Small Changes Can Make a BIG Difference

 As many readers of the blog know I recently went on a mindfulness training retreat.  It was an amazing and inspirational experience that I am still processing.  When I have had more time to reflect on the week I will undoubtedly write a post about the experience and what I learned.

But for now I would like to share three small habit changes I have made since the week away.  And I think they have the potential to make a BIG difference…

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 1.  Incorporating the 3 step breathing space into my morning routine EVERY morning.  Now I am a big fan of what I have previously mentioned as the 3 minute breathing space.  It is a great ‘go-to’ mindfulness tool to use whenever and wherever you like.  Basically it buys you a few moments of stillness in a hectic day.

You ‘check in’ with yourself by taking a moment to sit or stand motionless and observe your thoughts and feelings.  You then engage with your breath for a few ‘ins and outs’ to ground yourself in the present.  Step 3 is a chance to reconnect with the whole body, potentially scanning your body for physical sensations that stand out to you while moving your breath around the body as best you can.

I have always wanted to do a formal practice in the morning but even giving over just 10 minutes to meditation is pretty impossible with 3 kids running around (they all get up when I do!) .  However, this 3 step breathing space can take between 2 – 3 minutes (no need to get hung up about ensuring it’s specifically 1 minute for each step like I used to, hence the change of name) and gives you a chance to see where you’re at as you take on the challenges ahead of you.  At least you may alter your course for the day accordingly if you wish.  Or you have a chance to label what you’re feeling in that moment and how it may affect your conversations and behaviour in the next few minutes and hours.  Simple, but powerful stuff.  It takes practice so give it a go over a week or so – there’s a guided one at the bottom of this webpage.

2. Doing HIIT work-outs twice a week.  I hate that I don’t do half as much physical activity as I used to. Exercise helps me mentally as well as physically, but as all busy people know, it is tough finding time to go out for a run, a swim or to go to a gym class.

However, no more excuses for me!  While I was on the residential course another particpant introduced me to HIIT work-outs and I realised instead of slumping in front of the TV with the kids first thing in the morning I could be reenergising myself.  I now do star jumps, burpees, running on the spot etc. in 30 second intervals in the lounge for 10 – 15 minutes while the little ones are sippng their milk and watching Peppa.  They think I look funny and sometimes join in too!   Take a look here if you want some ideas for beginners HIIT work-outs.  It really is a genius idea as you don’t need much space or time at all!

3.  Implementing a no-phone rule in the house from sun-down Friday until sun-rise Sunday.  I hold my hands up that I’ve let the digital detoxes slip recently.  Being away and some of the discussions on the course made me realise just how distracted we can be by screens.   This rule is manageable as its not a ban on all screens but it does try and combat the use of the phone when we’re on auto-pilot and we can end up on social media before we know it.  As the rule is for the hubby and I, it’s easier to stick to then the usual self-imposed ban.   We’ve agreed to pop the phones away in a drawer on a Friday evening and they stay there for most of the next 36 hours or so unless we go out and need them to ensure that arrangements go to plan etc.

No mindless scrolling.  Photos taken on the ‘proper’ camera.  No arguing with the children who just want the phone all the time too.  Cuddles on the sofa with hubby watching telly together rather than sat side by side both looking at our phones – lovely.

So three very simple habit changes which are making a very positive impact on my day-to-day well-being.

Two weeks on and my mornings are a little calmer, my energy levels are slightly higher, my jeans are not quite so tight and I feel like less of a slave to my phone.

Do you think any of these habit changes may work for you?

Or is there another small change you would like to make to your life to hopefully have a big positive impact?

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The Pramshed

Diary of an imperfect mum