Um...did I start the dishwasher? Hold on. Let me check real quick. And let me re-heat my coffee that went cold because I forgot to drink it while I'm in there.
Anyway...Focus! Yeah. Lack of focus. That's what this blog is going to be about.
In all seriousness, it made me feel infinitely better to know that most of my symptoms could be chalked up to hormonal shifts. Because it's been a dramatic ride in the last couple of years, and while I've been dealing with hot flashes and night sweats for quite some time, the weight gain, and ability to focus snuck up on me.
I have tried a few different ways to help deal with the changes going on in my body. But a lot of them involve taking supplements and pills, and hello? If I'm having trouble focusing and remembering things, how am I going to remember to take a pill? Or if I have taken it already? Or what day it is?
I've used a few different "Menopause" vitamins. And Black Cohosh supplements. But I could not remember to take them consistently, and because of that, they gave me additional highs and lows I didn't need in my life. I know they work well for some people, but I felt like they added to the waves I desperately wanted to calm.
So I've been googling, and aside from regular exercise (UGH), the best thing I've found is mediation.
Working with meditation practice and allowing your brain to work on one thing only, like breathing, is a fantastic way to begin regaining focus in your life.
I fell off the meditation wagon this month, and I am a prime example of what happens when you stop. My brain suffered for it. I had been meditating consistently for months, and it was when I began skipping days that I noticed my mind slipping.
Of course some awful things in the news and triggered memories were pushing to the front, and the last thing I wanted was to be alone with my mind. So I thought I could push all of it aside and work with distraction instead.
While distraction works for me in the short term, and we all do it, there came a point where I needed to climb back out.
I'm working my way back to my normal now, and journaling and mediation are part of it. I blogged about my favorite mediation apps in June of this year. They're all pretty much the same. I've been sticking primarily to Mindfullness. The ability to tell myself that "this will only take five minutes" is what I need to force myself to do the work.
With my brain, getting started is the hardest part. If you're struggling to get on the meditation band wagon...just try.
If you've never done it before, don't be intimidated. You don't have to get your legs in a pretzel and sit on the hard floor to get the benefits. Hell, I've done it in the car while waiting for hubby to get off work.
THREE STEPS TO MEDITATING
1. Get comfy. Let your shoulders drop, and get your hands in a place that feels like they won't slip. I usually intertwine my fingers and place them so my palms face my stomach. I also meditate barefoot with my feet flat on the floor. But find where you can feel most relaxed.
2. Turn off your phone. Obviously if you're using an app, or timer on your phone, this won't work, but the Mindfullness App I use can work while my phone is on Airplane mode. So try that. Open your app, or set a timer for however long you want to meditate for. Even five minutes makes a huge difference.
3. Breathe. There are all kinds of different techniques on this. But at the end of the day, focusing on your breath is all you need. If I'm struggling with something I imagine breathing in one thing while letting something else go. For example, on the in breath I'll imagine breathing in calm, and on the out breath, I'll imagine expelling stress from my body. Or confidence and fear. Or strength and pain. I adjust as needed. But by focusing on letting the good in and the bad out, I can be in touch with myself, and use my breath to work on it.
Are you struggling with focus? Or with giving meditation a real shot? Let me know what your tips are for getting back in the swing of things when you fall off the boat. I'd love to hear any tips you have.