March Habit: Meditation and a February Habit Recap

+ Yay! It’s a new month which means a new monthly habit and a recap of last month’s. These monthly experiments help me build healthy habits, break unhealthy ones or just learn more about myself so I can figure out what’s really essential!

Oh my, hello March! This month snuck up on me but I’m really excited for this experiment: Meditation March. I can’t believe I haven’t written a post on meditation yet, though I do mention it quite a bit. Meditation is such a good fit here at the Essentialists… it’s about slowing down, noticing where you are and focusing on the essence of something. We’ve been fans for over five years and it was a crucial element to my healing. So why do we need a new habit around meditation if it’s already a habit? We’d like more and we’d like to get back to starting the day with it.

For a while, meditation was a part of My Morning Routine and it was fabulous. But things changed when I got pregnant. I stopped practicing the routine when I had 20 weeks of horrible morning sickness. I continued to meditate daily though, using pain meditations. Oh, and meditation is so valuable during the third trimester and childbirth. And then we had Peanut and it was about survival for a few months. I still continued to meditate daily though, either to help myself fall asleep at odd hours of the day or during the many hours of nursing in the beginning.

For the most part, meditation simply makes me a happier person but there are other benefits I’ve noticed. Meditation helps me:
+ be mindful of the thoughts in my head so I can quiet the critical voice
+ get in touch with my intuition
+ stay more focused throughout the day
+ calm my nervous system (less anxiety!)
+ start the morning with self-care so I feel more taken care of the rest of the day

So for the month of March, I’m getting back into meditating daily first thing in the morning.
+ As soon as I wake up, before feeding Peanut, I’ll sneak into his room (our old meditation room/studio) and enjoy the light and peace. (He’ll spend this bit of time with Greg)
+ I’m going to start with 5 minutes (start small!) and add time weekly, hopefully working up to 10 minutes a day by the end of the month.
+ I’ll do both guided (still loving the app Buddhify) and unguided meditations depending on how I’m feeling.
+ As my thoughts wander, I will take notice, bring them back to the meditation, and continue.

I’m feeling better already! As always, I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. <3

++ Greg is joining in Meditation March but is choosing to add his session daily before lunch.

Reflections on our February Habit: Food Journal:
For the month of February, Greg and I kept food journals, recording everything we ate for the day. The question was, would we eat differently if we had to write everything down?

The answer is... kind of. :/ Early on, we decided to use an app that lets you record your meals as well as take a photo of what you’re eating. (We used the very simple My Diet Tracker... do you have a better one?)

We both noticed a shift in our eating habits for the first few days...
+ It’s kind of a pain to stop and write everything down so we wouldn’t just grab a quick snack or bite.
+ The before photos also helped as we had to pre-portion our servings. We could only eat what was in the photo!
+ The act of recording meals certainly made us more aware of what we were eating. Awareness is the first step to many changes.
+ And I ended up eating more which became a goal of mine. Sometimes I feel like Peanut eats more lunch than I do so I portioned out what I wanted to eat and tried to finish it.
+ After about the first week, we adapted and stopped making better choices. We both feel that if we had more accountability (i.e., sharing this information somewhere), the healthier habits would have stuck.

I've learned a little bit from this experiment but I'm looking forward to putting less effort into my eating. The more I listen to what my body wants (yes, you may have 10 french fries), the more satisfied I am and ultimately, the better I eat. Awareness is important but, for me, so is having a relaxed attitude and giving myself space to just be.