Perfect Health (Why I am learning to meditate)
You may remember that back at the start of the year I announced that 2013 was going to be the year for being proactive with my health. I started going for a daily walk and I began a practice of daily yoga. For about 2 weeks.
Then, life got in the way as it had always done before. Suddenly I was too busy, taking an hour out to go for a walk seemed like an indulgence, there were other more productive things I should be doing. So here we are, into the third month and nothing much has changed.
Over the last week or so I have really noticed how unhealthy I am feeling, I am constantly tired and lethargic, my hormones are all over the place and I just want to nap. I have realised something else too - by refusing to take care of my body I am also neglecting how I function in other capacities. I have less focus and concentration, I am more prone to worrying and anxiety.
So, I started really examining what "Perfect health" means to me. When I started to explore the idea I realised that it isn't so much about how I look or what the scales say but it is about how I feel - how aligned and balanced my mind and body are.
And so, in a fresh page in my journal I wrote out this:
Let me clarify something about the perfect part of that statement. I don't mean that I commit to running 10k everyday, surviving on green juice and spending 2 hours in the yoga studio. What I do mean is that I commit to taking my health seriously, I commit to doing it in a way that works for me and is sustainable and I commit to not beating myself up if I slip one day but instead picking it up the next day and not giving up.
So what will this really look like for me?
- Giving up alcohol for one month
- Cutting out as much processed/sugary foods as possible
- Switching to wholegrains (bread, cereal, pasta etc)
- Eating more fruit and veg
- Drinking more water
- Walking each day (even if I can only fit 10 minutes in)
- Daily yoga (again even if only for 10 minutes)
- Starting each day with meditation
That last one makes me giggle - if someone had told me that I would be starting a daily meditation practice, I would have told them they were crazy. Sitting still and switching off my thoughts? Not possible. Then about a week ago someone recommended I give it a go and so I did.
And I loved it.
Seriously, I sat for 10 minutes in silence listening only to the sound of my breathing and by the end of it I felt relaxed, refreshed and centered. I had always wrongly assumed that meditation was only for Buddhist monks or hippy-types but I realised that it is simply a tool for clearing space in our heads for the good stuff to get through. So I signed up for this meditation practice (which by complete coincidence happened to focus on perfect health!) and now each morning I start with 10 minutes of quiet time. I highly recommend it.
My hope for the future is that I can create practices that stick so that I can feel more balanced and at ease with myself. Starting today I commit to the above for one month. That's it - one month to see what difference it makes, then at the end of the month I will review and regroup. This isn't about losing 2 stone in 6 weeks or making radical change but it is about taking a gradual approach to self-care. It is about experimenting to find what works and is sustainable.
I would love to know what practices you have in place (or want to put in place) to care for yourself so please feel free to leave a comment below!