meditation

Coping Mechanisms: Thoughts on Meditation

Hi lovely people and dreamers!

I’m so behind with everything right now, but I’m still managing to show up at some point, right? The Tiny Princess hasn’t been quite herself this week, which means I haven’t had much time for anything else the last few days.

2020 hasn’t been the year any of us thought it would be, and it’s not always easy to let that go. I’ve been doing a lot of meditating lately as a way to sift through my feelings and calm my anxiety. It’s not the easiest thing all the time – my brain likes to run a million miles a minute and finding the focus for meditation isn’t always easy.

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Emptying Your Mind is a Misleading Phrase

It’s hard to empty your mind of everything, and often, the way that people talk about meditation makes it seem like that is the only way to meditate: clear your mind and relax, or something like that. And I had a difficult time with that because there is no earthly way to clear my mind – at least none that I’ve figured out yet anyways.

Instead, I’ve found it helpful to find something to fidget with – something with texture to keep my fingers busy is great – close my eyes and just practice acknowledging my thoughts. I don’t focus on anything in particular, I just take note of the things that come through my mind, and then move on. It’s not as easy as it sounds and I’m definitely not very good at it yet, but it’s actually been very helpful in reducing my anxiety on bad days.

On days that it’s hard to even do what I just described, I’ll find an affirmation, Scripture, or inspirational phrase/word and focus on that instead. It gives my brain something to analyze and work on while still practicing that mental focus.

Silence, Sounds, Solitude

It’s hard to find uninterrupted time to myself right now with a 9-month-old baby roaming the house. I’m very lucky that she takes fairly consistent naps, so at least I can time my 10-15 minutes of meditation more easily. But I still have the baby monitor in the room and just knowing that its there can take away from my focus. It’s not easy, and that’s just the season I’m in right now, but it’s still important to take care of myself, so I’ve been trying to make it happen anyways.

The baby monitor we have vibrates when she starts to cry, so I’ve been able to turn the volume all the way down while still knowing that I won’t miss anything if she needs me. That helps quite a bit. Locking the cats out of the room helps too since sitting still always looks like an invitation for them to come and sit on my lap. Claws in my leg are not exactly helpful!

But even perfect silence is still not always the best. I think it causes me to start listening even harder for something to disrupt my mental focus – the irony of that is a little annoying. I definitely do best with some sort of sound, whether it’s white noise or music. I use an app called Insight Timer, and it allows me to add a gong or bell sound at preset intervals throughout my meditation session – sounds like a weird thing maybe, but I’ve found that hearing a specific noise every 30 seconds or so helps me refocus my mind again instead of accidentally getting lost somewhere along the way.

Practice and Forcing It

I’m the worst when it comes to just relaxing and letting things go at their own pace. I have to see improvement quickly or I get frustrated. This is something I’m working on in a lot of areas of my life, but I find that it’s more difficult with certain things. Meditation is one of them – it sounds too easy when in fact, it’s quite difficult.

It took several attempts over several months for me to actually understand that this was something I was going to have to practice as well. Just like drawing: my hands don’t automatically know how to create a recognizable picture. My brain doesn’t necessarily know how to focus and find the clarity that I’m looking for. So meditation is something that requires practice as well. And practice can not be rushed or forced.


This week I’ve been brainstorming and researching some new coping mechanisms beyond writing – I have a tendency to rely solely on the one and it doesn’t always work out so well. So I may be writing more on different self-care and coping strategies in the near future as I experiment and try some new things out!


Love, light, and a heaping dose of kindness,

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Posted by katharine_marie in Anxiety, Depression, General, Life in 2020, Lifestyle, mental health, 2 comments

the energy to be mindful

Hello beautiful readers!

In November of 2018, only a couple of months after I first launched this website, I wrote a post called Mindful Monday. It was meant to be a weekly check-in post to help keep myself accountable for whatever goals I was making. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it when I wrote that post, but it evolved into something lovely. According to my archives, I wrote a total of 27 posts under that tag – Mindful Monday.

And then, when I was sorting through content ideas for 2020, I left the Mindful Monday idea off the table. I enjoyed writing those posts, but something compelled me to go in a different direction for a little while.

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My goal for 2020 was to dig a little deeper, to bring some more focus back to mental health and how it affects daily life. And for all intents and purposes, I didn’t feel I needed to expend my energy on a weekly/biweekly accountability post when I was doing so much better at keeping up with my planner. So I decided monthly was enough of a check-in for right now, and wanted to focus my writing energy on as many other posts as I could get to.

Being mindful can mean so many different things, and I’m learning to practice mindfulness in different ways. Sometimes it means meditation, sometimes it means just taking a deep breath and finding a way to focus on how things are right now and not how they might be in the future. This has been very important during the pandemic since everyone is under very new and different forms of stress.

I still think at some point I will bring back the idea of my Mindful Monday posts, but this season of my life is very different – everything is moving so much more quickly, I have less time in my day than ever before, and as I work on managing my perfectionism and control issues, my simple planner is more than enough for the moment. That’s if I were to use the title in the same way that I did before. I am considering changing the focus and writing the occasional informative mental health post and the title could be used there too – this idea might come back a little further in the future. We will just have to wait and see.

I follow a variety of different blogs and it’s been nice to see that I’m not the only one having feelings about everything that’s going on. It’s so hard right now not to see the chaos of the entire world and feel an impending panic attack because of it. It’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves at times because we can’t go to our favorite restaurant or just go shopping for the fun of it, and then, if you’re like me, you feel guilty for it because “at least you’re safe and can stay home.” It’s a delicate balance of being incredibly grateful that we are financially stable enough for The Husband to spend a month on furlough and still recover and also just wishing things would go back to normal. It’s complaining about wanting sit-down Mexican food while at the same time planning for another month-six weeks of social distancing for us personally, even after Texas reopens. There are lots of complex emotions surrounding this whole situation and there’s no need to try and explain them away because it’s totally normal to feel this way.

This blog post has been a complex jumble of thoughts and emotions too and it’s turned out nothing like what I planned. And I think I’m okay with that and I’ll go ahead and post it because someday in the future I’ll flip through and contemplate everything that we went through during this season. And it will be a good reminder of how easily we take things for granted.


Love, light, and kindness,

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Posted by katharine_marie in General, Lifestyle, mental health, 0 comments