For the next 40 days…

Well, at this point, it’s the next 31 days, but who’s counting?! Anyway, as a Catholic (not as much of a practicing Catholic as I should be…), we “give something up” during the Lenton season, which lasts 40 days. Over the years, I’ve given up gum, ice cream, chips, French fries and soda, to name a few.

lent- no junk

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This past year, though, when I thought about what I wanted to “give up”, I was stumped. I thought about a lot of different things, but wasn’t really sold on anything; I just couldn’t find something that I thought I should give up (well, besides texting while driving, which should be an every day thing, not just a Lenton thing). Instead, I decided to add something. Something that I knew wouldn’t be easy, but that I knew would be beneficial to me.

What is that, you ask? Meditation.

lent-meditate

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Say, what?! The girl who doesn’t ever stop, is always adding more on her plate and complains about those two things all the time probably too often is adding meditation to her schedule?

Yup. It’s true. I’ve decided to take 10 minutes of my day to just be still. No tv, no music, no iPad, no computer/blogging, no Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. Just me, being still and focusing on my breath. Inhaling and exhaling for 10. whole. minutes. You may not think that would be that hard, but for me, it’s been incredibly hard! As soon as I shut my eyes, my mind starts racing sounds a little something like this:

“Shoot. I forgot to do respond to that email.”

“What am I going to teach in kickboxing tomorrow? I like that burpee-kick move I’ve been doing.”

“Should I work from home tomorrow?”

“What should I wear to the gym tomorrow? New blue pants?”

“What time do I have to get up?”

“Monique. You’re just supposed to be breathing here, not thinking. Breathe in, breathe out. There you go. I should have a snack before bed….”

As you can see, it has been a real challenge for me to turn OFF my thoughts and to focus on my breath. But, at the end of the day, I think this is really good for me. It’s time every day when I can just sit, without any distractions. And, you know what? It’s getting easier! My thoughts have slowed down and I really look forward to those 10 minutes of my day. I’ve also been sleeping better since I started doing this, and I have to attribute it to the fact that I’m giving myself time to decompress before I go to bed. Normally, I am blogging or catching up on social media right until the time I go to bed, which means when I get in bed, I spend a good chunk of time trying to unwind from the day and slow my thoughts before I’m able to actually fall asleep.

Since I’ve seen some positive changes and I’m only a week in, I’m interested to see how the next 31 days will go with this challenge. If you’re like me and could agree with anything I said in this post, I urge you to try it- turn off all electronics, set your timer and close your eyes for 10 minutes. I’d love to know what you think and how it makes you feel!

Questions for you: What did you give up for Lent, if you’re Catholic? Have you ever meditated? Do you do anything before bed to help you relax?

I hope you all have a great St. Patty’s Day weekend! If you’re looking for tips on how to stay in control and to make good decisions, check out the post I wrote last year: Tips to Stay [Relatively] Healthy on St. Patrick’s Day… there are some good tips to keep in mind 🙂

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26 thoughts on “For the next 40 days…

  1. Mary says:

    What a great idea for lent! I’ve noticed that I am getting a little bit better at mediating during savasana at the end of yoga.. Although there are many times my mind races, what am I going to have to dinner, etc.. But this post has inspired me to try to mediate more then just once a week at yoga, something to think about! For lent I gave up pizza and pasta. After eating pizza twice in one week (not necessary!) I realized I needed to reign it in with the pizza consumption.

  2. Kim says:

    I would be just like you on the meditating – in fact that is how I spend a chunk of my time that I should be sleeping!!!
    I’m not Catholic but I still gave something up for Lent – happy hour (my daily cocktail or wine) – all I can say is, “Lent is a long time!!!”

  3. Jean Brennan says:

    great addition–I have never been able to do this, but I am going to try for the next 30 days!! Enjoy the weekend.

  4. Jen Ryder says:

    I like that idea! 10 minutes must feel like FOREVER at first! I remember in Eat, Pray, Love how hard it was for her to get used to the meditation and just sitting there with no thoughts. For hours. I might give this a try too! I gave up coffee and alcohol. The coffee was alot easier to give up this year (I did it last year too). Except on these cold mornings! Alcohol- not too tough. Although that does make for a rather tame St. Pattys Weekend in Boston! I have been out twice this week and had soda water with lime……my “mocktail”!

    • Burpees to Bubbly says:

      It really does! I totally feel like Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love- I can see how you can become better at it, but it’s definitely not something that would happen over night. You’ve gone the majority of 2014 without alcohol- very impressive! Mocktails aren’t so bad, and I’m sure you appreciate them the next morning when you wake up with no hangover 😉

  5. Lauren says:

    Call me crazy, but I went all-out this year! I gave up pizza, bagels, chips and most importantly – INSTAGRAM! 9 days strong! 😛

  6. Laurie Jirak says:

    There is a new book out by Dan Harris, “10% happier” that I am eager to read. My understanding is that in his path to a less-perfection-driven life, he turned to meditation.

  7. Athena @ Fitness & Feta says:

    I really like this post, Monique! It reminds me of a concept I was reading about called an “addition” diet – instead of focusing on what foods you shouldn’t eat and eliminating them, you focus on foods that you should eat and adding them. This is similar since you are adding meditation! I agree it will be challenging for you, but definitely beneficial in the long run. I just may join you girls!

    In the Greek Orthodox land, you don’t really “give up” one particular thing – you are just supposed to not eat animal products for the entire 40 days. My family didn’t really abide by this very strictly growing up, so we pretty much stick to no meat on Fridays.

    • Burpees to Bubbly says:

      Thanks, Athena! I think that’s a great way to think about a “diet”- I just had this conversation with someone when he was upset about having to give up so many foods for dietary reasons… thinking about what you CAN have and SHOULD have would make the whole process a lot easier, I think. Let me know if you try it! no animal products for 40 days?? I don’t think I could do that! No meat on Fridays is hard enough 🙂

  8. Meredith says:

    I really like the ‘adding’ concept rather than taking away, meditation is a great idea. I’m looking forward to hearing your recap about it! Have a fun weekend love!

  9. suzanne gagnon says:

    Hi Nick, Great post! I can’t wait to hear more about your meditating–it might be something I could try–keep me posted. I loved all the comments that were posted–what an interesting group of readers you have! As a strong, practicing Catholic, I did not give up anything for Lent–I’ve done it all, and I agree with you that it’s time to add something good to this time. I’m helping out with more service type things at school lately–they need so much! Mom

    • Burpees to Bubbly says:

      Thanks, mom! You could probably use some “still” time, too. I loved all the comments on this post- I’ve got the best readers! You definitely do a lot for the school and for your church.

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