The modern world makes mindfulness a mission to pursue, which is absolutely crucial especially in preconception, pregnancy and postpartum. Between being exposed to constant technology, financial and lifestyle stressors, getting caught up in the rat race running after kids and focusing on productivity and success as we are conditioned to do so, finding time and moments to be ‘mindful’ is tough.
But what is mindfulness? In this post we will walk you through how mindfulness isn’t necessarily finding time in the day to meditate for 30 minutes. Mindfulness is an attitude, adaptation and a way of living and with time it is much easier than you think, and your family and your wellbeing will thank you for it!
Okay, so I am not going to tell you to throw all your electronics into the closest river, ocean, lake etc. But I am going to tell you why we need to start thinking about minimising our exposure to electronics and how to do so further down this blog. How many hours do you spend scrolling socials, planning or working on your computer or watching tv to wind down? Don’t get me wrong there is nothing sweeter than shutting off from the wildness of the day snuggling into the couch and losing yourself in schitt’s creek and scrolling socials while you accidentally finish a block of chocolate #guilty.
While we think this is switching off and having some ‘me time’ it is doing more harm than good! Constant exposure to blue light and technology especially from different sources at one time is dramatically impacting our health. Constant exposure to stimuli is the new normal in the modern world and this feeds our stress response, hello high cortisol and hormonal dysregulation. We are usually winding down by sitting on the lounge with our laptop open and/or scrolling on our phones - hello stress and blue light exposure! Blue light is present in our phones, computers, tv, house lights, work lights etc. and being exposed to this alters our circadian rhythm (our sleep wake cycle) disrupting things like our melatonin production, metabolism, sleep quality, detoxification, and hormonal regulation. Winding down and sleep hygiene has never been so important for your health! Our top tips for this are listed below!
Reducing stress in today’s day and age is tough, between running after family appointments, trying to juggle a social life and career. How on earth do the mums do it online! Truth is most of them don’t or they have a badass support network around them. Being caught in the ‘mum guilt’ cycle is real! Our thoughts shape our actions and negative emotions or surrounding yourself with negative people or people who make that mum guilt shine bright need to go and that’s always easier said than done. Below I will give you tips on how to facilitate a mindful attitude and detox that negativity!
Meditation is not for everyone. Some people are amazing at this and can get incredible benefits after years of practice, but for the average person trying to still the mind is tough! Building resilience and finding a mindful practice that suits you is best is paramount! This is such an important skill to start and master. It supports focus, reduces anxiety, improves mental health and builds resilience to external stressors we have no control over! Mindful practices are all about being present with yourself. Whether that means waking up 15 minutes before everyone in the house and switching on a mindful meditation on youtube in bed OR laying in the sun for 10 minutes while the kids are playing and focusing on your breath. Grounding practices and mindfulness are far more adaptable in your life than you think and there are amazing resources and simple tools everyone has access to!
Our two favourite tools to get you started on your mindful journey are:
The Mood Mission App
This app will be the best $8 you ever spend to support your mental health and wellbeing. Not only does this app refine and use cognitive behavioural therapy, mindful strategies, tools, and educational support. The data is also collected and used as research into mental health!
The Calm App
Manage stress, balance moods, sleep better and refocus your attention. Guided meditation, Sleep Stories, soundscapes, breathwork and stretching exercises, practice self-healing, feel better by reducing anxiety, prioritizing your self-care and choosing a guided meditation session that fits within your busy schedule. Introduce mindfulness and breathing exercises into your daily routine and experience their life-changing benefits.
How to help!
Find your social limit!
Every phone now has a phone use limit tracker, so whip out your phone head to settings and give yourself 15-30mins per day of time to scroll your phone and pick a time that is best for you. Ideally after breakfast or lunch. Somewhere in the day not near bed or winding down!
Switch off after dinner and get outside early in the morning!
Sleep hygiene is something we are obsessed with at Mungbean Health and for good reason. Want to support mental health, digestion, metabolism and energy levels. Ensuring you get direct sunlight exposure in the mornings and exposure to the sunset in the evenings is very important for hormonal and metabolic health as this light helps to reduce cortisol, increase neurotransmitter synthesis and support your sleep/wake cycle. Ensure adequate rest by getting 8 hours of sleep per night. Practice good sleep hygiene by limiting phone and computer time after 7:30pm. Turn down bright lights, stay off social media, have a warm shower or bath, practice a meditation or mindfulness activity in the evening before the bed if you can. Be in bed, asleep by 9pm (or earlier) if possible. Make it clean, cool and welcoming. Ensure sheets are being washed weekly, encourage no meals 3 hours prior to bed, use herbal teas to increase sleep or libido, strictly no phones or electronics. Buy an alarm clock and remove mobile phones. Use your wind down routine to help promote healthy sleep hygiene practices.
Scroll through your phone and spend ten minutes writing out the people and pages that fill your cup and the ones that don’t. Now remove all the negativity from your pages and lives. This is always easier said than done when some of these people are unavoidable limit your time with them. Find the happy balance.
One of our favourites at Mungbean Health is grounding.
Get out in Nature. Whether this is for 15 mins, bush walking or spending the day at the beach! The benefits are amazing! The colours and senses we are exposed to regulate our neurotransmitters, support our nervous system and hormones! Try to spend 10 minutes everyday with your shoes off & feet in the grass. This is called 'grounding'. It is a great way to support your nervous system & your cardiovascular system while also improving general wellbeing. As often as possible, you are to take off your socks and shoes and go outside barefoot. Whether it be your backyard, local park, beach ect it’s about getting fresh air and connecting back with the outside world. Your immune system functions optimally when your body has an adequate supply of electrons, which are easily and naturally obtained by barefoot contact with the Earth. Research indicates that electrons from the Earth have antioxidant effects that can protect your body from inflammation and its many well-documented health consequences. For most of our evolutionary history, humans have had continuous contact with the Earth. It is only recently that substances such as asphalt, wood, rugs, and plastics have separated us from this contact.
Stress Reduction, Self-Love & Slow Living.
You do not always have to feel stressed for your body to respond to stress. Your body is constantly under stress from just keeping up with your daily routine. So finding good stress management techniques can help you regulate your mind and body. Using guided meditation podcasts before bed, taking 4 breaths before eating, finding a yoga studio to go to once a week, or beautiful sunrise routines are all ways to improve your stress response. Taking time weekly or daily to enjoy your favourite cuppa or magazine, spending time in the shower for a little extra self-love, to exfoliate or dry skin brush to improve circulation and lymphatic drainage is also recommended. Selfcare isn’t just about a good skin care routine or getting a massage 1x per month. It’s a way to be present, love yourself and release all those happy hormones to improve wellbeing and longevity!
I hope you have opened your notes in your phone and have written down our top 5 tips to start being more mindful in the modern world to support you in preconception, pregnancy, postpartum or beyond!