The holidays can be one of the most joyous times of year, but also a period of gluttony and stress. For many of us, a ritual of bone broth and meditation brings a state of mindfulness and physical wellness that transcends beyond the holidays, into every aspect of our daily lives. On the opposite side of the spectrum, many others are still waiting for the “right time” to make the change needed for a healthier, more centered, self. This year we ask, why wait for the new year to bring healthy changes to your life? This year, why not make December a time of reflection and positive change, too?
For twelve days leading up to December 25th, BRU invites you to look inward and become the change you want to see in your life. Whether you already practice mindfulness, or are beginning the journey to a healthier lifestyle, we hope that these twelve mindfulness tips help you find more joy and peace into the new year.
Day 1: Practice Gratitude.
Gratitude is the very simple act of simply expressing thanks for the things you have in your life. Even when you're having a terrible day, there are always things to be grateful for. Health. Happy children. A tree to decorate. Loving parents. An obedient dog. There are always elements in your life to be grateful for. Why not list your top 5 right now?
Day 2: Engage your senses.
Become more aware of how you feel, and what is around you. Give yourself a hug, smell your warm broth, or close your eyes and listen to wind. Once you begin to engage your senses, you can start to live in the moment, taking in every aspect of the physical world and appreciating it for what it brings you right then and there.
Day 3: Take 10 minutes to do nothing.
Not being lost in thought, not being distracted, not being overwhelmed by difficult emotions but only being present. “I think the present moment is so underrated. It sounds so ordinary and yet we spend so little time in the present moment that it's anything but ordinary," says Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe. If the mind is always on the go we get stressed and then we need to find methods for dealing with this stress. So give your brain a 10 minute time out so you can refresh your mind and keep it working at its best.
Day 4: Be a food critic.
Okay, who hasn’t wished this was their job? Act like you're a food critic (whether your meal is fine dining or leftovers) and eat slowly and carefully. Pay attention to every little flavor that arises while eating, every crunch, every slurp of broth. Pay attention to every little sensation you feel as a result of each individual bite, and welcome in a new, more mindful way of experiencing food.
Day 5: Have a mindful drink.
Make a regular practice of drinking a cup of broth each day, either before a meal to control eating, at breakfast with a cup of Broffee, or as mid-day refreshment and healthier alternative to a latte or soda. Not only is this a nourishing practice with its slew of amino acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals, but it also serves to make you more mindful before your meal. A winning strategy, we say!
Day 6: Get to know your food.
Even when you have no idea where the food you are eating has come from, try asking yourself some questions about the possibilities: Who grew this? How? Where did it come from? How did it get here? Chances are, you’ll not only gain a deeper appreciation for your food, while slowly making healthier and smarter shopping choices.
Day 7: Eat with joy.
Instead of approaching meals with dread or fear that you might overeat, approach them with a sense of joy and excitement. Savor each delicious, healthy bite and revel in the process of nourishing yourself and taking care of your body. Thank yourself for nourishing your body, and take note of how happy good food makes you feel.
Day 8: Go for a walk with a loved one.
Walking increases heart rate, invigorates senses, and gives you a chance to take note of your surroundings. Meet up with a friend, child, dog, Mom; just be sure to give them a hug at the end.
Day 9: Start a morning ritual.
Our ritual of choice is a cup of warm, nourishing broth (go figure), but a morning ritual can be anything that gets you going. Sing in the shower, meditate for 5 minutes, heat up your broth and read the morning news, or walk around the block with your pet. Studies have shown that people who practice a morning ritual are more alert, productive, and mindful both physically (i.e.- when eating food) and emotionally (i.e.- ability to lower stress).
Day 10: Forgive yourself.
Researchers in self-compassion have been publishing the myriad benefits that come from forgiving yourself. Here are some examples:
When you don't feel like working out today, forgive yourself.
When you get lost in work and cannot make it home for family supper, forgive yourself.
When you are inconsistent with your daily practice, forgive yourself.
When you eat that chocolate chip cookie, forgive yourself.
Overall, spend MORE time thinking about what you did do, than beating yourself up about what you didn’t do.
Day 11: Reflect upon feelings.
Are you rushed? Stressed? Sad? Happy? Excited? Bored? Hungry? What are your wants, and what are your needs? Understanding and acknowledging your feelings, both emotionally and physically, can give you the power to alter the course of the day. Turn the feeling of stress into one of determination. Push boredom to the side and start a project (holiday puzzle anyone?). Control your hunger and reach for a healthy snack or drink that provides energy and nutrition, not just instant gratification. Becoming more mindful of how you feel at that particular moment will help bring clarity and self control in any situation.
Day 12: List your best strength.
We get so caught up in what we are not, or what we are striving to be, that we forget about how awesome we are. Speak true words, act kindly towards others, and celebrate what you do best. Because you read the 12 Days of Mindfulness and obviously want to rock your life!
Namaste and happy brothing~
The BRU Cru