Meals and Mindfulness

You’ve just arrived home after a long day at work.  You have been fighting deadlines at work, difficult people, and then that commute!  As you come in your front door, you look at your kitchen and think “there’s no WAY I have energy to cook tonight!”.  Or if you have kids, your mind goes to the meme that’s been making its way around Facebook “why do they want dinner every single night!”.  And besides, there’s activities to get to in about an hour, or another meeting for the organization you are volunteering for.  Who has time for a home cooked dinner?!

Fast forward to the end of the night, and you are in bed reflecting on your day.  Do you remember what you ate?  Were you able to connect with friends or family today?  

What if you were able to make one change to your day so that you felt connected to your family, or were just able to stop and breathe for a few minutes, and care for yourself?  One of the words that comes to my mind is a pretty trendy word right now – “mindfulness”.  Some of you will read that word, and stop reading this blog, because you’ve heard it too much.  Bear with me!

Mindfulness is the act of slowing down enough to focus your awareness on what is happening in the present moment, and then taking time to calmly acknowledge and then accept your feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.  For a lot of people that means yoga or taking time out of their day to meditate.  However, it doesn’t have to be something that is added on to your already busy schedule.  What if mindfulness was about slowing down to eat dinner at the table instead of standing in the kitchen, sitting in your car, or while watching TV?  What if it was slowing down and setting aside 20 minutes to be aware of what you are eating, interacting with your family members, or taking time to appreciate how good of a cook you are?

There is a lot of research that shows that having dinner as a family on a regular basis can affect behaviours at work and school, susceptibility to eating disorders, and overall self-image.  One article I found stated that engaging in family meals is viewed positively by both adolescents and parents and can be a useful tool for enhancing a sense of belonging and attachment.

So how do you make this happen?  How do you cook a healthy, nutritious meal to sit down to on a regular basis?  There are many ways to try this, and it really comes down to trial and error to see what might work for you.

Here are some resources that I have found that helped me at various stages in my life.  My hope is that at least one might resonate with you and help you to be able to experience mindfulness, attachment and stress release as you sit down to your meals next week.

Meal planning on your own

Slow cooker recipes

Freezer meals

Happy cooking!  Let me know if any of these resources helped you, or if you have one you’d like to share!