When I come home in the evening, I typically say hi to everyone, look around the house and see a lot that hasn’t been done. I start mindlessly sweeping the floor, dusting or cleaning the bathroom…
A few hours later I’ve got a sparkling house but haven’t interacted with anyone in my home.
Do you feel bombarded on a daily basis by busy work? If left unchecked, these distractions can disconnect us from our primary relationships. I want to share some insights with you about how to bring attention and mindfulness into your key relationships.
Use Dinnertime to Connect
In our busy society, many people don’t sit down with the family to talk about what happened during the day, the problems and issues that arose or how they may be feeling. Dinnertime is fragmented in many households because the kids may have already eaten or the husband comes home late.
My family saw me at home but somehow I wasn’t part of their lives. I asked myself how I could change that. I’m so used to believing that I’m being mindful, but I was surprised to realize that I was actually operating from the other end of the spectrum!
We have to choose over and over again to be fully present with our families, whether the encounter is casual or lengthy. Dinner is a great time to increase engagement because sitting around the dinner table really invites connection. Meals have been important throughout history as a primary way family, friends and associates interact and bond. When you make mealtime a mindful experience for your intimate circle, you’re able to deepen your relationships even further.
Create Connection Rituals
Experiment with assigning different family members little tasks like setting the table, lighting candles or making a salad dressing. Say a little prayer or give thanks before you eat. This will prepare the body to receive the food. To keep interruptions at bay, make unplugging from phones and smart devices a house rule.
When you’re trying to form a new habit, consistency is important. Decide on a start time for dinner and commit to it, no matter what. You may have to shift by a few minutes when you take into account that schedules can go awry, but make the effort to maintain this as a sacred time. Don’t let the commitment fade into oblivion. Once you start neglecting it, it’s easier to ditch family dinner the next time. Then you lose that mindful connection at home.
As each person around the table speaks, the others can consciously engage with their food. While someone has the floor, don’t interrupt but be mindfully present to what that person is saying and simultaneously engaged in the process of eating your meal. This will help the body fully absorb the food’s nutrients.
Regardless of whether the person speaking needs to be vulnerable or not, there’s a way to engage with those you love. Attentiveness and a lack of interruptions bring mindfulness to the group effort.
What ritual can you create to get your family on board to experience a mindful dinnertime? Let me know in the comments!
Wishing you peace to your mind, wellness to your body and tranquility to your spirit.
Rochel Marie Lawson, RN, AHP, CMS
The Queen of Feeling Fabulous and The Wellness Architect