I went to see an Integrative Health person a month or so ago. My cholesterol is high and my weight seems solidly stuck on “meh” no matter what I eat, which is making me start to think I should just eat a lot of donuts and call it a day.
Yes, I know that’s not a good plan.
I don’t want to take medicine to fix myself if there is some alternative. I am very into the whole “food as medicine” concept, although apparently what I am eating is not the right medicine. I am hopeful that the right medicine is ice cream and pizza.
Anyhoo. When I went to talk to her, due to the holistic nature of her approach, she wanted to talk about various things that might impact overall health and hormones, which might in turn impact things like weight and heart health. She asked about diet and exercise, and then she asked about stress.
And I was like “I think I’m good.”
I said “Well, I do have a job, and kids, and a house, and a relationship, and money is hard for everyone, right?” And she wrote down “Stress.”
And she told me I should meditate 10 minutes a day. Which shouldn’t be super hard, right? 10 minutes, I can bang that out no problem.
I tend to always be doing something. Laundry, work, harassing children to get out of (or into) the shower, cooking multiple dinners to make everyone happy, staring at my phone hoping for some sign that sanity is returning to the world. It seems that it’s hard for me to just sit in the quiet and think about breathing.
I downloaded a whole mess of apps.
I tried one. It was OK, and I will try again. (Does anyone have a recommendation of one that is especially good?) My goal is doing that 10 minutes a day for a week straight starting now…no wait, now…maybe now?
While I try to get myself fired up to make that happen I thought maybe a little more active relaxation would be more accessible. My son had gotten his sister this cool sticker coloring book for her birthday (read: I bought it for her and put his name on the card) and at the time I thought it looked like it might be a fun, calming sort of activity. So I ordered myself a similar book as my “modified meditation” activity.
The book arrived on Friday and today I sat down and worked on it.
There are actually directions in the book that say:
“All you have to do is find the shape labeled D31. It’s over there. While you do it, you might think about your day. You might take a moment to feel your own breath and relax. You place the sticker onto the space…you brought color to the world…It’s a giddy feeling. Simple beauty. You could do it again. You could paint the whole image. It’d be yours…”
So they are pretty much asking for it to be a meditative practice. Of stickering.
I got the stickers out. I tried to take a deep breath as I peeled each one off and then exhale when I stuck it on the picture. For some that was easy, for others it was hard to find the spot and I had to take multiple breaths. Breathing is nice.
I tried not to “work” or to “accomplish” but to focus on the actual doing of the thing. Weird distinction, yes. But it was actually relaxing to just try to find where each piece went and to let the bigger picture sort of develop on it’s own. Letting go of trying to get done quickly or move onto the next task. Really trying to make it take as long as it could, experiencing the experience of it.
Then I would rip a sticker or couldn’t find the right spot and I’d start to get a little off track and have to return my focus. Like real meditation. But with stickers.
I made a bird.
And some boats.
And a fish.
And some, I don’t know what these are…grain silos? Water tanks?
I spent several hours immersed in this. So I feel both accomplished and chilled out. Win – win. My laundry is not done, but my head is happy. Hopefully my heart is, too.
I’m still going to try to do the “real” meditation (tomorrow for sure), but I also have a bunch more pictures left to continue my sticker meditation. And there is another book, too. So, yay! My brain will be so chill and my fingers so nimble.
Who needs clean socks anyway?
What do YOU do to manage stress and relax??