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Mindfulness in a Hectic World

Elaine Mindful

In schools across the country, students are being taught the practice of mindfulness – how to slow their bodies and become more in-tuned with their thoughts, feelings, and breathing. In a world that seems to be racing along at an incomprehensible pace, mindfulness is coming about from a need for kids to learn how to “disconnect” from their world of technology and move away from the over-stimulation that surrounds them on a daily basis. This is a critical step for schools to be taking, as cases of depression, anxiety, and learning disorders like ADD and ADHD are on an exponential rise in children. Mindfulness is linked with positive emotions and better health, and it can be incorporated into daily life with minimal effort.

It is not just children who benefit from mindfulness, however. Incidents of depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and insomnia are also on the rise in adults, making it equally important for adults to become more mindful as well. In this world we live in, with the constant barrage of technological stimulation, instant access to information, and increased pressures at home and at work, adults are increasingly unable to handle all of the pressures that modern adulthood demands. As a result, we are a population of unhealthy, stressed out, and unhappy individuals, and if we are not careful, we will be passing those traits on to our children.

Instead, let us all pause for a moment, and think about the benefits of mindfulness and how we can incorporate it into our lives. Now, some may be thinking, ‘here is yet another thing to add to my to-do list, when I’m already completely overwhelmed and exhausted.’ Not to worry, my friend, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. In fact, incorporating mindfulness into your daily life doesn’t have to take a lot of time or effort. There are a few simple steps that you can take each day to be more mindful, and to model for your children how they can be more mindful as well. 

Elisha Goldstein, of the popular Mindful website, explains how we can take a small moment in our day to simply S.T.O.P. when we are feeling stressed out. Here is what she recommends:

S = Stop: Stop what you’re doing; put things down for a moment
T = Take: Take a few deep breaths; focus directly on your breathing
O = Observe: Observe your experience as it is, taking in to account any thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Notice how your body is feeling and how it is responding to any stimuli.
P = Proceed. Proceed with something that will help you in the moment – have a cup of tea, talk with a friend, go for a walk, etc. 

Getting out into nature can help us to be more mindful: Photo via Pixabay

You can also use this strategy for moments when you’re not feeling stressed, instead use it to focus on yourself and simply calm your thoughts and have a moment of quiet. Taking time to do such things throughout your day, even if it’s just for a moment, can help tremendously in managing our emotions and maintaining a sense of calm. If you have more than a few minutes to spare, then getting out into nature is a wonderful (and easy) way to practice mindfulness as well. The peace and tranquility that one can experience in nature helps us to remove ourselves from the busyness of our lives; it gives us something to focus our attention on (listening to the wind rustling the leaves or the birds chirping, smelling the fresh grass, etc.), and it gives us a quiet place to focus on our breathing, soothing our minds and souls and creating a sense of calm. 

In this fast-paced world we live in, it is crucial that we take steps to protect and care for our mental health as well as our physical health. It is also important that we set the example for our children as well, so that they don’t grow up anxious, depressed, over-stimulated, and stressed. Practicing mindfulness each day is an excellent first step toward preventing that. Mindfulness can help to lower stress levels, improve attention, decrease negative feelings, and even combat chronic pain. Take a few moments every day to incorporate mindfulness activities, either on your own or with your children. Use the S.T.O.P. strategy when you’re feeling stressed, and teach your children how to do the same. As Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, explains, “Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.”

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Bedtime Routines That Work

women in bed sleeping

When we hear the words ‘bedtime routine’, we often think of young children and the process parents go through to get their children ready for bed each night. If you are a parent to babies or young children, you also know how incredibly important these bedtime routines are. It helps your child’s body calm down after a busy day, it relaxes their muscles and their minds, and prepares their body for sleep. We usually give our kids a nice, warm bath, rub soothing lotion on them that smells of lavender fields, read them a story or two, have a cuddle, sing a lullaby, and send them off to their dreamland feeling happy, relaxed, and safe. What a wonderful way to end each day!

But, where’s OUR bedtime routine? Do we take the same time and care every evening to ensure that our trip into dreamland is as peaceful and loving as theirs? Likely not. If you’re anything like most parents of little children, you lovingly get your own kids off to bed, tackle the dirty dishes in the sink, throw on another load of laundry, tidy up the day’s mess, maybe grab an hour to yourself to watch some TV or catch up on social media, and then fall into bed exhausted, likely still feeling stressed, and perhaps even still in your clothes from the day! 

In this ever-changing, busy world we live in, it is so important that we carve out a little time for self-care, as this is often something that gets neglected in our lives. We put all of our time, energy, love, and effort into caring for our families, rarely taking time to care for ourselves. But, adults need bedtime routines too! We need to create a routine that helps our own bodies to settle down after the busy day, calm our muscles and our minds, and prepare ourselves for sleep. So, how do we do that? It’s really rather simple.

Not everyone’s bedtime routine will look the same, as everyone prefers different things. Simply start by incorporating a few small self-care activities at the end of your day to help prepare yourself for sleep. It might be a nice, hot bath where you can soak and relax for a little while. Have some calming music playing quietly while you soak, and just enjoy the peaceful, quiet time to yourself. Let your mental to-do list pause for a while, and just relax your mind. 

Following your bath, indulge your skin with Verima’s Renewal Citrus Trio lotion. Infused with organic CBD oil, this lotion will not only leave your skin soft and smooth, but you will feel relaxed, worry-free, and ready for sleep. With the beautiful combination of white and red grapefruit, orange, and a touch of cedar oil, the calming scent will be perfect for your evening bedtime routine.

If you find it challenging to get that mental list to quiet down enough for you to sleep, try incorporating some guided meditation before bedtime. There are many different programs and apps on the market now, so it may take you a bit of time to find the meditation that is just right for you. But, once you do, take a few minutes to do a guided meditation session to help your mind quiet down and your body to relax. 

By this point, your body should be feeling nice and relaxed, and your mind should be settling down and feeling ready for some good quality, restful sleep. Some people find that it is the evening time when their anxiety tends to ramp up, and they find it very challenging to quiet their minds enough to sleep. If you are one of those people, and your mind is still racing despite the bedtime routine, try a few drops of Verima’s CBD tincture, either on its own or in a cup of your favorite herbal tea. Chamomile tea is a wonderful choice for an evening drink, and adding a few drops of CBD oil to it will help to calm your nerves, relax your mind, and prepare your body for sleep.

You may choose to incorporate this entire bedtime routine, or only a few parts of it, but whichever you choose, make it a point to set aside a bit of time for self-care every evening before you go to bed. Put that same love and effort into your own routine as you do your children’s, in order to make sure that you get the restful sleep you need and deserve, and that you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to be the best you the following day.