For many working Americans, a national (or federal) holiday brings about feelings of “yippee”. It could mean a 3- or 4-day weekend from work, time to take a vacation, or the opportunity to attend a special, themed event.
In reflection of the Labor Day weekend, I am reminded of the idea of mindfulness. Merriam-Webster defines mindfulness as (1) the quality or state of being mindful or (2) the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis (2015).
The idea of mindfulness is referenced often in health and wellness promotion. We even have a division of medicine exclusively focused on the area; Mind-body Medicine. The concept of mindfulness can be a critical one to incorporate into efforts that support participant behavior change which is particularly relevant to chronic conditions or overall behavior in support of maintaining physiological wellness, absent of diagnosis. Therefore, I like to find opportunities to link to the concept.
Holidays can be a great time to remind ourselves to slow down, connect with family or social networks, and, overall, find opportunities for joyfulness. They can also be great times to take inventory of personal priorities. I have found that 3-day weekends present an excellent opportunity to take a personal productivity day that may not have been available otherwise. This can help bring about balance to an often hectic lifestyle and, therefore, contribute to greater mindfulness as we move forward into the next days, months, seasons, and/or years.
This Labor Day weekend, I delicately balanced time with friends and my dog with the management of a few personal affairs. In Chicago, we were fortuned with late summer weather so, naturally, a trip to the Lake Michigan waterfront was included.
Often, on weekends, I am furiously managing google alerts and personal e-mails not reviewed during the week, running errands, cleaning my apartment, working out and planning fitness regimes, and preparing meals for the next work week to come.
This weekend, however, I powered down for most all of Saturday and Sunday. Then, used Monday to gradually re-power up, so to speak, and caught up on a few personal affairs. In hopes to avoid a “case of the Mondays” (only this week on Tuesday), I avoided an excessive, over planned schedule. This further allowed for awareness of the various moments and presented better opportunity to be fully present within them.
…I hope that many were able to do the same.
In further support of this concept, Raquel Vasallo’s 20 Signs You’re A Spiritually Healthy Person is a great reminder for a big picture view of living mindfully (2014).
Ashley L Arnold, MBA, MPH is a lifestyle health educator and coach who supports clients to channel authority over their health, well-being, and overall vitality. Offering health education approaches and 1-on-1 coaching modules, she gets them out of excess weeds of information and inconsistent practices that don’t get desired results. Through helping people focus on the right applications paired with appropriate consideration for bio-individual facets, they become stronger, more confident self-advocates for their health. Bottom line, they will surpass challenges, embrace healthful living with ease, and, best of all, feel a greater sense of empowerment and more energy!
Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. (2015). Mindfulness. Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mindfulness on September 7, 2015.
Vasallo, R. (2014, July 2010). 20 Signs You’re A Spiritually Healthy Person. Mind Body Green. Retrieved from http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14440/20-signs-youre-a-spiritually-healthy-person.html on August 1, 2015.