And We’re Back…

 

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To school that is… As a teacher and mom, the summers are GREATLY appreciated. Having lots of quality time with my family and friends is a wonderful opportunity. Of course, going back to work after 2 lovely months, can be tough (even if I have done this for 15 yrs!)  I know that other colleagues, moms and educators share the feeling… So I wrote about getting ourselves back to work mindfully this month. You can find the article here. And while some of us may not be educators or parents, simply getting into the “swing of things” – can sometimes be tough. We hit stumbling blocks – it’s ok, and just part of the journey. Using some of the mindfulness techniques mentioned here just may make those blocks a lot easier to get by.

You may also want to use some of the resources from this blog for other “tips and tricks” on using mindfulness in your every day living.

Lastly, a few visuals (for rainy days or times you’re “forced” to be at your computer) to help you breathe a bit easier…

 

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Mindful Work

Working from home, a cubical, construction site or open studio space – work is work. Big businesses have tapped into the work of their employee populations and taken note of just how much mindfulness has made a difference in employee performance.

Need to get the job done? Working as a group or individually, mindfulness helps to complete the task – and most of the times – with a happy outcome for all parties involved.

Take a look at how Forbes & NYT describe what Google, Starbucks, Aetna and so many other companies have done by incorporating mindfulness into their work.

 

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Map it out…

I was never a very good scout, which led me to being even worse when it came to cartography, and simply reading a map…. There were no Google maps or iPhones when I was in college… it was a good old fashioned paper map. My mom loved them, had them everywhere. We would buy updated maps for our cars every year. And while I found them beautiful and fascinating, reading them was nearly impossible. Thank you, Apple!!! Thank you , Google!

But today maps still interest me… mind maps, mapping your heart and soul on paper can become a beautiful piece of artwork, or simply a colorful list of ideas and thoughts… Try it out! Sit quietly and comfortably with a large blank pad of paper, some markers, pens, paints – any of the art supplies that excite you 🙂 Map out your day, something simple at first. Try mapping your work day, or your school day, or a “regular” weekend. See what it looks like on paper – use little sketches or blots of color to make marks and comments around your maps.

Below are  a few different mind maps – there is no right or wrong, just lots of mindful flow onto paper….. You can use any “topic” to start a mind map, even school subjects or work projects, chores around your house, plans for a new room, your brain, your pets, your cup of coffee… Ideas are endless, but getting them on paper and learning how to focus on their meanings can be an amazing journey and  outlet.

Set in Stone…

There’s something about rocks and stones that has always fascinated me… I’ve had little collections of river rocks , sea glass and stone gems since I was a kid. I have rocks in almost every part of my home these days – and while most of them are decorative, I know where everyone of them is from. Just by touching them I’m reminded of the day and place where I found my stone treasures. They bring me a sense of tranquility, always (maybe that’s why I had lots of worry stones in school too!). Of course there are also some fun ways to incorporate rocks into your home, room, office, etc. The next time you’re out for a nature hike, look  for some stones or rocks that catch your eye. Make a “peace rock” with your stone findings… or, create a little stone piece of art for yourself, a friend or family member. You can even make your own worry stones out of clay – for extra creativity! Keep your rock reminders near by, where they can easily be found and picked up.

Find more ideas on Pinterest here…or here. in my resources….

 

 

Add a little color…

It seems as if no matter where I am these days, I tend to see “coloring books” everywhere. They used to be something for bookstores or toy stores only but now they show up as I check out at the food store or even a local coffee shop! The “zentangle”  and mandala mania has definitely grown in popularity, and most likely, for the better.

Our home is filled with coloring books, and more so now, zentangle-like books. These books range in difficulty and patterns – and you can find them in just about every theme possible. My daughter loves the animal themes, I tend to go for floral, trees and botanicals. Plus, these books come in ALL sizes too now – mini ones for long car rides or travel, and GIANT versions for the whole family to get involved in – which, by the way, is a GREAT idea!

While tiny boxes and lines may not be your thing, the art of simply coloring is quite meditative and you there are LOTS of resources out there to choose from.  Next time you’re feeling a bit edgy or anxious, give this a try:

If you’re an artist and want to try your own design, then color it in, give it a whirl.

If, however, you would prefer not to draw, pick up a zentangle or “meditative” coloring book of your preference.

Have lots of your favorite colors ready to go! Markers, crayons, pencils or paints can be used for any of these.

Color away! Don’t think of anything else except for the beautiful colors or shades that you are blending, mixing and creating. There is NO right or wrong, all you have to do is color.

Here are just a few examples of zentangle and meditative coloring ideas:

 

You can find LOTS more of these ideas via Pinterest or my Pinterest Mindful Board here

Check Amazon and local book stores too  – they have some wonderful collections too!