Welcome to the first of the 12 Mindful Days.
Holidays can be hectic. But as the song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Right?
Do you focus on the joy the season brings? Or the stress?
When I took the StrengthsFinder test a couple of years ago at work, my results said I'm "restorative" (not to be confused with restorative yoga). It means I enjoy finding problems and fixing them. But the downside to that is I have a tendency to skip the celebration part; I’m always looking for the next problem. This also explains my self-critical ways. Weird.
Practicing mindfulness reminds me to take pleasure in things. Simple things. During the holidays, the fixer in me can find many “problems,” making it especially important for me to practice mindfulness and be fully present so I don't turn into a robot Grinch.
This 12 Mindful Days challenge is as much for myself as it is for you. The concept: One simple mindfulness exercise per day, for 12 days during the holiday season. I’d love for you to join me! And if you do, share your experiences with me — let’s be accountable to each other. Deal? Deal.
Day 1: Walking Light Tour
It’s winter, and the weather outside can be frightful … but if you give it a chance, you might find it’s actually delightful. Science says our lack of time in Momma Nature during the winter months can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — a form of depression.
Here's your task: Unless it’s freezing or icy, take a winter walk.
Here’s the catch: Enjoy it.
Take in all the sights, sounds and feelings around you. Notice how the cool air feels against your skin. Observe your breath (if you can see it) as it hits the air. Admire the twinkling lights strung on neighbors’ roofs. Be fully present in the experience of your walk and, if you’re into it, treat it as a walking meditation.
Let me know how it goes! Taking your pup is totally optional. You don't have to walk a long distance. You can walk 10 minutes or 2 hours. I took Lucy on a 30-ish minute walk through the neighborhood. I opted for a different route than I usually take to help prevent my mind from drifting, as I had newer sights and sounds to experience. It was refreshing and the best walk I've had in weeks.
If you'd like to share a photo as proof to keep each other accountable use the #12MindfulDays hashtag on Instagram. Oh, and be sure to bundle up. :)