My mindful moments- dishwasher and beer festival

So I’m changing the format of my blogs a bit. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m bored of writing posts about how to meditate, or how to find mindfulness. Those posts are everywhere on the internet, and better people with more experience than me are writing them, so I want to try something new.

So I’m mixing it up…

Instead of informative blog posts about mindfulness, I’m going to write more about me. I know, exciting right? I’m going to write more about my experience of living mindfully. I might link up to some mindful experts, but sometimes I’ll just be telling you what works for me. I’ll also be sharing my life, and how I manage my mental health through mindfulness, which is the reason I found mindfulness in the first place.

Hopefully you’re still awake

For some of you I know you’ll still be looking for advice, or information about how to approach different aspects of mindfulness. So here’s the good bit. I’m going to be developing my mindful tools section of the website to make it lots bigger. I want the mindful hub to be exactly that…a hub full of useful information for people who could probably use a bit of mindfulness, or who already know about it but want to do more to live a mindful life

Mindful tools

So I’m planning the following sections:

  • books – there are thousands of books on mindfulness, but I’ll be providing you with a reading list of the ones I’ve read, or that I know are well respected, well loved and recommended by other mindful people in the know
  • courses – an 8 week course is the recommended way to get into mindfulness and it’s how I started. There are some great ones out there, so I’ll be letting you know all about them
  • practice groups – One of the key differences to establishing mindful living rather than just doing a course and forgetting it is going to a regular group with others who want to be mindful. I’ll be listing these groups so let me know if there’s one in your area.
  • websites – All the best websites for finding out more about mindfulness, what it is and how it makes a difference, including all the great mindful bloggers
  • apps – there are so many apps out there to help your mindfulness
  • coaching – using mindfulness to change areas of your life you’re not happy with and set your self achievable goals
  • downloads – as well as my worksheets and e-books, there are loads more other booklets, e-books etc. and you’ll find these here
  • places to find meditations – places to try different meditations you can access on the internet, both paid and free
  • gifts and stuff to buy- there are some great gratitude journals, colouring books and mindful gifts to buy that mindful person in your life, so i’ll be linking to those too
Here’s where you come in

Got a book you loved that you can’t see on the list? been on a course that’s changed your life? running a practice group and want people to find out about it? Let me know and I’ll look at adding it. I want everything on the hub to be useful, really about mindfulness and something others can easily access.  So jot a comment below with anything you’d like to share and I’ll check it out and add it if it’s relevant.

I’m still working full time, so it’s going to be a work in development for a while but I hope next year there’ll be loads of resources for you to access, to help you be your best self!

What about the blog?

Well I’m still going to be blogging. In fact I hope now I’ve got to grips with what I want the mindful hub to be I am hoping I will be blogging regularly. This post will be a weekly update on my life through all my mindful moments (check out mindfulhubuk on Instagram to see them as they happen).

As readers will also know I am also turning 40 very shortly ( I know it feels like a loooong time since I started mentioning it but in November I will in fact finally arrive at destination 40!) I am planning to start a new, year long mindful project which I’ll blog about too but I am planning to reveal all once I have stepped into my new decade.

So all that over with we can start the business of an actual weekly update

My week in mindful moments

So a mindful moment, or a #mindfulmoment if you’re using the hashtag on Instagram on Twitter (I’m kidding myself I’ve started a global viral hashtag or something) is something that reminds me either a) to use mindfulness in my daily life b) how grateful I am for what I have and for my life

So I started creating and tagging #mindfulmoment posts to help remind myself of these things, and to hopefully inspire others. If you’re following me on Instagram (just a reminder – mindfulhubuk) then you’ll know a lot of my mindful moments are in nature.

Nature is a massive reminder for me of how to’just be’. How can you be lost in thought and stressed when the wind is rippling on a lake, or rustling the leaves on a tree that’s hundred of years old and has stood the test of man’s (ridiculous at times) worries?

But this week I was also reminded to be mindful in two other ways:

my dishwasher blew up

Well it kept blowing the trip on our electric circuit meaning everything else kept switching off.  We bought it second hand from the previous owners when we bought our house 18 months ago, so it wasn’t expensive, but we had loved being able to chuck everything in and switch it on.

our old dishwasher complete with canine models!

So cue decision about what to do since we don’t have much money right now, and also cue either opportunity to get pi$$ed off with the universe for blowing up the dishwasher when we can’t afford to replace it. 

