5 minutes to relax (printout)

5 minutes to relax

I wanted to share a quick free print out for you to have so you can hang on your wall, pin, share in your media file, etc. to remind you to never think you don’t have time for relaxation. You need to find what works for you. Remember to share with us what you have found that you can do in 5 minutes that helps to alleviate the stress of our sometimes crazy, busy lives.

And stay tuned for this week’s post: Making the most of your time: Part 2 – 15 minutes. Happy reading!

 

Jenie

Making the most of the time you have: Part 1 – 5 minutes

We all know relaxation is important. It improves our productivity. It helps us to be more rational when faced with decisions. It helps us to not lash out at our loved ones. It helps us to have more peace of mind. I could go on and on. I know you’ve heard this once or twice, so I won’t sit here and list all the reasons you should also find time for you, even on the craziest of days. If you do want to read more, there are plenty of great articles that explain the reasons rest is so good for you (and some may even surprise you – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/stress-awareness-day-relaxation-benefits_n_1424820.html)

However, today’s post is about stopping the excuses as to why you don’t take the time to relax. I’ve heard them, and I’ve said them – “I just have too much to do,” “If I stop and take the time out to relax then I’ll never finish (you fill in the blank),”… But research has shown that even 5 minutes of relaxation can decrease stress and tension and help you to be a better YOU!

What can you do in 5 minutes that will actually benefit your mind and body and help you relax? There are so many things- yoga stretches, guided meditation (there’s a tone on YouTube for FREE!), journaling, etc. And you may be thinking, okay, but all of that is “boring”, “I just can’t get into it.”

Remember when I said NO EXCUSES! Here are some ways you can get into the 5 minute relaxation and enjoy your time doing it!

If you have 5 minutes alone –

Dance (like a toddler)

Why like a toddler? Because their dances are carefree. They aren’t thinking about what others thinking about their dance, or if they have the moves right, or do I have my face right? They are just freely letting themselves move the music, however inspired. Letting yourself dance to a song, in the privacy of your own space, can help you shed off all that negativity that you may be thinking about yourself or others and just letting your body move and groove to the music.

Look through old videos and photos

Especially the goofy and funny ones can make you laugh and reduce your stress levels. Either look through a photo album, or save certain pictures in an album on your phone that you can flip through easily when you need that 5 minute de-stress time. Don’t think you have any good ones that will make you laugh, well, check these out – http://www.sethcasteel.com/#!/home

And I dare you not to laugh… 😉

Singing at the top of your lungs

That’s right. Sing as loud as you can with no worry for pitch, tone, or range (I think I just hear Simon Cowell through up in his mouth). Just take a fun song and singing like you are performing your own concert. My favorite is “Baby Got Back”; and yes, I know ALL the words! Hey, not into singing aloud, or maybe you want to do this in your office without scaring everyone away, then do your own version of Lip Sync Karaoke. But beware…you may be so good and get caught up in it that your concert gets extended past the 5 minutes!

Enjoy a cup of coffee (or tea) and a piece of chocolate

It’s all about savoring the time. Taking the time to really taste the chocolate and enjoy the warmth of the coffee flowing through your body can reboost your energy level and allow your body to start working towards a more calm state of mind. But notice I said a piece. Eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate, in the right amount studies have shown can lower your stress hormone levels and even give you a boost of energy.

With our partner –

Hugging someone

Okay maybe not hugging for a full 5 minutes (awkward), but studies have shown that a good 20 second hug can increase levels of oxytocin (the “cuddle hormone”) and can help us reconnect with our loved ones and also reduce levels of those pesky stress hormones in our brains (aka – cortisol). Want to learn more about this awesome hormone and what else it does for us, check out this article: http://psychcentral.com/lib/about-oxytocin/

Say “I love you and appreciate you”

Just those words alone, in less than 5 minutes, can turn your day and your partner’s day around. Hearing the words, coming out of a place of real love and affection, without having to be prompted, will show your significant other that you were thinking about them. And doesn’t it feel good to have someone thinking about you?

