Wednesday, March 5, 2014

LENTEN MINDFULNESS


It is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent.

I am not going to give-up anything this year most because the Diabetes has already put most of my guilty pleasures out-of reach.

Instead, I am going to really focus on mindfulness, diet, exercise and sleep over the Lenten period with the hope that a concerted effort will result in a more regular assimilation of these practices.

Over the years, I have never been a great sleeper. In fact, my modes operandi was to keep going on a few hours sleep a day, completely crashing every other Sunday. This worked well until the kids arrived. When they were babies I grabbed a nap whenever I could to compensate for the fact that we always seemed to be up. As they have grown older, it seems the only time we have for ourselves to decompress is after 10:00. The result is a 12:30 a.m. or later turn-down and a 6:30 a.m. rise. My body just cannot function on five or less hours sleep a night.  The result is irritability, less focus and automatic robot mode. It affects my eating habits and my desire to exercise.

Diet in the post diabetes diagnosis era is often a challenge. When once considers the hectic schedule of running kids around, homework, volunteer activities. Preparing healthy meals takes time and preparation. Throw in the challenge of balancing my needs and eliminating carbs, or at least the volume of them, and it gets perplexing.

Time is the big challenge on the exercise front. I have been trying to get to the gym at noon and walk on the treadmill after supper. With contract work, fluctuating clients schedules and the kids needs, flexibility becomes nigh existent.

The mindfulness meditations and exercises have been integrated into my daily routine. I try to practice meditations daily and use these tools to slow time down, to react thoughtfully instead of instinctively to the stressors that cause me anxiety.  The result is a healthy mind, more energy and focus.

I hope that practice over the Lenten period provides me with the focus, determination and faith to continue to rewire my approach to life so that mindfulness becomes my instinctive behavioral approach to life’s ups and downs – big or small.

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