Hi friends! So nice to see ya over the weekend. I hope you’re having a wonderful time with family and relaxing.
We’re officially into December and the craziest time of the year, so I figured that it would be a perfect opportunity to focus on mindfulness. I’m going to focus on being more present and centered this holiday season, and I’d love it if you’d join me! So welcome to the first December Mindfulness Challenge.
I didn’t want this challenge to feel like something overwhelming or something that you have to have to dread each day. In the end, I determined that three daily steps could make a huge difference and they’d be easy to check off within 20 minutes.. with multiple rewards for our sanity.
Our focuses for the month:
Meditation. There are numerous benefits of a daily meditation practice. It can make your brain YOUNGER, can improve sleep, focus, memory, boost fitness performance, and I find that I just feel like a happier human when it’s in my life. My tips for starting a meditation practice are here. If you’re a beginner, I highly recommend using the app Calm or Headspace. Calm is my personal favorite (<— not affiliated with the brand in any way) and I use it during the day and looooove the sleep stories or sleep meditations before bed. (You can have Matthew McConaughey read you a bedtime story. You’re welcome.)
Reading or writing. Here’s a succinct list of the benefits that writing can give you. I find that it’s a great stress reduction tool because it gives you the opportunity to dump all of the thoughts from your brain onto paper. For me, once these to-do list items and worries are written down, they don’t stress me out as much. I find that it’s helpful to set a timer and just write whatever comes to your mind. No one is going to read it and it can be total nonsense. But, it feels GREAT. If writing isn’t your thing, take this time to read something that you enjoy each day. It can be heavy nonfiction or pure romance fluff; just choose something that you genuinely want to read.
Ditching the phone dependence, especially in the morning and before bed. This is going to be the most difficult one for me, especially since I’m guilty of checking my phone as soon as I peel my eyes open in the morning. I squint at the bright screen with one eye closed, and immediately feel cortisol and adrenaline surge through my body as I check email, social, and affiliate dashboards. The worst part about this habit is that I can’t take any action until I drop the girls off at school and come back home, an hour and a half or two hours later. The only thing this achieves is stress. So for December, I’m not checking my phone until I’m back from drop-off and can actually respond to emails, put out fires, and be productive. As far as before bed goes, the blue light from our screens can inhibit melatonin production, which makes us sleep more soundly. This is why you might feel more wired at night after watching movies or being on your phone or laptop before bed. I’m going to ditch my phone at least an hour before bedtime, and if I watch TV, I’ll wear my blue light blocking glasses. I usually head up to bed 30 minutes before I actually want to crash out so I have time to read each night for a little while.
Our December Mindfulness daily action plan:
– 10 minutes of meditation, solo or through an app, like Calm or Headspace
– 10 minutes of reading or writing every day
– No phone until after awake for 1 hour, and no phone 1 hour before bed
Optional weekly challenges:
Week 1: Yoga or meditation class
Week 2: One outdoor activity solo or with a friend. I feel like being outside in nature is so peaceful and healing, and also delivers a boost of Vitamin D, which can get depleted in the winter months. Plan some time to be outside this week!
Week 3: One night in for self care. This can be a Zeel massage at home, a face mask and a bubble bath, an early bedtime, a girly movie you’d otherwise never watch (YAY Netflix Christmas movies) or anything else you’d find restorative and enjoyable.
Week 4: One hour of planned “free time” – to read, walk, drink tea, stare at a wall in silence, get a massage; time that isn’t filled with work or chores. As a mom or someone with a busy schedule, I know this can be incredibly hard to find a spare hour. Dedicate time to make it happen for yourself!
Are you joining in the challenge? What’s something in your routine that you always look forward to? What’s something you think you can do to make this month less stressful?
Please tag me in your weekly pics and updates this month! @fitnessista #decembermindfulness