Slow dance together

Whether you are married, engaged, or just dating, you know you have “a song” with your significant other. You don’t? Then take the time to think about “your song” could be. Play the song, and just dance together. Let your mind take you to the reason that you love this person, and why you are together.

With our kids –

Letting your child play with your hair

OMG! If you haven’t felt the amazing stress relieving effects of having someone play with your hair, then you are missing out. It is awesome! Unless the brush somehow gets tangled up in your hair, then it’s not so awesome. So maybe no brush.

Put on a dance PARTAY

http://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/Best-Fresh-Prince-Bel-Air-Dancing-GIFs-35805891

Here’s the dancing again! Music can be very healing while fun at the same time. Movement also helps kids get some energy out, meaning less screaming and stress for them, and more calm time for mommys and daddys. And the kids will love it!

Coloring a picture with your kids

Kids love to color, and now studies have shown that coloring can be relaxing for adults too! I know you’ve seen the adult coloring books that are out everywhere! However, if you don’t feel like putting on your Picasso hat and making a frame-worthy coloring sheet in 5 minutes, just enjoy sitting with your child, the calm that comes over you and him/her, and spending that time together.

Get outside and try to make images from the clouds

Wait, what? Okay, may sound a little weird, I know, but again, the point is to take your mind off what is stressing you to allow your brain to reset. And what better way to reset than to be in nature and be silly. Give it a try and have some fun with it!

S

Thanks for taking these 5 minutes to relax and enjoy this list! I’m so glad you stopped by. What can you add to the list that is fun way to take 5 minutes to relax? I’d love to hear from you, and I know everyone else would, too!

Remember to follow this post so you don’t miss Part 2 of Making the most of your time –with 15 minutes.

How to connect to your child today

In this crazy day and age, more and more things come in to play that can disrupt the communication in a family. You not only have daily activities of trying to hurry to get ready in the morning, trying to hurry back home to get homework done or to go to the number of after school activities and sports you may have lined up, but you also now have the addition of social media. All of these things can interfere with your ability as a parent to connect with your child/children on a real level. Not just the generic, “How was school?”, with a one word answer from the little, kind of connection, but a REAL connection where you get to speak sentences to your child and they speak back! Wow, what a concept.

So here are 4 easy ways to start connecting with your child today:

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In case this is not reading too well (still learning about blog posting, plug-ins, and all the other craziness), I’ll spell them out here:

  1. Stay up to date on the social media your child is on; become a part of those networks and share with each other the things you see.
  2. Tell you child “thank you”, “please”, etc., all the kind words you want them to use, demonstrates mutual respect in your relationship.
  3. Have fund and be silly with your child as much as possible – dance parties in the living room, game night with the family, etc.
  4. Travel with your child; whether it’s to the local park, the county fair, a favorite restaurant, sporting event, etc.; spend the day with them – talking, sharing, laughing.

This post is to get the conversation flowing, regarding how other parents keep connected with their kids even throughout our crazy, busy schedules.

I would love to hear from you and connect other parents together in a supportive environment where we share our worries, sorrows, and successes. Don’t be afraid to comment here, or email me at jchristopher.healthymind@gmail.com. I promise I won’t share your information with anyone and only want to grow a list of supporters.

Post again soon!

Proud to be a “hot mess mom”! – and why you should be too…

“You can do anything, but not everything.” – David AllenUntitled design (1)

So how did last week’s challenge go? Who was able to take those 5 minutes a day and do something just for YOU? I know it wasn’t easy, so I’m proud of you for even trying. For those who didn’t get the chance, don’t give up! Start slow, maybe one or two days a week, and then add on other days when you can. You’ll find it gets easier with time. And for those that got it perfected, share with us! I want this to be interactive and a great place for people to boost each other up, and to take pride in your accomplishments.

