Mindful May: Spring Cleaning Brain Clutter and Enjoying the Moment
You know that little nagging voice that you sometimes ignore? Matt would say yes, and that the voice is mine. But what I'm talking about is that inner voice in the back of your mind that's usually right even though sometimes you don't want to listen. It might be telling you to finish that thing on your to-do list you keep putting off, that maybe you could be eating healthier, or that you’re spending too much time on your phone. Lately I've been ignoring the fact that I should be getting a little more sleep and focusing more on being mindful.
When things get busy mindfulness and self care are the first things I let go. It's not instantly gratifying and feels more like an indulgence than something productive. While I spend a few hours doing yoga each week, there's a whole lot of hours left where mindfulness is that last thing I'm thinking about. And if I’m being honest, I’m not always all that mindful even during yoga. Plenty of times I’m thinking about all of the things on my to-do list for the day. Or I'm having a running commentary judging my own yoga practice as I move through the poses. Or I'm thinking about how much I suck at taking deep breaths at the end of the yoga class when the only thing I need to do in that moment is just take some RELAXING DEEP BREATHS.
While I’m being honest, I've also gotten into the habit of watching Instastories in bed before I fall asleep. I know staring at a bright screen before going to bed is a terrible idea. It also means I end up going to sleep later than I should. But it's a fun way for me to unwind and something I don't really want to stop. Even while I’m enjoying watching the latest try-on haul from my favorite influencers or the latest video of my favorite little puppy nephew that annoying inner voice is saying “Put. The. Phone. Down. And SLEEP.”
The world “mindfulness” is so nebulous. It also seems hard. And unattainable. And what does it really even mean? Google's definition is: "a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique." Sounds kind of nice, no?
The way I’m choosing to interpret mindfulness is living in the moment and focusing on being present. I’m constantly thinking about what’s coming next, what things I need to do, what things I’m worried about or excited about, and what things I need to do now to make my future better. But if I never focus on enjoying the present and living in the moment then really that “better future” is never going to arrive. There’s ALWAYS going to be something to be working towards. I’m finally realizing I need to try making an effort to be present and mindful. And unplug occasionally.
Mindfulness is super challenging for me, which is why I’m devoting May to making little changes towards being more mindful. And since I love alliteration, I’m calling it Mindful May!
My plan is to have a new little habit to try each week of May. If I’m enjoying the new habit, I can continue with it. If I hate it, it’s only seven days and then I can forget it and move on. I also plan to add little extra
challenges practices to do at least once during the month. I would love for you guys to join me!
I'm going to share my current plan for the month below. Each week I plan on checking in to give a little more details on my plan for that week's practice. I'll also reflect on how things are going. Since May has 4.5 weeks, feel free to take the rest of this week to think about how you'd like to interpret Mindful May and if you want to participate. Since we’re being mindful, I encourage you to think about what little habits or practices would be most helpful and enjoyable for YOU. The beauty of focusing on mindfulness is that you're the expert on what your mind needs the most. Likely so is that annoying little voice.
One thing I did in preparation for this month is a “spring cleaning” for my brain. Basically I did a brain dump of all the things that were draining energy and taking up space in my mind and put them on paper. You might remember my mention of it in Friday Favorites. It has helped me get things done that I had been putting off and to come up with a plan for when to tackle bigger projects. I’m going to continue to do brain dumps throughout May to help manage stress and minimize brain clutter. I highly recommend doing this in preparation for the first full week of the month!
Are you going to join in for Mindful May? If you do participate, I'd love for you to share what you're doing!