Mindful: Rest

For years we knew that making our Sundays an official day of rest, with no set plans or to-dos, was important to us as a couple and something we should strive for. But for some reason we could never get into a groove (Should we go to church? Work on house projects? Run errands? Do nothing?).

And then, we had kids. While having children certainly makes life busier and more chaotic in many ways (whew), it also slows certain parts of life down. Sleeping schedules and limited stamina of little ones forces you to stay home more (which, being a home body, is perfectly fine with me!). And so over time, our Sundays have naturally become an intentional day of rest. We go to a morning service at our church (which we found earlier this year and finally feel settled into), and apart from that we make no plans – anything that must get done is taken care of during the rest of the week. We take naps, read books, enjoy each other’s company. In the evening we might walk down to the park for a picnic (complete with wine), or stay home for a movie.

These days, rather than facing a weekend of infinite to-dos and social plans, where “rest” may come in fits and starts (if at all), it is so comforting to know that whatever the week brings, on Sunday, there will be rest and no obligations. It has truly been good for our family’s hearts and wellbeing, and I highly recommend it. I think it will be especially important to hold tight to our Sunday habits now that the Christmas season is in full swing. What more important time of year to take the time to rest, remember, and enjoy!

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Mindful: Eating

Above: where we start our day, every day.

The holiday season is the perfect time to assess my relationship to eating. While I try hard to feed myself and my family whole and healthy food, I rarely think very deeply about the actual process of eating while I’m doing it. It can be such a mechanical, necessary task that I forget to experience the pleasure of enjoying food beyond its functional purpose. On the flip side, I also have an insatiable sweet tooth, which often sabotages mindful eating – I can never have just one bite (and Lord help me, it’s baked goods season!).

A few things I’m focusing on to eat more mindfully this time of year:

Pause and ask. From the last bites of sandwich I finish even though I’m full, to the random bites on my toddler’s abandoned plate, I often automatically consume something just because it’s there. Then I wonder where that afternoon energy slump or blah feeling in my stomach came from. Just pausing for a moment to make a conscious choice about what I’m about to put in my mouth (i.e., Will this cold mac and cheese actually taste good or nourish me? Probably not.) is the most helpful eating habit I’ve come across (although remembering to do it is half the battle! haha).

Resist the lie of scarcity. When faced with so many comforting and nostalgic food choices of the season (PSLs! Casseroles! Pie!), I’m aware of my goofy, subconscious belief that I have to eat all of them, all at once, and all at the same time before it all disappears forever. When I stop and remember that there will always be another opportunity to eat this or that, I can decide if I actually want what’s being offered, and then enjoy a small serving or pass until next time.

Taste it. God could have easily created us to be sustained only on water and air; instead he blessed us with food that nourishes and satisfies us on so many levels. Most meals, whether from forgetfulness or necessity, I rush through each bite without taking time to experience the smells, tastes, and textures. This season I want to enjoy and be thankful for each bite.

Be with those I love. Sharing food with loved ones is a sacred practice, and I miss out on precious moments with my family when I eat hurriedly over the sink. I’m challenging myself to sit down with my boys during breakfast, and ask my husband thoughtful questions during dinner. And when we’re seated around a family table for holiday meals, I want to take a deep breath and be present with those I love.

If you have any more tips for mindful eating this season, I’d love to hear!

Mindfulness

Above: our daily dumping ground just inside our front door. Can you tell we love neutrals? (haha)

In the busyness of day-to-day life, I’ve observed that I find more meaning, rest, and joy if I approach the most important people and things with thoughtfulness and intention. This is a learned skill I am still wobbly at. It can be shockingly easy to go through our days, letting them happen to us, can’t it? Staying home with little ones, who require so much of me mentally and physically, sometimes I find myself dazed at the end of the day, wondering where all those minutes and hours went.

This season of the year, with all the holidays, travel, activity and loved ones, it can be extra challenging to find time and space among the noise to truly enjoy what we value most: family, health, food, celebration, rest. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some thoughts re: how I (imperfectly) strive for more mindful daily living. (Disclaimer: I’m actually writing this series as a reminder for myself – to stop for a moment and thankfully experience the life I’ve been given and savor this beautiful time of year).

Here’s a peek at the topics: Eating / Rest / Marriage / Parenting / Technology

Enjoy! xo