Speaking of taking pride…I wanted to talk about ownership. Not like ownership in the sense of owning a car, or a house, or whatever. But owning who and what you are. So in light of that statement, here is me taking ownership – I am a hot mess mom. (I also can be a hot mess wife, friend, and daughter, but let’s stick with one at a time, shall we.)

I have tried over and over to be that Pinterest mom that takes her kids on scavenger hunts every weekend; to create some kind of nature collage from the dirt and leaves that we find on our nature walks; that has the cutesty, little chore chart that keeps everyone organized, and on time for all of our activities (instead of running out the door with one shoe on, the other hanging by its shoe strings in my teeth while I grab the littlest one before she makes a death dive down our stairs for the fourth time this morning). But I can’t be her! I’m just not that type of mom. I’m a working mom; a commuting mom; a cleaning mom (some of the time); a working out mom; a t ball mom (which I LOVE by the way); and a trying to be an entrepreneur mom. And don’t forget awesome and devoted wife as well. With all that, I don’t have time to fit in much else.

There used to be times that I hated that I was a hot mess. I hated that I just couldn’t pull myself together to have the kids ready 30 minutes BEFORE we were supposed to leave, instead of 30 minutes AFTER. I hated that I was always having to run to the store at the last minute because it totally slipped my mind that it was Dr. Seuss week at school and the kids were suppose to wear their favorite character’s costume, when, that’s right, TOMORROW!

Well, you know what. I’ve had just about enough of the hate. And so, I stopped. I stopped hating that I couldn’t get it together and started basking in the things that I do pull together.

So to all you other “hot mess moms”, here are the things you need to own, to be proud of, and to take joy in knowing that hot mess moms are also wonderful moms:

  • You are not alone. I mean there is a whole online store dedicated to moms who claim to be a hot mess: http://hotmessmom.com/store/. And if there is shopping involved, it’s always good.
  • Your kids see you as a rock star! Trust me; they do. They may not say it every day, and it may not always show, but your kids see all the effort you put into making that cute little pancake bunny breakfast; or showing up and surprising them for a book read at their school when you can take the afternoon off; or when you just sit down and take the time to read their favorite book with them out of nowhere, not just because it was bedtime; or play their favorite board game with them. They see this, and they totally admire you for it and love you even more for all that you do for them. Because you are their mommy superstar!
  • You know how to make the best of those silent moments when you get them. Wait, both kids are napping at the same time – hello bubble bath!
  • You are a woman of mystery. I mean if a movie is made about it, it has to be a good thing. Right?!
  • You’ve learned to laugh at yourself, and be okay with it. In the words of Mindy from The Mindy Project, “I figure if I’m gonna be a mess, I might as well be a hot mess.” That’s right. I mean there is no better mess, than a hot one.
  • You are great at empathizing. You know the struggle is real to drag yourself out of bed every morning, early enough so you can get yourself ready first, then get the kids up, get them dressed, fed, and ready for school; then out the door, to school, on time, so you can get to work on time – and that’s just the start of the day. When you see another mom who looks like she is literally thinking, “I cannot do this anymore,” you go over, with no judgment, and just put your hand on her shoulder to tell her, “You’ve got this. Take a long, deep breath, because you are an awesome mom.” And your kids learn how to comfort others by watching you. You see it in those moments you have when you feel like you are about to lose it, so you sit down, trying to keep it together, and your little one tugs at your shirt, saying, “Mommy, can I have a hug?” Winning!

So I admit it: I am a hot mess. And I am proud to be a hot mess mom.

I’m not perfect, and life has been better once I stopped trying to convince everyone else that I am. The more I tried to hide my flaws, the harder it was to relax, to enjoy life and be with others, and the less fun I became. I had to add a statement to my list of positive affirmations: “I’m not perfect; no one expects me to be; and I can ask for help when I need it.” Oh it felt SO good to say that out loud! So much rolled off my shoulders at that moment, and I felt freer, more ME than I had in a LONG time.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t take ownership of my responsibilities either. It’s not always easy, but I know what my role is in my family, and I find ways to make things happen; to get things done. They just might not be done perfectly; and I’m okay with that!

