As we quickly approach the holiday season, it seems that everyone starts to move at an even more frantic pace. The first day of Chanukah starts at sunset on Wednesday November 27; the night before Thanksgiving, November 28, 2013. It’s never happened before, and it will never happen again. Thanksgiving is falling at the latest possible day it can, only leaving only four weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Rush, rush rush.
However, we have to remember to take time for ourselves. Not just now, but every day of the year.
Mindfulness can be defined as “being completely in touch with the present moment and being open to experiences as they come.” Mindfulness has been around for quite some time, but has become more popular, in large part due to Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
Recently, Dr. Kabat-Zinn spoke at Harvard Graduate school of Education, indicating that mindfulness is becoming an increasingly important tool in education, from top-level leaders to elementary schoolchildren. We see many business who incorporate mindfulness awareness into their wellness programs in the workplace.
I’ve been through a couple of mindfulness training exercises over the past year, and it certainly does take practice. However, it’s not difficult to see that if one were to incorporate some kind of mindfulness activity into their everyday life, stress reduction could occur.
Tea is a great way to introduce mindfulness into your daily routine. Green teas are shown to have high levels of L-theanine, which binds to GABA receptors and induces changes in brain waves indicative of relaxation. Our Serenity herbal blend contains camomile, lemon balm, lemon verbena, linden flower, passion flower and oat straw, all natural stress and anxiety reducers.
I challenge you to give these mindfulness activities a try:
- Make and sip tea mindfully.
The enjoyment of tea goes back thousands of years. When you drink tea as a mindfulness ritual, think about the connection to others who have had ceremonial tea over the globe. Create your very own tea ceremony. Boil your water mindfully. Focus on the kettle warming the water as you measure out your loose tea. Listen to the noise the water makes when you pour it into your cup. Watch the steam rise from the kettle. Watch the water turn color as the tea steeps to perfection. Sip your tea mindfully, focusing on the way it feels when you sip it, the warmth it spreads through your body, and the calming effect of its properties. Pay attention, be mindful, and feel the warmth of the cup in your hands. Taste the subtle flavors in each sip. Leave all of your other worries behind. Don’t read e-mail, don’t talk on the phone. Just sit and sip tea. A New Leaf carries some great herbal tisanes to help you relax, and delicious oolongs, black teas, green teas and white teas for that mindfulness release.
- Brush your teeth.
I know that when I brush my teeth, I’m usually running through the laundry list of things I need to do before I walk out the door, or thinking of whether or not I’ve gotten everything I needed to get accomplished done before bed. Try, for two solid minutes to focus on each stroke of the toothbrush. Try fully concentrating on the action of brushing, on each stroke of each tooth, going from one side of the mouth to the other. You end up doing a better job, and it helps you realize how much we do on autopilot.
- The Game of Five.
Take an opportunity to notice five things in your day that would typically go unnoticed. These could be things you hear, smell, feel or see. For example you might see a tree, listen to the wind, feel your clothes or smell food cooking. Of course, you may already do these things, but are you really aware of these things and the connections they have with your world?
- Walk mindfully.
Oftentimes, especially in bustling cities, people are walking with headphones plugged in to their ears, or texting frantically onto a smart phone. I would challenge you to take a simple mindful walk, either around your block, or something as simple as walking to or from your office each day. Take a few deep breaths, try to be aware of your environment and your internal state (e.g., thoughts, feelings, sensations). Notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground. Notice the comfort (or discomfort) of your shoes. Notice which muscles tense or relax as you walk. Notice where you are stepping, the lightness or forcefulness of each step and the feel of the ground beneath your feet or shoes. If your mind starts to wander to the past or the future, try to bring it back to the present moment. As you walk, what do you see, smell, hear, taste, and feel? How does the air feel on your skin? What do you notice around you? Notice the thoughts that cross your mind as you walk. As you finish your walk, congratulate yourself, no matter how many times your mind was pulled away from the walk.
- Jon Kabat-Zinn: No One Can Take Mindfulness Away From You (allowinglove.wordpress.com)
- Mindfulness over matters (news.harvard.edu)
- My Mindfulness based stress reduction (barbaraboston2011.wordpress.com)
- Practicing Mindfulness
——Kimberly Orlic, co-founder and chief operating officer of A New Leaf, LLC is a new entrepreneur, with over 25 years’ experience in the workforce. The mother of three daughters, she is an avid tea lover and developed the idea for A New Leaf along with her husband over 15 years ago while obtaining her master of business administration degree. She holds bachelor of arts and master of business administration degrees from Hofstra University. Kimberly has over 15 years of management experience and significant experience in process improvement, systems implementation and enhancements. While at Hofstra University she demonstrated the ability to adapt to changing environments and learn different operations. In every role, she left a better organized and more efficient department. In her most recent role as the University Bulletin Editor, she recognized the potential of digital media and migrated a labor-intensive, print-only process to an efficient print, online, and mobile app product full of previously unavailable features. As a member of Hofstra’s Public Relations department, she was a member of the team that hosted the 2008 Presidential Debate and worked extensively on the program. A New Leaf is her first business venture. As founder, owner, and COO, Kimberly’s responsibilities focus on running the retail operation, marketing, and promotion.