We are in the busiest time of the year. We run around with our children, attending Christmas functions, end of school/kindy/sports assemblies. We are closing up studies, school, work and extra curricular activities. At the same time we are running households and family in the midst of trying to make this time special, buy presents, plan the family holiday, do holiday activities and do things to make special memories.
I don’t know about you but I find it hard to look after myself in these busy times. The children are washed, brushed, dressed and fed (even if it is in the car, on the way to school, or the way to the next party). We have what we need (even if it means nipping into the supermarket for the essentials that we always seem to run out of). The dishes are washed (even if I have forgotten to eat, have a cuppa or even put deodorant on!)
I want to encourage you to find some minutes in every day to stop and breathe. Rest your body and soul.
Take these moments and don’t feel guilty! Don’t think about the dishes on the sink (in the lounge or outside in the car). Leave the washing in the basket (even if you have to pop it back in for a quick cycle to get rid of that funky smell). The toothpaste can stay in the sink and give it a deep clean. The rice bubbles on the table, couch or floor can be vacuumed up later (if they aren’t eaten by the toddler first). The children can watch telly a few more minutes and, you know what? The cat can wait for its breakfast!
I’m asking you to zone out. Let the constant “mum, mum, mum, mum….” be your chant. Let it lull you as put your hands around your hot cuppa, close your eyes and take a deep breath; and then let it all out, slowly. If you are too quick, try it again and ah. Imagine you are in a peaceful place and maybe even daydream!
Did you know that if you take the time to daydream for 6 minutes, you are giving your prefrontal cortex a break!* This is the part of your brain that does the planning, thinking and moderating of your social behaviour. By giving this part a break, you are strengthening your ability for better decision making, planning and the way you interact with other people. Daydream about something that will bring that smile back on your face!
Did you know that smiling is a super power? According to research**, smiling makes you look younger and thinner – oh yeah! It will elevate your mood and promote your sense of wellbeing. Smiling induces more pleasure in the brain than chocolate! Wait, what?! Smiling makes you look more confident and likable. Even a forced smile is a mood boost! And the one I think is the best of all: smiling is contagious! So you can elevate someone else’s mood, just by flashing them… a smile! 🙂
So in other words, by giving yourself 6 minutes to rest, daydream and smile, you are doing a community service! Definitely not something to feel guilty about!
Toni Rae Burford
SA Region Leader
- Rasmus Hougaard, coauthor of One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work With Mindfulness
** University of Missouri-Kansas City, 2016