What Meditation Can do for Your Mental Health

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Meditation is an interesting concept.

Reaching a calm spot in your mind can be hard, especially if life is busy. Your mind is racing with thoughts and slowing down can seem almost impossible.

There are meditation apps on both Apple and Android platforms, even on YouTube. It’s up to you. I prefer an app, Insight Timer. I like the selections- some are led by a person, some use music. I prefer the person.

I started meditating as part of running a group at a former job. I got really into the quiet time to gather my thoughts and just relax. Everyone knew that was my group. The patients also loved it- the group was usually packed.

I’ve gotten out of the habit and need to restart.

Less than five minutes can change your whole day.

Feeling Good All Over

Meditation can help your mind get into a better place, which can help the rest of your body.

How can you get to that place?

  • Find a comfortable space. I prefer sitting on my bed or couch, but this is entirely up to you. Some like sitting on a yoga mat on the floor as part of a yoga practice. It’s all about what makes you comfortable.
  • Quiet is a must. It is hard to meditate if there is a lot of noise in the room you are in, so try to find a good time/place to try this. It can be an almost impossibility with children, pets and/or other people, events, etc, but it’s possible.
  • Do you need a timer? Some do, some don’t. I’ve tried untimed and timed, and I prefer timed. Otherwise, my mind tends to wander off and it defeats the purpose.
  • It’s okay if your mind wanders. If you’ve never tried meditating before or you are coming back to it, your mind will tend to wander. It’s natural. It’s hard at first to let your mind just be. If you’re listening to meditation with words, it can be hard to listen to and connect to the meditation. This is why I suggest short ones at first. As you get deeper into practice, you can work up to longer ones, if you decide it is for you. Everyone has different needs and preferences.
  • Don’t force it. Meditation isn’t for everyone. If it isn’t for you, you will realize it.

Calm sky

Meditation can help you in the following ways:

  • concentration
  • relaxation- as you meditate, your breathing slows and deepens, helping you relax. Also, your mind clears. This is helpful in many situations.
  • pain management- keeping your mind off severe pain, even if for a short while
  • anger management- thinking through things before adverse actions, using relaxing breaths
  • stressful situations/anxiety
  • can help children and adults
  • sleep

Self-care is vitally important. I’ve covered this topic many times on this blog. It’s not just a passing fad or something to do when we’re bored or just when we have time, but something we should find time to do every day, even if it’s just five minutes. I entirely need to get better on the meditation- I love it. It helps me center my thoughts for the day. Restarting an old habit can be a pain sometimes. How do you do it?

For further reading:

Self-Care Isn’t Just Bubble Baths

Alone Time Is A Wonderful Thing

Is It Time for A (Mental Health) Break?

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Benefits of A Family Vacation

Having a family is fun.

There’s first steps, summer activities, sports, band, kids making friends and a lot more.

Let’s back up to summer activities and discuss vacations. Many families go on vacations at some point. Some wait until the kids are old enough to remember them, some start going right away. Vacations are usually fun but can have a bit of mishap involved- which make for good stories.

What We Can Get Out of a Vacation

Our family has gone on two major vacations, and we are considering another over Summer Break, likely to Washington, D.C. Both times, we let the kids have input on what they wanted to do. Julian didn’t want to do anything educational, but he was overruled.

He’s really out of luck if we make it to Washington, D.C. (He has already said he will sit in the hotel room and watch YouTube while we go to museums- so he thinks.) Planning our trips was pretty fun. If your kids are old enough to do so, this can allow them to feel included and build excitement for the trip.

How you get there can be part of the fun. We chose to drive to St. Louis and Daytona Beach- for the five of us, it’s a lot cheaper. I’m the only one who has ever been on a plane. I don’t think Matthew is a fan, and we aren’t sure how Julian would do- motion sickness plus sensory issues might equal something that none of us want to experience. Plus, Lily hates heights.

The kids kept busy with books, coloring, and Netflix. I listened to music and a lot of podcasts, with breaks of talking with Matthew. We stopped plenty of times for the kids and for me to stretch so that my joints wouldn’t stiffen and my ankles wouldn’t swell.

Florida Welcome Sign

The coolest part of a family vacation? Family bonding! Until we went to Daytona Beach, Lily had never been to a beach before. The boys had been when they were much smaller, and this story can be read in The Sanders Family Goes South .

It was really fun to see the kids enjoying the ocean and collecting seashells. They will talk about that trip for a long time. We saw lots of animals, climbed a lighthouse, and walked along a pier. In St. Louis, we saw the Gateway Arch, Cameron got a patdown (he couldn’t go through the metal detector because he was on a heart monitor at the time) and we went to a children’s museum. You can read about that trip in The Sanders Family Takes on St.Louis

Family vacations aren’t all about the souvenirs, even though they are nice. I have more pictures and memories than money can buy. I think those are more important. We went to Daytona Beach during the last week of summer break and got back with three days to go before school started. This gave us just enough time to get last minute things for school, haircuts and some fun with friends before Mom kicked everyone out and was able to blog in peace.

While we were in Daytona Beach, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and Julian tried hotter wings than he usually eats- my mom heart was thrilled. He loves hot and spicy food, much like me, and he absolutely loved them. There was extra water involved, but he ate them. He said he wanted to try something new and this is a good thing, no matter where you are.

What is Most Important?

Relaxation is key on vacation. That’s the main idea, right? There wasn’t a whole lot of time to relax in St. Louis because we were there over a weekend, but we had plenty of chill time in Daytona Beach. We slept late, sat on the beach or in the pool (at one point, we sat in the pool for hours until it rained) and went to do things when we felt like it. It was nice to not have to run around to get things done for a few days.

Summer is almost here- time to start planning!

Have you and/or your family been on a vacation lately? Have you planned one? Do you have tips? Share them in the comments.