Mindfulness Chocolate Challenge!

Mindfulness is a type of meditation which focuses on the awareness of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment. It is free from interpretation and judgment of your own thoughts and feelings. Practicing mindfulness helps to relax the body and mind, as well helping to reduce stress levels. Today I am sharing with you a guided mindfulness activity. This was one of the very first things I did when I began studying for my Psychology degree, so it’s super beginner friendly if you haven’t tried mindfulness before. All you need for this activity is 5 minutes, 1 chocolate (or a raisin), and a pen and paper (or your phone will do).

The below activity was sourced from Duke Intergative Medicine. My personal choice for this exercise is a small Celebrations sized Malteser chocolate! Ready to begin? Find a comfortable and quiet spot and get your chocolate at the ready…

  • First, unwrap the chocolate, take it out of it’s wrapper(if it has one), and hold it between your index finger and thumb. Focus solely on the chocolate and try to imagine that this is the very first time you have ever seen this food.
  • Take some time to examine it carefully. Really look at it. Give it your full attention.
  • Allow your eyes to wonder across the chocolate, focusing on it’s shape. Are there any different colours? What does it’s surface feel like?
  • Examine it’s texture and note if there is any light shining on it, or if there are any shadows.
  • Begin to turn the chocolate between your finger tips, and continue to focus on it’s texture.
  • Apply a very small amount of pressure to the chocolate – is it soft or is it hard? Feel free to close your eyes if that allows you to really focus on how the chocolate feels between your fingers.
  • Recognize this is as chocolate. What thoughts do you have about this chocolate, if any? Are there any specific memories that come to mind? Do you like or dislike them?
  • Now hold the chocolate under your nose, and take a few natural breaths in. With each inhale, notice how the chocolate smells.
  • Continue to breathe the chocolate in and out, but now turn your attention to the effect this has had on your mouth and your stomach.
  • Slowly bring the chocolate close to your mouth. Notice if you have begun to salivate, as your body and mind prepares itself for eating.
  • Next without chewing, place the chocolate gently into your mouth.
  • Over the next 10 seconds or so, feel the chocolate with your tongue and become aware of the sensations of having it there.
  • Take a moment to become aware of this deliberate pause. How does it feel to take some time before eating this piece of chocolate?
  • When you are ready, prepare to chew. Take one or two bites into it without swallowing, and notice what happens when you do so. Bring your full attention to the chocolate’s taste and texture as you continue chewing. How does the chocolate’s taste and texture change in your mouth?
  • When you feel ready to, swallow the rest of the chocolate, focusing as you do so as it travels down to your stomach.

How does your whole body feel after completing this exercise? Take a few moments to write down any reflections and answers you may have to the following questions:

  1. Was there anything that surprised you during this exercise?
  2. What did you notice about the chocolate in relation to sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste?
  3. Did you have any thoughts or memories that you recalled during this exercise? If so, what were they?
  4. What is one takeaway from this exercise that you will try to apply to your future eating habits?

I hope that you enjoyed this mindfulness eating exercise! Redoing this activity reminded me how I used to take a moment on my commute to practice mindfulness. This helped set me up for the day ahead, as well a block out any possible annoying commuters…! If anyone has any other activities that you find useful, please do share them in the comments with me.

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month, don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

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5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

Do you have a couple of hours spare this week? Of course you do! I see you getting ready to catch up on the latest episodes of The Undoing (good choice too may I add). I am also a huge movie and TV fan (check out my list of 10 shows to binge in lockdown if you missed it) but I find that when I fall into the routine of simply, “work-eat-watch-sleep-repeat”, it can actually make me feel demotivated, rather than relaxed. So today I wanted to share with you five other easy ways that you can look after yourself this week, and get some wellness back into your life.

  1. Block Out Your Week
    If like me you are still working from home, I challenge you to spend 5 minutes this week planning your diary. Monday’s and Tuesday’s are my busiest days of the week and if I am not careful, I could easily work all day without a break. Therefore I have been making an effort to schedule time in my day specifically for a lunch break, and for a workout. This helps keep me accountable, as well as prioritize the things I need to function best and work efficiently. By scheduling this time into your diary, you will also hopefully prevent any sneaky meetings from going in! As well as this, by planning out your days with specific focus blocks for work, you will begin to distinguish between which tasks are “urgent”, and which are important. In turn, hopefully this will help you manage your time better and feel a bit more productive.

