Do you ever start a vacation by stressing about returning to work at the end of the week?
I have found that I spend weeks looking forward to my next holiday, and then once it arrives, I become anxious about only having a week, or a long weekend, until I return. Will I be able to fit in everything I want to do? Will I have to stay late to catch up on work after my vacation?
I have recently been focusing on mindfulness, particularly while eating.
Mindfulness can help me in all areas of my life. I have learned to enjoy the chocolate cake or the walk on the beach, rather than just thinking about enjoying it. Here’s a (very brief) introduction to how I have been incorporating mindfulness. I recommending looking at the work of Geneen Roth or John Kabat-Zinn if you are interested in learning about mindfulness through eating or in general.
First, pay attention to what you are feeling.
For me, noticing the physical feelings in my body is most useful. I often feel pressure in my solar plexus, or a ball of anxiety in my stomach, or a tightening in my throat. I then acknowledge that I am stressed, and I allow myself to feel this way.
Next, take a deep breath.
Focus on the cake, or the beach, or the family dinner, that you are experiencing at the moment. How does it taste, smell, sound, and look? If it brings up any emotions, acknowledge them. For just a moment, forgot about getting the perfect Instagram picture or what will happen next week. Just breathe, and enjoy.
I find true relaxation and peace in this practice.
The moment I focus on seems to stretch, and I am able to appreciate the experience. And maybe the next moment I return to rushing through a walk on a beautiful beach while I ponder my inbox- but for that one moment, I was truly present, and I have truly benefited from the understanding of the moment.
I hope you take a moment during this busy holiday season to just be. Your mind will always be there, but this moment will only happen once.