This world cannot be discovered alone. It’s too big for that! In the world of being a mom, be proud that “you can do anything, but not everything.” –David Allen

I’ve learned that my challenges can become my strengths – through perseverance, patience, and time. Let’s stop thinking that we have character flaws, and instead only character advantages. It’s a benefit to be someone who can empathize with others, who can be a superstar, who knows how to laugh in the face of adversity, and who knows to never take advantage of any given day. And that is something I can be proud to own.

What can you start owning today about yourself? What are your character advantages that you are proud of?

Hectic, crazy, beautiful life

I want to start off by saying, I do not like breaking promises. It stresses me when I have to cancel on someone because of another life event or to not be able to fulfill a duty. So in efforts to make sure I don’t break any promises here, I am going to still post a weekly healthy mind tip…but it’s going to be a short one.

Life happened this week. My hectic, crazy beautiful life happened along with some unexpected turns to help a grieving friend and caring for a sick child. And before I knew it, it was Saturday! As we all know too well, time stands still for no one. And sometimes we are left with these weeks where we fill like things were just happening around us without us being able to control anything going on. If you’re like me, this can leave you stressed, cranky, and lashing out at your loved ones before you even know what has happened.

Making yourself stop, for even 5 minutes each day, can help you gain back that control. It can help you reset your brain that is screaming at you that it needs a time out before it blows! So today’s post is more of a challenge – a challenge to try mediating for 5 minutes each day, starting today. Meditation does not just mean sitting crossed-legged with hands on your knees making “hmmmm”-ing noises. It can be anything that makes you feel more calm and relaxed after. Taking a 5 minute walk and listening to nature; taking a 5 minute break to read a passage in your bible or in a book that relates to what you are going through; taking a 5 minute yoga stretch break; and the list could go on and on.

The purpose is to allow the negative thoughts that are playing in your head to go in and out without staying. Don’t force them out. Just let them come in, play out, and leave. I’ll warn you, this will be very hard at first, but with practice it gets easier. So don’t give up!

I’ll do another more detailed post on this soon, but accept this challenge with the thought that you are not the victim of what happens to you. You can control yourself and your thoughts, but you have to allow yourself the time to relax, breathe and remind yourself how much you love this hectic, crazy, beautiful life.

I’d love to hear from you at the end of the week challenge about how this went and what you found worked for you. Leave a comment here or you can always email me at jchristopher.healthymind@gmail.com.

Talk with you next week!

7 Healthy Choices to help you achieve a Healthy Mind

With the days of athleisure (love me some Fabletics!) and organic foods, more and more people are looking to live a healthier lifestyle. Having a healthier lifestyle means making healthier choices. If you want to start eating healthier, you choose to buy more produce and whole grains versus chips and junk food. If you want to start working on developing that six pack, then you choose an exercise plan that will help you develop the muscles needed to look how you want to look. But many people ask themselves, how do I know if I’m eating the right foods? How do I know that these 100 crunches a night will help me have the six pack I’m dreaming of? How do I know that my choices are actually, well, healthy?

The answer would be: ASK and CONSULT! Consult with your family practitioner or a dietician on what is “healthy eating”. Ask for personal trainer to teach you an exercise routine that will help you build muscle and lose the fat, or even just ask a friend/spouse/family member to be your accountability partner; someone who will help you and support you through your journey.

What about when you are talking about getting your mind healthy? How do you start changing how you think about your life, your environment, and even yourself? It is still about choices. (Here’s where I start talking about all that evidence-based research stuff.)

