Finding…mindfulness.

mind over matterliving in the present quoteSigh… Mondays.

See, I’m not usually one of those people who dread Mondays and complain about their jobs. But I’m not going to lie, I started this morning groaning out of bed and maybe getting just a little bit sassy at other drivers. But reality finally checked in, reminding me just how much I have to be thankful for. It’s easy to get bogged down in all the things that don’t go exactly the way I want them to, which in my case consists largely of having an uncomfortable, embarrassing and altogether exhausting allergic reaction going on the three month mark.

As an interviewee said on NPR this morning, and I paraphrase: It’s like when you’re driving. You don’t think much of the green lights because you just keep going. But those red lights make you stop, make you wait, can even make you late. People invariably end up saying, “Ahh I hit some red lights,” not “I hit some green lights.”

I know I need to spend more time meditating on my own green lights to get myself through the red ones. And I think practicing a little more mindfulness is just the thing to help me do that.

I’ve been reading a book called My Year With Eleanor, in which author Noelle Hancock writes, “Mindfulness is a technique where you concentrate on the present experience without judging or trying to control what is going on. To be fully aware….It helps you stay in the present, where fear does not exist.” One Apartment Therapy article calls mindfulness “an accepting and kind attitude toward yourself and your present moment experience…that will change your relationship to life.”

Here are some tips for practicing more mindfulness, which are all part of my plan this week to try staying gracefully in the present and practice more acceptance:

Change the day’s first words. Waking up and indulging groans and dread for the day sets my attitude, and therefore, perception for at least the next three hours. Complaining is a habit, and I’d like to train my brain to not jump straight into it every morning.

Put. the phone. down. How many times do I re-check email, refresh Facebook on my browser, scroll through Twitter, and when all that still fails to entertain, turn to other apps to see what latest GroupOns are featured and which new pug is on @PugsofInstagram, only to repeat the process? I waste so much time with absent-minded scrolling.

Be thankful for waiting. It’s so easy to fall into a pattern of going and then get frustrated when something jars me out of that by making me wait. Instead, this moment that I can’t force into productivity is a fantastic opportunity to breathe and think without feeling guilty.

Dedicate time to just sit. Not in front of the tv, with a book, food or even a cup of coffee. Just me, being still. A word of warning, when you try this one in bed, at night, with a relaxing cool eye mask on…this also turns into a fantastic way to accidentally fall asleep. As I learned from personal experience.

What helps you relax and think more on the positive side of things?

Welcoming the weekend

happy saturday

I have a backseat of things I’ve been meaning to return for months, an apartment that could probably stand a deep-cleaning and other assorted errands to run…

But today these can wait.

Today is for sleeping in, laughing to the latest episode of New Girl with my roommate and some gluten-free pancakes, reading (and finally finishing) The Tipping Point, listening to my Stars Pandora station, not wearing real pants (here’s looking at you, leggings), burning my Seashore candle, opening the windows to enjoy some fresh air and watching a movie or two.

How are you spending your weekend?

Giving myself a break bisquits

baking photography mixing bowl baking photography baking biscuits strawberry biscuits - sidestrawberry biscuits

This weekend I was determined to rest.

Like all good intentions, this idea started out so well, with a slow morning spent sleeping in then getting creative in the kitchen…but after celebrating two friends’ engagement, making a couple drives across the Dallas metroplex and one unhappy head/stomach later, it was clear that I had not exactly been the image of peace and stillness I’d envisioned all week leading up to that point.

Since I was not one of those lucky enough to have this President’s Day off and wishing it was still the weekend isn’t making my weekend any magically longer, I’ve been thinking of little ways I can treat myself to some relaxation throughout the week rather than just keep putting all my hopes into the weekend to recharge.

This week I plan to…

Wake up earlier. I know what you’re thinking…didn’t she just say she was needing more time relax not less? The thing is, I’ve found that even though I absolutely love my hibernation, er…sleep, I love my peace of mind more. Waking up with enough time to journal, do some yoga or run, shower and get myself looking how I’d actually prefer people to see me goes so much farther in getting me ready to tackle each day. The holidays completely threw off all the progress I’d been making, but I suppose with the passing of Valentine’s Day I can’t exactly pretend that now still counts as ‘the holidays’ anymore, can I?

Cook real food. Confession. My laziness knows no bounds…I’ve been eating out a LOT this past week or so. Even when I had the good sense to actually be in a grocery store I ended up getting frozen Asian food (never a good idea) and blue box mac and cheese (always a good idea, except when you end up making and eating two boxes in one sitting. But hey, it was Valentine’s Day…). How can I expect my body to feel good (and look good) if I don’t put good things in it? I really enjoyed taking the time to make myself something fun and good this weekend. I think adding time for that into my week is just what I need to force myself to slow down, make the most of my time with food I truly enjoy/can be proud of and oh yeah, take care of myself.

Light candles. This one’s just plain fun. They look pretty, smell pretty and make me feel like life is just a tad more on the luxurious side. Plus I have quite a few that even though I love everything about them, I’ve never actually ever lit. And if there’s one thing Finding Tiffany’s is all about it’s that life is not for hoarding and hoping, it’s for actually experiencing and enjoying. Now this goal, I can accomplish.

Update – Last week’s goals to read more and be nicer to myself have been going so well, I’ve decided to continue them…I will finish that book…one day…

{Vanilla Biscuit Recipe: Gluten-free Bisquick, Vanilla, a tiny bit of sugar, milk, eggs and butter. Plus fresh fruit and whip cream. I wish I could tell you measurements, but I had way less than the recipe called for so I had to eyeball it. Basically my rule of thumb for pretty much everything is to start with the recipe on the back of the box, then add way more vanilla than it calls for. Voila.}