One thing we have been more aware of since becoming vegan is mindfulness. Mindfulness is being aware of your own thoughts and feelings and your world – the people around you, the environment in which you live / work and living in the present moment – not dwelling on the past or living for the future but making the most of here and now.
Mindfulness makes a huge difference to your mental health, reducing stress, anxiety and increasing your overall well-being and happiness enabling you to focus on what is important to you. I am not fully sure why becoming vegan has encouraged us to become more interested in mindfulness , whether it is the overwhelming feeling of compassion towards all living creatures or whether it is discovering how much better we feel within ourselves or a bit of both, but I do know that we both feel better since we have been reading about it and learning.
There are many ways to practise mindfulness and I will go into some of these in future post as we learn and develop our skills in this, but today I want to mention about taking some time out. This is something everybody can benefit from – whether it’s alone or with someone you love to be around. It contributes to mindfulness without meditating or practising breathing and is very good for your well-being.
When you work full time and have a family to care for – making sure your children are clean and fed, doing homework, keeping up with School events such as making costumes for special days, household chores such as washing, ironing, dishes, cleaning and polishing, dealing with everyday stresses such as financial, unexpected problems, work-related stresses it is easy to forget about you. The negatives in life can build up and cause you to neglect yourself.
If you neglect yourself, this can have a big impact on your mental well-being and on your family. Some signs you are neglecting yourself and need some time out are:
- you become easily frustrated
- you are overeating
- you get pulled into other people’s drama
- you are becoming increasingly critical of yourself
- you are exhausted
We have been there before, and last week we both felt some of the above was creeping in – the first two months after Christmas are always the more challenging. Paul and I decided to have a day for ourselves – some time out, but together. For me this is the perfect time out – quality time together.
We booked the Friday off work and decided that as the weather was terrible we would go to the Trafford Centre. We visit there a lot with the children and always enjoy it, but we never look at what we want to look at. If we do, we are bombarded with “this is boring” and “when are we going?” and “I am hungry” or “I need the toilet”.
We went early in the morning so it was quiet. We went to Waterstone’s and spent a long time looking through books, reading all the synopsis’ of everything that caught our eye and gaining inspiration for what we want to do in the future and where we want to be. We also went into John Lewis and looked at every little piece of kitchenware, the new gadgets and gizmos that you can use.
I love my children to pieces and cherish every moment with them, but it felt wonderful to be able to spend quality time with my husband, browsing things we loved and laughing about silly things that only we would find funny without any interruptions.
We had lunch at Yang Sing Cathay. We have been there before as the vegan choices are delicious and they have a large gluten free menu, but we always have the children with us. Yang Sing Cathay is a Cantonese restaurant in the China Town part of Trafford Centre. It has a lovely atmosphere, friendly staff and is great for families and as we discovered on Friday, for couples too.
We had Salt & Pepper Bean Curd, Lo Han Style Vegetables, Mixed Vegetables in Garlic and Boiled Rice. I had a glass of Pinot Grigio (I googled all the wine to find the vegan one) and Paul had a Chinese Beer. It was delicious as always and refreshing to enjoy our meal from a ‘couple’ point of view rather than from a family point of view.
Having a day out, just the two of us is definitely what we needed. It is definitely important to make time for yourself – and for you and your partner as a couple. Now the weather is getting slightly warmer, I am looking forward to starting running again – I always feel better and more focused when running. I am also looking forward to going on more walks and getting outdoors more – this is another way to reflect and relax.
When we picked the children up from School I felt refreshed, energised and focused again. If you have a family and find yourself becoming wrapped up in daily life so much so that you are showing signs of neglecting yourself, I highly recommend taking some time out.