Well old me would have lost it, got angry because we need a dishwasher, stormed off, calmed down and bought a new one on her credit card.

New me? Oh no…well I was still fed up that it’s broken right now, because to be fair I have loved having one and being able to put all the cat and dog bowls in there (4 cats and 2 dogs accumulate a LOT of washing up) but as I no longer have any credit cards the buying one on impulse is out of the question.

So we decided to try something really old fashioned…washing up as we go! No I know this is like from the 20th Century but we are actually finding it’s OK to not have a dishwasher. The bonus of not having one is we actually have more space in the kitchen. We’ve been able to change our table round to have it opened out more, which means it’s more comfortable to sit together and chat.

We didn’t NEED a dishwasher, we just liked having it. It’s one less thing to go wrong, one less thing to buy, fix and clean. So from a decluttering perspective I feel like I’ve upped my minimalist rating.

My reaction though is one that is better for my mental health – taking the time to see if we really feel it’s necessary. Stepping back from impulse spending and being aware that it is only a dishwasher, not a life ending scenario, which is how I would have reacted pre mindfulness.

My other mindful moment

I want to share with you the trip to our village beer festival yesterday. The annual Ulleskelf Beer Festival brings our village alive, and as well as giving me an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, by meeting people I don’t know, and trying beers I wouldn’t usually try.

So stepping out of my comfort zone, meeting new people, and announcing ourselves as the’ only gays in the village’ (we aren’t actually as far as we know but we were the only ones there I believe) is difficult for me.

I am also quite rigid in my ideas sometimes of what I like and don’t like so when offered a chocolate tasting stout was ready to announce ‘ I don’t like stout’. The whole point of going to a beer festival though is trying different things isn’t it? So I put my little ‘try new things’ head on and had a try. It was called Swoon and tasted really chocolatey. It wasn’t what I’d usually drink but I have to confess I really liked it.

I felt warm and happy and my mindful moment came when I realised how a) it’s important to be part of a community.  Whether that’s your geographical community, a like minded community of people similar to you. It could be a family community, or a community of friends, but actually that a feeling of belonging is crucial to my wellbeing.  b) stepping out of my comfort zone and what I think I like and don’t like is important for me. That fits with the beginners mind tool we use in mindfulness, where you drop assumptions about a situation or a feeling or an experience, and see it with new eyes , without judgement.

I’m on a journey, and no doubt there will be many more downs, some lovely ups, and lots more times when I need to bring myself back to mindfulness, to anchor myself here firmly in the present but I can honestly say I’m really enjoying the experience of practicing mindful living too!

 

Taking a Face-Break

I think I’ve coined a new term. Taking a Face-break. If there was an urban dictionary definition for this it would be:

Face-break  – Taking a break from social media sites such as Facebook to remind oneself the world is not all a bad place full of trolls, bad news and that there is more to life than scrolling through someone’s holiday photos.

Now before anyone shouts at me for calling out the holiday photos, that is actually one of my favourite things on Facebook. I love seeing pictures of my friends off having fun, and going to places. However I can literally spend hours looking at Facebook. You know, you log on with a cup of tea, have a scroll and two hours later, you’re still there watching a racoon submerge itself in a bowl of cereal wondering where your life went.

Continue reading “Taking a Face-Break”

One woman’s rubbish is another’s new outfit

It’s been a while since I’ve turned to minimalism on the blog, it’s all been about this turning 40 business, mixed with a bit of mindfulness, but minimalism is still a great passion of mine and I am proud of how my wife and I have reduced our belongings and our needs.

Alongside this reduction in things, I’ve seen an increase in time spent together, in improved wellbeing  – I feel calmer, happier and more organised –  and in the time spent in experiencing things, rather than tidying, cleaning and paying for it all.

Yet there are still key areas that I can’t get round with minimalism; my wardrobe, throwing things away and reducing the waste we produce.

Continue reading “One woman’s rubbish is another’s new outfit”

How to lead a simple life if you live in a big city

If you read my blog regularly you’ll know I am a fan of the simple life now which is the culmination of a few years of scaling back from living in London, the biggest of big UK cities. I now live in a rural setting- not too far from York (in the North of England for any of my lovely international readers who haven’t heard of it)  with all it’s amenities but in a little village surrounded by fields, and you can hear the cows mooing in the morning, and the swallows or bats swoop over your head depending on the time of day.  Continue reading “How to lead a simple life if you live in a big city”

Procrastination – why do we do it and how do we stop it?

