Becoming a Suburban

It’s official, as of this weekend I will be leaving the city and moving out to the suburbs. I’m becoming a suburban! Side note: I know that’s the proper term for a person living in the burbs, but when I say it I can’t help but feel like I am calling myself an SUV. 

Once again (for about the 100th time since starting college) I have packed up my entire life in cardboard boxes and loaded them into the back of my car. Thankfully, as I have gotten older, I have more money and have been able to pay professionals to move my furniture. In previous years I had to rely on, often hungover, guy friends to do all the heavy lifting. However, no matter how much help I have, I still hate moving. Especially when it comes to packing and then unpacking my clothes, it’s such a pain in the ass to re-hang everything.

This time however, I am moving in with my fiance, so I am very excited about that. I do have to say though, that I am having some anxiety about leaving the city because my job and all of my friends are here. (Plus living in the suburbs you can’t get pizza and wine delivered at 1 am). I guess part of me is not quite ready to grow up and give up my independent, busy lifestyle in the city. While I haven’t been doing much partying or going out I guess I would still like the option. In the city I can easily walk next door and have a glass of wine at night, be at the beach in about ten minutes, have pretty much anything delivered, and can see my friends within a matter if minutes. I am also less than thrilled that I have to find a new yoga studio.

Needless to say a lot in my life is about to change, but I can’t wait to see what this next chapter of my life holds!

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Ooohhhmmm….

Once again life has been extremely crazy. Work is as busy as ever, I’m getting ready to move out of the city, and most recently I got engaged so wedding planning has been added to my never ending to do list. I am beyond thrilled, but I never realized how much went into planning a wedding. (Ecstatic in fact!)

Anyway, last week I was able to escape work to attend a meditation seminar and I thought I would share some information I learned about meditation and a little article I wrote about the seminar. Because why not? Everyone can use some relaxation and rejuvenation. I know I can!

Here are some things I learned from the session:

Life can be extremely stressful. Each day we are met with multiple responsibilities from work, family life, and even social engagements. Week after week we try to cram everything we can into our already jam-packed schedules; leaving us exhausted, worried, and honestly at times, completely overwhelmed. While you can’t quit your job or neglect your family obligations, there are some things you can do to help relieve some of your stress.

One thing that many people have found to be very helpful at stress reduction is meditation. Originally meant to help individuals gain a deeper understanding of life, today meditation is used for relaxation and stress reduction. In fact the practice of regular meditation is linked to many benefits including increased self-awareness, increased focus and discipline, stress and anxiety reduction, increased emotional stability, helps you think more clearly, and helps your overall physical health. When you take a little bit of time out of each day to meditate you can begin to clear your mind from the abundance of information that tends to build up each day and causes us stress.

Through techniques such as meditation,  you learn how to quiet your mind so that you can break free from overwhelming stress and get what you really want out of life.

On Monday February 16, 2015, I attended a meditation session at the Junior League of Chicago (JLC), where we learned about a few different types of meditation. These different types of meditation only take a few minutes of our day, but can do so much for our emotional health and overall well being. The four different types of meditation we covered included breath meditation, guided visualization, mantra or affirmation meditation, and finally yoga nidra, or sleep yoga. Each one is discussed in more detail below.

Breath meditation: The overall purpose of breath meditation is to calm the mind and develop a sense of inner peace. With some simple breathing we are able to change the chemistry of our minds, creating more space and making us think more clearly.

Guided visualization: Based on the concept that the mind and body are connected, this technique uses thoughts and suggestions that guide your mind toward a relaxed, focused state. When you imagine the details of a safe, comfortable place you are able to reach a state of complete relaxation. To help with the visualization it is common to use an instructor, tapes, or scripts.

Mantra or affirmation meditation: In this type of meditation you silently repeat a thought or phrase over and over in your mind to help prevent distracting thoughts. Mantra meditation is more challenging, but it is good for building strength and power in your thoughts.

Yoga Nidra: Also known as sleep yoga, this type of meditation brings about an incredible sense of calmness, quietness, and clarity. It is one of the deepest types of meditation where you go into a deep sleep, past the dreaming state, but still remain awake.

At first you may find that no matter what you do you are unable to keep your mind focus, but the idea is to start small and gradually add more time as you go. You will never be able to completely stop certain thoughts from entering your mind, but with practice you can create more space or focus, giving you more control over your mind.

So if you are looking for a way to focus better, stress less, get better sleep, and be a better partner meditation may just be the answer.