I spend my life drifting from one meaningless distraction to another.
I have a stockpile of things to worry about each morning from getting enough time to wash and dress myself before the children take over, to how am I going to entertain them all day, to what am I going to feed them, and most importantly how am I going to sneak in the 3 tons of chocolate that’s keeping me going without either them seeing it or much worse, having to share some!
When I do get five minutes to myself (when their dad is doing bedtime and I’m not feeding the rabbits or tidying up after another home cooked but exhaustingly messy baby-led dinner) I choose to fill this sacred time with mindless drivel.
I discovered about a year ago that I fit the description of what is referred to as an HSP, a ‘Highly Sensitive Person’ and a part of that is that I really must have a period of solitude or ‘down time’ each day or I go a little bit crazy.
Having this knowledge and finding that time is the relatively easy part. I am much more fortunate than many mums who are either raising children on their own or have partners that work long hours and so are basically midweek single parents. This is a small window of freedom many are not fortunate enough to have, let alone waste. And waste it is what I do.
How do I spend this holy hour (not quite, but not far off an hour most nights)? Two words: Crap T.V.
I can’t help myself. My current favourites are ‘The Real Housewives of Cheshire’ and ‘The Only Way is Essex’. I devour these shows like a child opening presents on Christmas morning. I pause it, and even rewind it, if there is even the slightest distraction or disturbance during the (reasonably terrible) dialogue. I have absolutely no idea why I care so much about what one surgically enhanced character says to another. But I do.
Like any addict after I’ve had my fix, I am then consumed with a lovely mix of guilt, embarrassment and shame. I am often left wondering if I have replaced real human contact with living through the lives of this small collection of vain ‘celebrities’.
My subconscious is screaming:
Hello! Aren’t you running a mindfulness support group? Why aren’t you using this time to promote the group, blog, prep for the sessions or, here’s a crazy notion, practice MINDFULNESS!
Mindfulness is helping me to spot the many areas of my life that could do with a tweak, if not a complete revamp and this is obviously a good place to have dig.
I am realising that whenever I get a moment to myself (or with my husband), I am choosing to zone out in front of a boxset (currently re-watching the Sopranos) with snacks and booze, rather than utilising this time for self improvement or enriching my life .
Many people confuse mindfulness with relaxation. I have no problem with needing some ‘down time’ to engage with a meaningless programme (I’m obviously not referring to the masterpiece that is ‘The Sopranos’ here) however now that I am becoming more and more aware of my emotions, I am increasingly alerted to the fact that this sedentary pastime leaves me drained, lethargic and uninspired.
I am going to use this mindfulness of how the status quo makes me feel to attempt to alter how I choose to spend my freedom.
This is an example of how being aware and accepting of how your actions are making you feel can give you the opportunity to reflect and make any changes that you might find beneficial.
This is the powerful awakening that practicing mindfulness can lead you to, if you choose to embrace it.
Do you have any guilty pleasures that are taking up your time without giving much back in return? Is it wrong to spend your life watching other people’s lives rather than living our own? Why are the cast of TOWIE all so orange?
I’d love to hear from you.