Monday, October 31st
Farm animals… Check
Meat on a stick… Check
Flying acrobatic dogs… Check
Deep fried dough… Check
All signs point to a fun-filled experience at the North Carolina State fair. One thing I didn’t expect to get from the experience was a wonderful opportunity to practice mindfulness and self-care. While walking through crowds of people from all over the state it would have been easy to get annoyed or frustrated every time a stranger ran into me or cut us off in mid-stride. Instead, I noticed how my mind responded to each encounter. See a few of these insights below.
Lessons learned at the fair:
- I really don’t enjoy big crowds anymore – My dad has been saying this for years and I used to think he was kind of lame. Now I respect his decision because frankly hanging out with a lot of other people – especially strangers – can be sort of exhausting.
- I should always pack a lunch – even just a peanut butter jelly sandwich. I know, I know the food is half the fun at the fair. However, knowing that I have something well-balanced on hand and not being subject to the deep-fried, calorie dense fluff gives me the peace of mind to make a mindful and delicious decision (like a frozen chocolate covered banana!) in the face of too many choices.
- Staying well hydrated is imperative. I should always fill up my water when I have the opportunity because the next water fountain might be broken.
- Practice mental health exercises before, during, and after. I need to do 30 minutes of exercise such as a brisk walk or short jog before potentially stressful or draining events. Exercise is my form of mental health, maybe for you relaxing includes reading a good book, doing crafts, or talking to a friend.
- Stay in the moment. Appreciate humanity. Take pictures and smile because you’re having fun. Don’t let one person stepping on your toes (literally or figuratively!) ruin the rest of the experience.
Food for thought:
What are some of your self-care truths? You can discover this by filling in the blank:
I feel most peaceful and happy when: _____________________________________________________.
When are you not taking caring of yourself?
I feel overwhelmed and irritable when: ____________________________________________________.
With the holidays rapidly approaching, I encourage each of you to list at least 3 ways you can take care of yourself during this festive and fun-filled season.
- Bubble bath at least 1x/week
- Getting a great book to read when I need to relax