Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mind. Body. Soul.

I'm on a mission.

After the crazy long semester I've had (yes, I still think in semesters because working at a college will make you do that!) I'm on a mission to find some inner peace.

I got to a place I didn't like. I got so busy that I couldn't enjoy the life I was building for myself. As you'll see in this post, I was on a never-ending cycle of busy. Saying yes to others, even though I really did WANT to help them, was eating away at my quality of life. I was eating like crap, not exercising, drinking too much wine to reduce stress, and was completely exhausted all day long. Geez, just writing that out makes me cringe.

SO, after making a commitment to focus on my well being, we're off to a great start! Here are some of my tricks that have me on the road to peace.

1. YOGA! 

I must confess, I've always hated exercise. Well, and sweating. I've tried so hard to actually like running, Zumba, kickboxing, but they never stuck. Now yoga is another story. I looooooove love yoga. I actually look forward to it! It's so therapeutic on your mind and body. A sense of calm and strength envelops you as you move through the poses. And it's non-competitive or judgmental, so it's good for everyone!It's also such a spiritual endeavor for me.

Enjoying some sunrise yoga. So peaceful! (Photos by Kati Van Dunk)

This is my yoga instructor Amy. Maybe one day I'll look like this!

2. Eating whole foods. 

I'm not gonna lie, this takes some getting used to. I grew up in the "Bagel Bites and Poptarts" convenience food days with a single mom and a busy life. I think so many of us carry those bad eating habits into adulthood and pass them on to the next generation.

My husband studied nutrition and health in college and has really made me conscious of the things I put into my body. One of his tips is "If you can't pronounce the ingredients in the food, you shouldn't eat it."

We have a great farmer's market in town that we frequent, and it not only makes you feel good about eating natural food, but also you support your local economy and hard working folks. And that gives you warm fuzzies all around! And, I didn't know what was missing in my life until I had a juicy, sweet, homegrown tomato and giant East Texas blueberries. O.M.G.

Love me some farmers market goodness!

3.) Less TV, more music.

This step was so important for me. Just think of all the wasted time you spend mindless zoning out in front of the tube and the productive things you could be doing instead. Quality programming is so hard to find these days anyway, so why do we spend precious moments of our lives listening to Snooki's baby mama drama? Cut it out, it's toxic.

Instead, I've decided to fill my time with listening to awesome new music and discovering new artists. I love the feeling of finding a song that speaks to your soul. Here are a few of good ones I have on my current playlist:

"My Better Self" - Tennis
"Big Black Car" - Gregory Alan Isakov
"Up Against the Wall" - Peter Bjorn and John
"You're a Wolf" - Sea Wolf
"North by North" - Faded Paper Figures
"New World"- Devotchka
"Rome" - Phoenix

If you have any good ones, share with me in the comments! I love finding new music.

4.) Pray.

There's nothing more relaxing than giving it all to God at the end of the day. An overwhelming peace comes over you when you just talk to God like an old friend. Try it every night for a week. Don't forget to be thankful for all your blessings, too. Closing your eyes may open your eyes to how lucky you really are.

5.) Create.

This is what makes me really tick. For me, making things with my hands is the ultimate form of therapy.  Putting on a record, painting, sewing, drawing, making things....ahhhh. My studio is my happy place. A tip to making it stay this way is to designate an area and keep it organized. A cluttered craft room isn't conducive to happy crafting!

6.) Enjoy now.

Kiss your husband deeply. Hug your puppies when you get in the door, and accept all those sloppy kisses. Be playful. Be kind. Don't let negativity have a place in your heart. And for heaven sakes, say no. And keep on saying it. I read this awesome article on Zen Habits about saying no. It's not as scary as you may think.

In fact all of Zen Habits posts are amazingly insightful if you're looking for a more simple life. Go browse around and take all that advice to heart! It includes everything from escaping materialism to slowing your life down. Read more here.

So take some time to make a conscious effort to focus on what makes you truly happy and what feeds your mind, body and soul. I promise you'll reap the benefits in so many other aspects of your life!

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