  2. Autumn Clean
    It’s not rocket science to recognize that there is a correlation between the state of your working environment and your mood. Whilst “Autumn Clean” may not have the same ring to it as “Spring Clean” does, I challenge you to find 20 minutes in your week to spruce up one area of your choice. My goal this week? My beauty products drawer – it is in dire need of some TLC since it’s last tidy back in March… eek! Whether it is your desk drawers, or the chair with the mysterious growing pile of clothes on it, choose a small area to tackle first and see how it instantly makes you feel lighter!

  3. Rise and Shine
    One thing that I have been trying to get better at prioritizing, is my morning routine. Since working from home, my snooze button has become a lot more frequent. I also find myself checking my phone first thing in the dark, then proceed to roll out of bed 3 minutes before I have to log on for work. Last week I decided to try and wake up 15 minutes earlier than I usually would. Whilst I must admit there may still have been a snooze or two, having an extra few minutes to myself in the morning before I went straight into work mode, helped me feel a bit more prepared for the day ahead. Try it and let me know if you feel the same!

  4. Go Outside
    At times, it can feel near impossible to tear yourself away from your desk. However, if you are going to do just one thing from this list, I would recommend this be it it. During the work week, try to commit yourself to at least one 20 minute walk a day. I always notice a dramatic difference in my mood after I have had some fresh air; something which has been lacking now that I don’t have a commute. If there are no furry friends or companions to keep you company, do what I do and listen to a podcast as an incentive to get you away from your desk. Remember, daylight will not hang around for you in these colder months and you can always continue to work an extra 20 minutes in the evening if you absolutely need to.

  5. Mix It Up
    This one requires a bit of thinking from you. What is one fun thing you only give time to when you go on holiday or when it’s the weekend? Is it playing your guitar? Crocheting? For me, it is reading. I am a repeat offender of starting a new book on holiday to then only forget about it as soon as I step off the plane. This week, choose one fun thing you like to do and spend an hour doing it.

I hope this list gave you some inspiration for simple but effective ways to put yourself first this week. What other things would you recommend doing? Let me know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month, don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

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Glow In Your Life

It’s the last Monday of January as I write this post and boy, hasn’t this month flown past! Overall the first month of 2018 has been productive, positive and it’s going at a momentum that I’m excited to be rolling at throughout the year ( I just need to avoid getting any viruses!)

Yesterday I saw Summer Friday’s, a beauty and skin care business co-founded by blogger and Youtuber Marianna Hewitt, post a photo on Instagram all about which areas of life bring light and happiness to our lives; which elements make us glow (and I’m not talking just about J-Lo glowing skin, but that’s good too!) I think so many people search for happiness and say they will be happy once they reach a certain goal, (that won’t last long by the way). Feeling genuinely content I believe is made up by the little things, which form our routine and ultimately our outlook and behaviour. It is these factors which make us glow, factors which will undoubtedly change as we go through different stages in our lives.

This got me thinking, what behaviours or hobbies make me feel refreshed, motivated and relaxed at this point in my life. What are the big and small things that get the most out of me and leave me feeling driven and ambitious?

My elements of glow are:

– Fresh air everyday

– More exercise

– Hair mask

– Taking time to check in with myself and give me what I need without having to justify it to anyone

– Tidy environment (clothes, bedroom, desk)

– Making time for friends

– 8 hours sleep

– Blogging

– Reading more (books that actually interest me, not what I think I should be reading)

– People who inspire me and make me want to be better (whether that’s an an actor, writer, friend, my boyfriend or family)

– Seeing progress

– Trying new fashion clothing (even if they don’t suit me! It’s fun to try them on in the changing rooms and having a giggle)

– Having a bit of glam up me-time (c’mon everyone likes up a glow up! Even if that’s just washing your hair or putting on your make-up)

– A balance between living for the now and planning for the future

– Laughter

– Feeling confident in myself, dreaming big and thinking positively for the future

I have a combination of things that make me feel good physically, mentally as well as indulging in the materialist pleasures here and there in my list. However I feel that it’s definitely the ‘behaviour’ factors that make me feel inspired for the future, that get the best out of me and I would vote as the highest quality ‘glow elements’. I think it’s actually really important to draw out one of these lists, it helps to re-establish your direction and you have some good ideas for stress relieves!

What’s on your list as we draw to the end of January?

Happy Monday!