At the risk of perpetuating an over-used and eye roll-inducing phrase, I’m doing my very best to be PRESENT with my family as much as possible. It’s an extremely busy season of life for all of us:
- Lucas is working very hard at a job he loves and is really good at, but it often takes him away from us on nights and weekends.
- I’m working more-than-full-time hours juggling a number of jobs — again, all tasks that I love but they all require my attention and focus (especially now that I’m a business owner!).
- Audrey has recently started at a new Montessori program where she’s absolutely thriving, plus she’s taking part in extra-curricular activities like dance and soccer.
- Remy, the real heart and joy of our family (she’s so animated and FUN right now) is standing and pulling the cat’s tail and throwing toys and discovering how much trouble she can get into.
I’m also training for some upcoming road races, getting back into teaching group fitness and oh yeah — did I mention that Remy’s still at home with me during the day and Audrey’s new school gets out three hours earlier than her previous program?
Back to being PRESENT. In my life, PRESENT often happens in unplanned moments. (I’ve come to realize that it’s the time in between the times that really matters.)
And one of the most special PRESENT moments happened when Audrey created the “Happy Face” game, which we now play every day in the car on the way home from school. (It’s actually an extension of our “Three Things” game, where everyone shares three fun or new things they did while apart from the rest of the family.)
It’s so simple. You just list all of the things that make you happy (or make you smile=happy face). I know it sounds trite, but hearing and sharing thoughts like these will totally change your outlook, even just for a few minutes.
“I’m happy when I’m…
- hugging you
- listening to you sing
- reading stories together
- dancing to the new Justin Timberlake song
- getting a cookie at the grocery store
- riding my bike
- playing dress-up
I encourage you to play the Happy Face game, even if you’re the only one around. I’ve found those moments of gratitude and appreciation to be crucial for my own wellbeing.
If that doesn’t work for you, here are a few other simple steps to practicing mindful behavior:
- Keep a gratitude journal! I actually have a page in my bullet journal where I jot down motivational quotes and phrases, too.
- Set an alarm at the same time every day and even if it’s just for 5 minutes, walk away from the phone and your computer to roll your shoulders, stretch out or do some light yoga postures.
- Keep a bottle of water on your desk or near you during the day. If possible, write yourself a message on the bottle (a post-it is fine, too!) so that every time you go to take a sip, you see a little affirmation or pep talk to yourself. You can get inspired by some of the messages over at Operation Beautiful.
And that brings me to the Spire Mindfulness + Activity Tracker.
I was sent one of these little devices to test out and I’ll admit…I was nervous to see the results!
A few things about Spire:
- It’s a small wearable device that you can attach to your hip or bra (I did the latter) and it not only tracks and creates patterns from your breath, it actually learns to anticipate stressful events and alert you.
- If it does determine that you’re stressed or tense, it suggests breathing exercises and meditations to help calm you down and keep you focused. It also buzzes you with reminders to get active if it senses that you’ve been sitting or quiet for too long (it measures calories, activity, steps, etc.).
- The companion app can integrate with your calendar or location and lets you upload photos. So when you have a tense moment, you can look back to what you were doing. When you’re calm, you can track that as well.
And because it has built-in boosts to lead you through meditations and other stress-relieving activities, it really is like a personal trainer for your mind.
What I really appreciated was the little bouncing ball/line to follow to help take deeper breaths during times of stress. It forced me to practice a little bit of yoga breathing and purposefully and intentionally stop my mind from racing. Audrey helped me, too (she coached me to breath in…and out. In….and out.).
And the boosts are so good. I love that some are short — perfect for when I only have 10 minutes between tasks — and some are longer, so I can listen while laying in bed, getting ready to fall asleep. (There’s even one to listen to while enjoying a cup of coffee!)
The Spire comes with a little charging dock that has a second USB hub, so you can charge the device and your phone at the same time.
The only bummer? It has a 6-hour memory, so if you are away from your phone or don’t have the app open, the Spire can’t store all of your activity from the day, so I found some gaps in my charts. (I’m so Type A that I can’t stand having apps running in the background on my phone and I just instinctually close them all up and lock my screen!)
But all in all, I really like this tracker. Anything that reminds me to hit pause on the craziness, take a moment to appreciate the amazing life I lead, and then get back to work is something that I’ll keep in my collection.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.