Hands up who washes up, on cleans the house and vacuums the car when they have something important to do? (My hand shoots up high at this point). Hands up who finds they’ve spent three hours on social media when they had a blog post to write, a piece of work to do or have promised themselves they’ll get round to something you really should have done  ages ago? (Hand shoots up a bit higher). So hey we all procrastinate at some time, but according to the leading experts on procrastination 20% of us are chronic procrastinators. This would be those of us who put bills in a drawer, who never get the important stuff done, and who never ever buy a gift on time. But why do we procrastinate?

Continue reading “Procrastination – why do we do it and how do we stop it?”

Why I haven’t blogged for over a month – also known as being a bit overwhelmed by it all…

It’s been over a month since I posted last. That’s the longest time in a while. It’s not that I have nothing to say. I’ve actually got about a dozen posts in my head, but I haven’t wanted to go near my blog. Why I hear you ask? (Well you may not be but I’m going to tell you anyway)

Continue reading “Why I haven’t blogged for over a month – also known as being a bit overwhelmed by it all…”

Hygge and Mindfulness

For those of you who don’t avidly Pinterest or Instagram, or follow a number of the more hipster types on twitter (or you’re Danish)  hygge might have bypassed me up to now. Let me introduce you.  Visit Denmark puts it far better than I can…

A hygge definition

‘Hygge is as Danish as pork roast and cold beer and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul. In essence, hygge means creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. And let’s not forget the eating and drinking – preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and small things in life. ‘

Essentially hygge is simple living Danish stylee. Friends, family, candlelight, food, warmth, cosiness. All the ingredients for an experience that money does not buy.

Why hygge?

So why is everyone getting obsessed with hygge over here all of a sudden?  Because actually that kind of life, with no pressures, no deadlines, long leisurely dinners with candles, lingering over a glass or two of wine (rather than a bottle or two) is just not the average Brit’s lifestyle these days.

We’re obsessed with more, more, more, faster , faster, faster. There’s no doubt that the simple living and mindfulness movements are gaining ground in response to this as people like me step off the treadmill shouting ‘enough already’.

Actually hygge is just another way of slowing down and experiencing, just like mindfulness. Of being present, of lingering in cosy surroundings and not putting pressure on yourself about tomorrow’s problems or worrying about yesterdays slights. Of being here, now.

Isn’t it interesting that so many people are turning towards ideas that involve less buying, less time beavering away at work, less time trawling social media and the internet in exchange for time spent with yourself and a good book, with your loved ones and supper?

I think we’re actually fed up with the fast life and are desperately looking for solutions that give us an antidote. For those who shiver in  horror at the thoughts of meditating or moving mindfully around a bit like a Tai Chi master, hygge offers a more down to earth alternative.

Hygge and mindfulness

It sits very much with the mindful concept of being compassionate to yourself and others. What greater gift can you give someone you love than to spend quality time with them? Embracing comfy pyjamas and a night of the Archer’s omnibus is a great way of showing compassion to yourself in an otherwise hard edged week. So let’s embrace this latest craze. I’m off to light my candles.

If you’re interesting in exploring hygge for yourself here’s five ways you can get started:

  1. Turn down the lights – a big part of hygge is cosiness. Harsh overhead lighting does not make a cosy atmosphere, so turn off overhead lamps, change your lamps to soft lighting, and light some candles. If you’ve got a log burner, light it or turn on your gas fire. You don’t even need to have it on heat, but the flickering light of the flames will create the look you’re after.
  2. Use lots of different fabrics – Part of hygge is about blankets and cushions and getting wrapped up warm. Try a faux fur blanket, with a wool cushion for extra warmth, or mix Scandi colours such as slate, ice blue and heather.
  3. Get into your comfiest PJs or invest in some lounge pants. However you dress down, hygge is giving you permission to do so! Put on the PJs or if like me you have dogs to walk, get a pair of comfy jersey lounge pants and a woolen jumper. The wool will keep the heat around your body, and you’ll be able to curl up with a book or a movie and feel really comfortable.
  4. Cook up some winter food – Get some big stews on the hob or roast some vegatables. Hygge food is all about sharing, and comfort food, so pick your best winter comfort food, invite some friends and have a hygge party!
  5. Take time out – our busy lives mean we often struggle to make time for others, let alone ourselves. Hygge gives us permission to do that. Turn off the phone, take a Facebook break, read a book, invite some friends over and have quality time. Step away from busyness to relax and enjoy the important things in life.