Mindfulness

The focus of my week has been on mindfulness.

Various people have been encouraging (nagging 😉 ?) me to be kinder to myself. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to be kinder to myself, it is more that I have felt unable to. Not only has it been easier to keep myself busy so I don’t have to think about scary or awful memories, I have also been punishing myself. Irrational, I know, but that’s strong emotions for you.

Last Saturday I popped in to town seeking out a book a friend had recommended. I couldn’t find the book – it wasn’t in stock, so I ordered it, but while I was browsing in that section these two books caught my eye.

IMG_20141129_133002

Serendipity, surely.

Mindfulness is another way of saying what my psychologist is trying to help me achieve: to feel ok about and accept however I am feeling, whether that feeling is happy, sad, or anything in between.

On Sunday, all the chatter over social media about Christmas preparations was, quite frankly, doing my head in, so I disengaged from it all and spent time looking through Hugo’s photos. As I’ve described in this post, doing such a simple thing was a revelation for me.

Drifting off to sleep last night, I hatched an idea: I would be mindful every day, and to hold myself to account I would post a photo on Instagram of something that had made me smile. If nothing had made me smile, I’d draw a picture that represented my mood and take a photo of that, instead. So, #31daysofmindfulness was created.

With Christmas being for me this year, being mindful is giving me something other than baring my teeth at festive joy to focus on.

Mindfulness has brought be some benefit this week: on Tuesday I did something unprecedented since I came home from hospital in London after Hugo died – I turned off my laptop and put the telly on. At 10.30am. It took a while to relax and get in to it, not just because daytime telly isn’t much good, but relax I did and I felt so refreshed for it.

This week's mindfulness photos.

This week’s mindfulness photos.

Christmas can be a stressful time for many people for all sorts of reasons. The pressure to be happy and full of joy all the time can get a bit much, so it can be good to have a bit of an outlet for the stress and feel able to say you’re just not feeling the joy – as well as being able to take a mindful breather amongst the hustle and bustle of gift buying, parties and all the other festive activities.

I am delighted that other people have chosen to join in, and are saying it has helped them, too. This gives me an additional happy feeling – I set it up thinking it was something I wanted to do, and if others wanted to do it too that was a bonus.

The moral: if you have an idea, go for it!

The Reading Residence
Mums' Days

15 Comments on Mindfulness

  1. Stephanie (@LifeAt139a)
    December 8, 2014 at 8:54 am (3 years ago)

    Great word and a lovely way to counter the Christmas whirlwind, will look out for your pics on Insta x

    Reply
  2. mummyshambles
    December 7, 2014 at 8:49 am (3 years ago)

    Such an inspirational post!
    I love your photos, Hugo’s little toes had me in tears. So sweet. Bless ‘im. X
    Christmas is a very difficult time when you’ve lost someone you love. People can’t understand unless they’ve experienced loss. People’s happiness and jollity just amplify your own sadness. I lost my dad on Christmas day many years ago and Christmas after that was painful. I felt I had to hide it from my family. It’s hard to smile when you’re heart’s in bits. But we all find a way to cope. It’s OK to say how we feel.
    Mindfulness is a great word. X

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      December 7, 2014 at 10:54 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you. I just marvel at Hugo’s toes. They were amazing, and so strong when he kicked me – both when he was in my belly, and after too!

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your dad. There’s no good time of the year to suffer a loss, but I can understand how painful Christmas must now feel for you. I completely agree, it’s ok to say how we feel and we shouldn’t have to feel pressure to be happy when our hearts are broken. Hugs xxx

      Reply
  3. Louisa
    December 6, 2014 at 7:07 pm (3 years ago)

    Christmas is an especially hard time of year if you’re just not in the right place to be festive and people often just expect you to switch on the jolliness because it’s December. Being able to disengage from it, relax and accept our feelings is a great step and finding small bits of happiness in the everyday is a blessing x

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      December 7, 2014 at 10:32 am (3 years ago)

      Absolutely right, there is no jolliness switch to turn on just because it’s December! I think it’s important for people to recognise being happy is brilliant but not mandatory or realistic 24/7. So, finding the small things that make us happy is a huge blessing. Thanks for commenting xxx

      Reply
  4. Debbie
    December 5, 2014 at 10:54 pm (3 years ago)

    A wonderful word, and I’m so glad you’ve found your way of expressing it, I think it is important, if possible, to find that time, to have a feeling of happiness, or being relaxed. It is good to read you are able to support others in finding their place.

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      December 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks so much Debbie, it’s such an important thing to be able to do, just harder than it sounds like it should be! Practice makes it a habit, though hopefully! xxx

      Reply
  5. thenthefunbegan
    December 5, 2014 at 10:30 pm (3 years ago)

    I started the year really thinking a lot about mindfulness after reading The Happiness Project. I bought something silly like The Idiot’s Guide to Mindfulness on Kindle too. I love the idea of just being in the moment at any given time – life is too fast paced and this time of year is particularly manic – you’re right about social media bombardment with it all too (and I’m just as guilty so I’m sorry if I’ve contributed to that) but you have struck upon a wonderful way of just finding a calm centre in the storm of it all. It is difficult to just still your mind – it’s a skill you have to hone. I love the Buddhist ideal but it’s hard to reconcile that with a Western way of life I guess. I hope your 31 days help you find your centre. Xxx #wotw

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      December 6, 2014 at 2:35 pm (3 years ago)

      Ah yes, the Happiness Project is a good book – I read it as part of a Happiness Group I went to last year. Please don’t worry re the festive social media stuff lovely, it’s everyone everywhere – non-bloggers, ads on the telly, Christmas music – I’m glad I’ve found a way to be calm about it, rather than have an ulcer by the 25th. Hopefully with a bit of practice I’ll be able to find my calm point more easily. Thanks so much for your kind words xxx

      Reply
  6. Tara
    December 5, 2014 at 7:56 pm (3 years ago)

    Those books look really good. I’m going to go and look up the journal one up now. I’ve really enjoyed 31days so far so thank you for not only thinking it up for you to do but opening it up for everyone else to join in too. I hope your weekend is a relaxing one.

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      December 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm (3 years ago)

      I’m so pleased you’ve joined in, and hope you’re finding it useful too. Would love to know what you think of the journal. Hope you’re having a lovely weekend xxx

      Reply
  7. thereadingresidence
    December 5, 2014 at 6:32 pm (3 years ago)

    This is such a good idea, Leigh. I can see how much it is helping you, and as you say, you’re spreading the idea and helping others, too. And well done for the TV and switching off, too Hard to do, but the mindfulness must be having an impact. Greta word and post, thanks so much for sharing with #WotW xx

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      December 5, 2014 at 6:58 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Jocelyn. It takes a bit of practice, but I think by making an effort to do something every day it will hopefully become habit. Thanks for your kind comment xxx

      Reply

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  1. […] at the variety of photos on Instagram, and especially reading Leigh’s latest blog post on mindfulness which I found very helpful.  Two things in particular jumped out at me.  Firstly, the […]

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