Self-care seems to be a lost art. Somehow, one day you stopped taking care of yourself. Maybe it is due to the distractions of having children, partners, or careers that need tending to. That amongst all the chaos of your day you are soon too tired to take care of you.
We have all heard the metaphor about having to fill up your cup to be able to give others water. But often it feels like there is no time. One of the best ways to nourish your self and work on your self-care is to practice mindfulness. Being mindful can make the day-to-day mundane activities more enjoyable. It helps keep you present and aware instead of focusing on counterproductive emotions.
I know as a stay at home mom of two little boys under the age of three there are times where I am stuck in my head. I catch myself with unproductive thoughts such as, “I am so tired today,” “I am so grumpy,” “I am about to explode.” Once I see the flickers of these emotions I stop. And I breathe before I react. As valid as these emotions are, the hard part is to see that I am not that emotion. I recognize the emotion, but I do not let it own me. So once I feel these feelings or emotions brewing, I stop. I get up and I head to the kitchen.
I recently have started a new practice that exercises mindfulness by using all five of your senses. It helps ground you and enables you to take a step back from your feelings that seem to be overpowering and helps you gain back control. All you need is water, a kettle, a mug, and tea. All the fixings for a hot cuppa.
Making tea can change your mood by following these simple steps:
Walk into the kitchen. Be mindful of the walk. Are your bare feet cold from the wood floor? Did you feel a shock of electricity from your fuzzy socks on the carpet?
Fetch the kettle. Notice the color. Is it shiny or red? Is it heavy or light? Turn on the faucet and hear the water. Feel the water. Notice the weight change in the kettle.
Head to your stove and turn it on. Is it gas? Can you see the flame? If it’s electric, can you hear the hum? Now wait. You can close your eyes. Meditate for a moment. Be mindful. If thoughts enter your mind, acknowledge them and move on.
As your water boils can you hear it? Listen to the bubbles in the kettle. Is it screaming yet?
Pour the water into a mug. Sit. Hold your mug as it steeps. Feel the warmth of the mug on your hands. Can you feel it radiating up your arms? Imagine it as warm calming vibrations. Picture it going up and down your body wrapping you up in calm. Note what you hear around you. Smell the tea. Can you pick out the ingredients? Feel the tea. Is it scorching hot? Or has it cooled? See the tea. What color has the water turned?
Now take a sip and taste the tea. Take a deep breath. Take another sip. And enjoy.
This exercise may seem a little ridiculous as a means to really be present in the moment. I mean, it is just tea, right? But that is the significance of being mindful. Taking enjoyment in something as simple as the act of making tea. In today’s world it is so easy to fall victim to the daily grind. We all live a busy life, which should emphasize the need to stop and become aware. It isn’t about noting something as good or bad, but just being with things as they are. It is finding the contentment in the everyday–in simplicity. That is where true happiness lies. It is about stopping the buzzing in our head and learning to just be. So yes, grab that cup of tea. Be aware of what you see, feel, hear, taste, and smell. Take that cup. Savor and appreciate each moment.
It is really that simple.
Author: Amber St. Pierre
Editor: Travis May
Image: Flickr/Victoria Garcia