The first Sunday I’ve been able to appreciate in years (literally). A relaxing day, time to reflect, food shopping and a Sunday roast. A pace you decide and a cup of tea on the bedside at 10am. I’d like to talk a little more about self-care, something I touched upon in my last post, and something I may continue to feature more… because it’s so important! Whilst there are so many forms of self-care, each with a different aim or purpose, today is all on mindful eating.
Mindful eating is the process of being mindful, or aware/attentive, of the eating process. You would probably most recognise it from mindfulness, a very popular psychological process bringing your attention to the present moment. Mindful eating is very similar to this, but bringing you to the present moment through what you are eating. I find being able to introduce mindfulness to something as simple as eating, which everyone has to do, an easy way to begin to slow down your brain and begin to become present. So how do you do it?
First… 1) Minimise all tasks and just eat.
That means ignore the lovely picture above of the open book. You need to try and be completely focused on your food with no distracts. That includes watching, texting, reading and all these multi-tasking activities! Most important is to sit down at the table. Pausing all activity for the short time you’ll be eating will give you the best effects of the process, yet if this is impossible for you, keep those distractions as minimal as possible!
2) Make your food and your table presentable.
Although food flat lays always seem a bit excessive and only for the sake a cute picture — having a dish that appeals to you, as well as tableware and utensils that you find pleasing, will make the experience all that more enjoyable. Clear your clutter from the table, lay your food on your favourite bowls and plates and even put some fresh flowers in a vase.
3) Create an environment.
Lighting, soft music, we’re talking all out. Why do you think expensive restaurants succeed at making your meal so enjoyable? Find yourself a room with a pleasant balance of light, play some of your favourite chill songs… this is a moment to yourself, or even with your significant family or friends, help yourself appreciate it.
4) Concentrate on the senses!
One of the most valuable things I learnt and perhaps the most important so that mindful eating can be practiced anywhere, is to concentrate on your senses. Most importantly the sense of taste, but also the smell and texture of the food too. I often close my eyes whilst eating my food to enable all these senses to take over my racing thoughts. By withdrawing your mind from the day around you and focusing on particular elements helps to calm the psychological state and slow down.
This may not be a useful technique for everyone (if you have young children and never get a quiet moment alone for example), but beginning to introduce this process into at least one of my meals a day (breakfast is best!) helps to keep me calm and in control of my day. Try it tomorrow for your Monday morning breakfast!