Here are 7 healthy choices to help you have a healthy mind:

  • Repeat 3 positive affirmations before you even get out of bed each morning. Start your day off right with reminding yourself how wonderful you are, how strong you are, and how determined you are to make the best of this day.
  • Take the words of Elsa: “Let it go!” I know, just when you could forget about that song and stop singing it on repeat in your head, I have to bring it back up. But really, if it is not something you can change at that moment – Let it go. If it is not something you can control – Let it go. In Choice Theory by William Glasser, the number one axiom of the theory states: “The only person whose behavior we can control is our own.”
  • Free your work space of clutter – and your mind will follow. Clutter is one of the number one reasons people find it hard to focus. Your mind sees all the mess around you and does not know how to start cleaning it up, or where to start (especially if you have symptoms of attention-deficit, which I know I do). And many times, messes can lead to feelings of frustration, agitation, and lack of determination, without you even knowing that’s the reason you are feeling that way. Free your desk of clutter, and see if it’s not a little easier to focus on that project that you’ve been working on for 5 days that you just can’t seem to finish.
  • On that same note, take 10-15 minutes each day cleaning up and organizing items in your home. Just making yourself start can be the biggest challenge, especially when you are tired from working all day, taking the kids to basket/baseball/cheerleading/ballet/etc., and then coming home and making dinner and getting everyone ready for bed. Wow…I’m tired just thinking about all that can go on. But telling yourself, I just want to do 10 minutes of putting those towels away that have set in the laundry basket for over a week, and wiping down the bathroom counters, can make a big difference in how you end your day.
  • Have a routine, and follow it the best you can. Yes, I know life happens (see number 4 for a brief list of life happenings), but as much as you can, keep a routine for how you get ready in the morning, how you get the kids ready and off to school/daycare, what you do when you get home from work/school, and how you get ready for bed each night. Having a routine provides your brain with structure. It can help your kids know what is expected of them, and you can redirect them to the next step if you need to go tend to another life moment. But, when life happens unexpectedly…take 5 deep breaths (breathing in for 4 counts, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, and hold for 4 – repeat) and LET IT GO! Remember, you can’t always control what happens or how others react, but you cannot let the unexpected completely set you off your path of having a healthy mind.
  • Take 5 minutes each night to let the people in your life know you love them. Even when things seem to have gone wrong -maybe you didn’t quite handle the sibling fight as well as you wanted, or you yelled a little more during homework time than you ever would have wanted – let your kids/significant other/family/friends know you are human, and you make mistakes, but it does not stop you from loving them. That is one thing that will never change – no matter what.
  • Spend each night writing in a gratitude journal. There is always something to be thankful for – even on the worst days. And remembering all those great things, helps you to stay focused on the positive and focused on the things that matter most.

We can choose to practice thinking more positively and wanting to have a better life for ourselves.

So, it’s just that easy? I can choose to change my life, and my life changes. Of course not. I’m a realist here. It’s about options. You have the option to make changes in your life.

You can choose to ask for help when you can’t do it alone. You can decide that you are not your happiest/healthiest, and you are ready to make changes. If you feel stuck, or just want someone to talk to in order to ensure yourself you’re making the right choices for you and your family, contact a mental health professional in your area today. They are there to help guide you, identify your personal strengths and decide what changes you need to implement in order to make optimal progress for your life successes.

You can choose your behaviors, and you can choose to have a healthier mind.

Are you ready to make changes? Are there other things you do on a daily basis that help you have a healthier mind? I would love to hear from you. Email me at jchristopher.healthymind@gmail.com

 

Healthy, Happy Mind

Are you ready to help your mind deal with unneeded guilt, worry, sorrow, and/or anger in a healthier way? Do you have a desire to live every day with a healthier and happier mindset? Are you dedicated and committed to making changes so that you are actually living, and not just existing day to day? If so, you’ve stumbled upon the right place! I am Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and have dedicated myself to helping others. I love seeing that “Aha!” moment happen, and want more people to have that moment where they finally feel their life has come together. Here I will post weekly tips, evidenced-based and common sense, to help you achieve a life where you are confident in the choices you are making, and these choices will lead you to a life where you, and the people you love, are stronger, healthier and happier!

Stay tuned for more informative posts, and commit to a healthier mind…a healthier YOU!