I always hear about how wonderful meditation is for an individual. I think you’re supposed to be more relaxed, happy, agreeable, calm, attractive, wealthy, and/or tall if you meditate. Some of those may not be accurate…
I am an anxious and stressed out person by default. I have had worries since I was little. (To illustrate: one time my dad didn’t put on the parking break on his truck at night. His truck rolled down the hill and into a tree. Was any of this my responsibility as a kid? No… but did I wake up in the middle of the night to go look for his truck for a good month after it happened? Yep. I develop worries and my brain cultivates them.) And this anxiety has only increased by at least tenfold since I got married and then became a parent.
To try combating this, I have attempted to add meditation in my life on many occasions. I have downloaded numerous meditation apps and stopped using every one of them. I have a Headspace membership and I never use it, because it makes me more stressed out sitting there listening to it. If I try to take 5, 2, or even 1 minute to myself, most of the time I end up with a small kid calling out to me. “Mooooooooooommmmmmmmm” isn’t really conducive to meditation.
(Unless it is…. and then I’m going to make an app called “Meditate Like a Mother” and it will just play various Mom sounds randomly for people who don’t have children so they can also reap the benefits of constant interruption. Heads up: the app also screams it out in the middle of the night.)
So anyway, when I was offered the chance to review a meditation book called “Eff This!” I was like, “Yeah… that’s how I feel about meditation.”
The book is not very long and it isn’t designed to be a book to sit down and read it all straight through. It’s more of a book to keep on hand if you somehow magically find that there is nothing else occupying your time and you need something to do.
HA HA HA!!!
Actually, it’s a way to try and self-soothe in little chunks of time that you can try to allocate to yourself when life has you feeling roughed up.
So I’m going to show you some of the activities in the book that I found by opening randomly, while also trying to randomly be in each of the time limits available.
The one-minute practice I landed on was to set your intentions for the day. This is a nice idea, but often I wake up with a kid poking me in the face. So I never do something like this first thing in the day. But maybe it would be good to consider when I first sit down at my desk for the day? Make it work for yourself, right?
Do something kind for someone. This is a good one. Have you ever had someone ahead of you buy your Starbucks as a surprise? It usually makes you feel pretty good, right? Well, paying that forward can also go a long way toward making yourself feel good*. Or you can start the chain for the day and assume that everyone for the rest of the day kept doing it.
(Except when the person in front of you buys your drink and you say, “Oh, well let me get the next order then.” And the person working the Starbucks drive-thru says, “Their order is $37.” and you immediately blurt out, “WHAT?!” True story… but then the Starbucks barista said, “Yeah, that’s a lot, the person that is NEXT next in line has a $4 order, want that one?” Uh… yes please!)
I loved chatting with people on the phone… when I was in middle school. These days, not so much. But hey, they even cover that by recommending some other avenue. And I do like to engage in a quick little FB Messenger conversation with a friend from time-to-time. Maybe it feels like a treat because I telecommute and have solitary working time or I’m with my kid who talks incessantly. Either way, talking with a friend is fun.
Play with a kid… I admit, this one is not necessarily feeling like I hit the jackpot. I play with my kid A LOT. And sometimes, I don’t like it. I really don’t have much to add to a game of Beanie Boos. But sometimes it’s fun too, especially when we play games together. (Not hide and seek, man that game is a drag.)
1 Hour or Longer
I am all for the idea of Taking a Hike! Get me out on the trails and I’m happy. This one is something I pretty much constantly crave and it really does do wonders for my mental outlook. I also have to really plan to get some quality time on the trails. But when it happens… that bliss can last for a good 20 minutes or so. 😉
The great thing about Eff This! Meditation is it points out some great ways to work on self-care that are a little unexpected. Sure, there are some common ideas that are constantly thrown around in the world (take a bath), but I also like the idea that going through your inbox and unsubscribing from emails is a way to relieve some of the stress in your life.