5 Ways To Live A More Conscious Life
There are days when I feel weighted down; from heavy expectations, heavy thoughts, and even heavy foods. As I make my way through life, I get so caught up in the day to day stress of being a mother and wife it is hard to take the time to breathe. I am surrounded by the noise of this world which is coming from both inside and outside of me. The noise of my thoughts and feelings, my children's voices, electronic devices, and the noise of other's expectations are my constant companions. I need to take the time to focus on the things that are important in this life and quiet down the outside world. Below is a list of things that I believe can help us to simplify our lives and live more consciously.
Food is essential to our lives. We need it to nourish and strengthen us. Not all foods are created equal though and some foods can weigh us down. Whatever your beliefs on eating meat, removing it from your meals one day a week can have many healthy side benefits. Going meatless just one day a week can reduce your risk of diseases including cancer, diabetes, and obesity. It also has many environmental benefits. Taking meat out can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimize water usage. As someone who goes back and forth on eating meat and being a vegetarian, I can honeslty say when I remove meat from my diet I feel better and lighter. Mondays are a good time to reflect on the foods we put in our bodies and the effects they have not just on us but also on the Earth. For more information and great recipes, please visit www.meatlessmonday.com.
No TV Tuesdays
It is really hard during the week, as we move through our different jobs and for my children going to school, to find the time to connect with each other and spend quality time in each other's presence. I will be the first person to admit my television is on more than I would like. It serves as a babysitter while I fix dinner or just plain need a time out. As we all know, watching too much TV can have negative side effects on children. Many problems include obesity, violent behaviors, and many others. It has become an ever present noise in households around the world and I have decided to dedicate Tuesdays to family time. No TV allows us to spend quality time with each other, learning about our day, and rids the house of un-wanted noise. There are many things you can do as a family as opposed to sitting in front of a flickering screen. Go for a walk, ride bikes, and play classic family games such as Uno, Sorry, or Mouse Trap. Take this time to really get to know your children and even spend the nights without the TV with your spouse as well.
Wheat Free Wednesdays
Just about 5 years ago my husband was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Before the diagnosis, I didn't even know such a term existed and I ate my meals without giving a second thought to what I was putting in my mouth. After hearing about this disease, it has a learning process about what foods he can and cannot eat and the ways in which eating wheat can negatively affect our bodies. Some negative side affects of eating too much wheat include weight gain, gas, bloating, intestinal issues, and it can also worsen pre-existing auto immune conditions. I going to use Wednesdays as a way to reflect on the millions of people with diet restrictions who have to read every label and have to constantly worry about what is in the food they eat. Removing wheat/gluten is also great for your overall health.
God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank you?" ~William A. Ward
I believe expressing gratitude is one of the best things you can do for others and one of the best lessons to teach your children. It is so important not to be so caught up in our own lives that we forget about those around us. Showing gratitude can be as simple as saying thank you or keeping a gratitude journal. Choosing to focus on the good in your lives is a great way of staying positive and it can also have healthy side effects. People who focus on the good and help others lower their risk of heart attacks and can help alleviate symptoms of depression. Take Thursdays to look beyond yourself and focus on others. Choose one person each week to show your gratitude to even if it's just members of your family. Get the kids involved in making cards for the elderly, delivering food to the homeless, or even sending a thoughful note to their teacher. It doesn't take money to show others your appreciation.
Facebook Free Fridays
Today is the day to un-plug from all other electronics and devices that divert our attention outside our families. I am guilty of looking at my phone and playing games or checking facebook while I am supposed to be playing with my kids. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how many updates you read but how you made your children feel. Use the time spent wasted surfing the web to do other more important things even if it is something that benefits you. Read a book, start the novel you have always wanted to write, or clean out the tupperware drawer. Life will not end if you don't know every detail of other people's lives.
We make choices everday on how we are going to live our lives. Sometimes those choices don't always feel like conscious decisions and have they have just become our daily routine. It is time to start thinking about what is important in life and making choices with our eyes wide open. I challenge you to turn down the noise of electronics and of things that don't matter and tune into the things that do.