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Mindful Moments

Mindful Moments

With each passing year, I appreciate more and more taking a mindful approach to wellness and paying attention to how I feel. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I'm no wellness guru and don't proclaim to be super knowledgable on any of these topics. My aim is to find rhythms and routines that feel good to me. To fuel and feed by soul but also to keep it simple and enjoyable, so that I am able to maintain consistency. I believe the sum of our lives isn't the big stuff we do sporadically but the small things we do consistently.

I've been feeling so fueled by these little mindful moments and routines that I've incorporated into my life, I wanted to share them! Feel free to copy and paste this into your own routine or use it as inspiration to find a rhythm that works for you and makes you feel good.

Morning Pages
As an artist, I'm always looking for ways to feed and cultivate my creativity. At the beginning of this year I found out about Morning Pages, which is taken from a book called The Artist's Way. Basically, first thing when you get up in the morning, you write three pages of long hand free flowing thought. In simple terms, it's kind of a brain dump. Whatever is on your mind, things you need to do, ideas you have, even writing the same sentence over and over again for three pages. It all goes on those three pages. This has helped to free up mental space for more important things in my day or even to work through problems and emotions. I've always found writing to be so powerful! If three pages feels like too much, I recommend starting any kind of journalling or a simple brain dump at the beginning of the day.

This year I discovered pilates and I'm obsessed! I have yet to do an in-person class or reformer pilates but I love doing mat pilates at home. So far, I've just been finding instructors I like on YouTube. I enjoy Jessica's videos. Pilates has been great for me for a couple of reasons. Not only does it make me feel amazing during and afterwards, it also sets me up better for the rest of my day. It helps with my posture, to feel more connected and in tune with my body, to work on areas I experience pain or tightness, it makes me want to eat better through out the rest of my day too and is the first domino in the next part of my routine.

After pilates (which can be anywhere from 10-30 mins for me), I make a smoothie. My go-to smoothie usually looks something like this:

Coconut water 
Spirulina powder 
Sometimes I add raw egg if I'm wanting protein. I know that may sound weird to many of you but it's something I've done my whole life. My mom always added it to her smoothies and I can't taste the difference. If I'm not wanting egg, I'll add in some hemp hearts. 

Once my smoothie is made, I take it outside to get some vitamin D. This time has become so valuable to me! Initially, I started doing this just to get some vitamin D but over time I began to add other things that make this time so reviving and refreshing.

Breath Work
I heard once that we can go our entire day without breathing properly. I tend to hold my breath more than I should throughout the day for various reasons. So for a few minutes I practice breathing intentionally. I do what's called "square breathing". Where you inhale slowly and fully for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, exhale slowly for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds and repeat.  I do this several times. It helps to calm and balance me and is especially helpful if I'm feeling more anxious that day.

Observing with all senses 
Next, while I'm sitting in the sun, I close my eyes and observe the world around me through my other senses. I usually start first with taste because it's the most tangible with me sipping on a smoothie. What am I tasting? Then I move onto my other senses. Focusing on one at a time. What do I smell? What do the scents remind me of? What do I hear? Can I pin point how many different birds I hear chirping? How does the air and breeze feel against my skin? How do my feet feel against the ground or grass? It's actually a lot harder for me to focus my attention only on one sense at a time. But I've found it to be a great practice in being present in the moment that's happening and appreciating nature and the world around me. Even in a suburban location, there's so much nature to experience. Like the sound of leaves moving together as the wind blows through trees and bushes, or the sound of various local birds that call your neighborhood their home, or even learning to accept and appreciate the sounds of dogs barking and leaf blowers nearby. All of them have a place in that moment. Lastly, I open my eyes and take in the visual beauty that surrounds me. Usually this is me focusing in on and observing the state of my garden. How are my plants and flowers looking? What's in bloom? What colors am I drawn to that day? Is the breeze through the trees creating shadows that dance on the concrete? I even love watching my dog Luna watch the squirrels run up the big tree in our yard or notice how her nostrils flare as she is taking in the scents of what's around her. I often wonder what she smells and sees. Pause and observe the abundance of beauty that is all around you. I always walk away feeling grateful, refueled and energized for the day ahead. I tend to do this earlier in the day, like late morning but you could also do this after a long day to unwind.

Night time unwind 
Once the sun is going down or has set, I go through the house and turn off the brighter overhead lights and turn on the ambient mood lighting. This softens the light in the home and creates a calm feeling. I think it subconsciously tells our brains that it's time to wind down and makes the transition to bedtime less jarring. You can create ambient light through lamps, tasks lights, dimming your overhead lights or lighting candles. 

I encourage you to find little mindful moments of your own through your day and week that bring you joy!
Cassidy xx