Monday, May 28, 2018

Mindfulness

It feels like forever since I've had time to write. I have been busy beyond belief, busy in a good way, busy nonetheless. I have been fortunate enough to be working on Saturdays at my school. We have been providing workshops for the entire family including recreational activities such as swimming. It has been such a rewarding experience for me because I have gotten to know many of the students and their families and have build a deeper connection with them. I also get to bring my own kids (the little ones), who absolutely love it. My son gets to play basketball with other kids and my daughter is practically swimming on her own.

A couple of weeks ago, for Mother's Day, we held a workshop called "Mindfulness for Mom." My awesome LINKS partner and School Social Worker lead the workshop with a group of moms and caretakers. They got to talk about self care and then they made scented sugar scrubs. The ladies walked away happy, some commenting that 'this is what I needed!' I was so happy to see that the workshop was well received.

The next day was Mother's Day. I woke up and felt sad. My own mother was far away, my husband hadn't called in almost a week, and my kids... "well, they're kids; they will need me today just like every other day," is what I thought. Moments later, my five year old crawled into my bed and wished me a happy Mother's Day! She gave me a big kiss and suddenly I wasn't sad anymore. Then, my seventeen year old presented me with a bag, she had recently gone to NYC on her senior trip and she had spent some of her hard earned money on me. I was touched! After that, my fifteen year old handed me a pretty pink gift bag. Inside, I found some lip and hand balms, but what really surprised me, was the Ben and Jerry's ice cream. It was Chunky Monkey, I had been eyeing it a few days prior and commented that I couldn't spend that much money on ice cream just for me (when I'd rather buy enough for everyone). My daughter had walked to the grocery store after school and had hidden the ice cream in the back of the freezer so I wouldn't find it. That was so sweet! My son made me a hand made pop up card... crafty! Finally, I got to spend time with my eldest daughter. She drove one and a half hours to hang out with me, we had a good time. My day was a good one.

I got to thinking about mindfulness and self care. My life is busy, sometimes overwhelmingly, and so I decided to share the small things that give me a little peace and make me feel whole:

  • The first thing is waking up early. Having time before everyone else is up and needing me is crucial. I actually bring my phone/iPad into the bathroom with me and watch an episode of my favorite show while I get ready...
  • I love watching funny shows like "The Daily Show" or "The Opposition." Laughing is important for me, I think we have enough sadness in our lives, we need laughter!
  • Another thing that soothes me (surprisingly) is washing dishes. I actually got rid of my dishwasher because I never used it... ever. 
  • Obviously, writing is one of my favorite outlets. I received my first diary on my fifteenth birthday and I still have it. I went on to fill the pages of three diaries, I loved writing then, I love writing now!
  • Reading my husband's letters, then writing him :) (especially when I can't talk to him on the phone)
  • Zumba!!! gotta love Zumba, the music, the exercise, the sweat. 
  • Shopping (many who know me would argue that this should be at the top of this list) for me is more about how much I can save than how much I can spend. It's the challenge, the hunt. 
  • A hot cup of coffee, especially one that I get to finish. 
  • An uninterrupted shower... some of my best thinking happens there! 
  • Getting on my bike and going for a ride, even a short one, can be the most peaceful experience ever! I re-discovered bike riding about three years ago and I honestly felt like a kid again. 
  • Taking a moment and just breathing. Deep breath in... hold it... release, repeat. This one is easy and it doesn't cost anything, I don't need to go anywhere private or take more than a minute. 
*I'm sure there are more things that I'll continue to add to this list. 

Without taking care of ourselves, it is impossible to take care of others. It has taken me a long time to truly appreciate that. It has also taken me a long time to learn that self care does not mean spending a whole day at the spa or abandoning my family for long periods of time in order to have 'me' time. I am able to work it in while still being present. Also, the importance of teaching my children the value of having a healthy mom and that I am not being selfish when I need time to myself. I think they get it. The gifts they gave me reflect it. For that, I am thankful. I am also grateful for having a partner at work who has been instrumental in highlighting the importance of mindfulness and self care in everyday life. We all need good colleagues and friends to keep us balanced. 

To my new good friends, I see you! 

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