

    To having to move back in with my mom as I recovered from neurosurgery because I had been hit by a bus.

    Suddenly being able to talk to people was the last thing on my mind.

    I was too busy trying to heal and to survive each moment to even think about anything else.

    My entire life was essentially put on hold for a few years while I learned how to live in my “new normal”.

    To say I was having a hard time would be an understatement. This was literally the hardest thing that I had ever had to go through.

    In addition to the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that I had sustained, I ultimately underwent 4 neurosurgeries. There’s not a whole lot that can prep you for something like that.

    I was struggling emotionally, mentally and physically. While I had a great support system of family and friends and a terrific social worker I knew I needed more.

    But what? I had no idea.

    Then one day my social worker suggested trying mindfulness. At this point I was ready to try anything so I said “sure!”

    I signed up for an 8 week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program and the next thing I knew, my life had changed again but this time for the better.

    how a mindfulness practice can help you

    A few weeks into the program I just KNEW that this was what I had been looking for my whole life.

    I had a visceral moment of knowing that:

    1. everyone needed to know mindfulness (and seriously? Why is this not taught more in schools?) and
    2. I needed to become a mindfulness teacher.

    As soon as all of my surgeries, healing and patient journey were finished that’s exactly what I did.

    Throughout the course of the teacher training program, I started to notice small shifts taking place.

    I would notice being nervous and hesitant as I approached the room with all of the other students in it. When it came time to share, my hand would often stay down. At breaks I would head off on my own, you know, all of the things that I was familiar with being shy growing up.

    Over time that changed. I started introducing myself to the other students, raising my hand, even inviting a group of my classmates to join me on a trip to the beach during our break in session. (We were training in Florida at the time).

    But 2 moments stand out in particular, both during the second phase of the training.

    The first was when I described myself as shy growing up and someone turned to me and said, “if you hadn’t had said that, I would never have thought of you as being shy.” 🤯

    And the second was at the end of the training when I took my mom out for a dinner (she had accompanied me on this trip as I was still recovering from my injuries) on a Jungle River Cruise boat and I turned to the stranger beside me, introduced myself, and started up a conversation. My mom almost fell off her chair.

    Suddenly talking to people wasn’t a big deal anymore.

    All of those doubts and fears that used to hold me back? Sure, they still come up every now and again, but mindfulness provided me with the tools needed to get out of my head and into my life.

    And The Mindfulness Journey was born.

    Now I am teaching these skills to my students and watching them grow and thrive. When I hear them tell me about the time that they were able to move past their fears since we started working together I do a happy dance.

    via GIPHY

    I use my mindfulness practice every day in the service of growing my business. It helps me to stay calm amidst the chaos of being an entrepreneur. To avoid analysis paralysis. To go live on Facebook and Instagram. And to show my face and share my story with people all over the world.

    In doing so I’ve been able to help so many others learn how to get out of their own heads and into their lives.

    One of the ways I am doing this is inside of my private Facebook group The Mindfulness Community. As a member of this free group you have access to me, my teachings and trainings, as well as the support of other like minded individuals who are ready to remove their doubts and fears so that they can create a life that they love.

    Want to join us? Click this link to sign up. We’d love to have you.

    how a mindfulness practice can help you

     

     

  • Why It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

    As we enter into a year of lockdown, you might have noticed feeling sadder and/or anxious of late. I know I sure have.

    It’s been a year of staying indoors and keeping our distance from those we care about. And now that we are approaching the one-year mark we might be getting bummed out all over again – even with the news of vaccines being rolled out around the world.

    There’s a good reason why these feelings might be coming up right now. It’s called The Anniversary Effect (or Reaction) and it’s a psychological experience that “…is defined as a unique set of unsettling feelings, thoughts, memories and physical strain that occur on the specific date of a significant trauma.”

    For me, The Anniversary Effect showed up in the lead up to February 24th and the first anniversary of my dad passing away from cancer.

    The Anniversary Effect, and the feelings that it brings up can show up not only on the anniversary of a traumatic event but also whenever other milestone events crop up. I know that there will be significant moments in my life that will also trigger these feelings for me. I know this and I accept it.

    On this anniversary, and the days leading up to it, I was not okay. I knew that I wouldn’t be and accepted that this was going to be a hard time for myself and my family members. 

    So I dug into my toolbox and I pulled out all of my best coping strategies and I navigated my way through.

    Coping With What Is

    its okay to not be okay

    I took some breaks from social media, I turned my phone off when I needed to disconnect, and as I am quarantining with my mom, I spent some time with her.

    What did this look like? Well for me, lots of episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix (Dean is officially the worst – I can’t believe I didn’t see this before), copious amounts of chocolate, some meditating, and an appointment with my social worker. I also spent some time creating new upcoming content to share with all of you.

    I took the time that I needed and now I’m back. 

    Because it’s okay to not be okay. And it’s okay to take breaks and to rest when you need to. 

    Put Yourself First

    As I like to remind my students if our cup is empty we don’t have anything to give others to help fill their cup. 

    Fill your cup. 

    Another way of thinking about this is like how on an airplane you are reminded that in an event of an emergency to put your air mask on first. 

    Put on your air mask. 

    Take care of yourself first so that you can be there for others in whatever way works for you. 

    My practice helps me to recognize when I need to put my mask on. It’s helped me to create (and just as importantly maintain) boundaries. It’s given me the strength to say no. Which is a complete sentence. No. See 😉

    Learn how to fill your cup inside of my FREE group coaching program that I am running right now. 

    Click here 👉🏻 to sign up.