Hello SOTGC community!
Whether it be a scrumptious dinner shared with family, a delicious piece of dessert shared with a best friend, a glass of vintage wine, or your morning coffee, mealtimes are integral parts of our everyday lives. Sometimes we relish our meals, sometimes we rush them, and sometimes we down right gulp them down in a split second. Sometimes we eat alone, and at other times we share mealtime with friends and family.
No matter what a given mealtime looks like, however, the reality of the matter is that we eat and drink multiple times a day … thus a great opportunity, in my opinion, to incorporate some extra mindfulness into our day-to-day lives.
My dearest readers, from my plate setting to yours, here are some ideas on how to make mindfulness a part of mealtimes; quick, fun and innovative ways to transform mealtimes into mindful moments, each and every day!
- Don’t treat mealtime as a chore, or as a mere way of sustaining yourself! Instead, treat it as a pleasurable event of the day … something you look forward to! In the midst of a hectic day, it can be easy to fall into the trap of treating mealtime as simply a means to an end … as a way of silencing the gurgling sounds of a hungry stomach or a consequence of requiring energy. To be truly mindful of the mealtime experience, it’s important to make mealtime much more than solely that! It’s important to treat it as a time to savor, enjoy, and relish in the food that you have prepared! Same thing goes for your morning coffee; enjoy the warmth and flavor rather than seeing it as a mere caffeine fix. In essence, next time you are on your lunch break or drinking your morning coffee, attempt to re-define what that meal represents in your daily schedule and enjoy the new perspective.
- Enjoy preparing the meal as much as eating it!
One great way that I find myself being more mindful of my mealtime experience has nothing to do with the food itself, but rather the events leading up to it. Are you someone who enjoys cooking? Whenever your schedule permits it, relish in the cooking experience – turn on some music, try a new recipe, or get a friend or family member involved! The notion of mindfulness can even begin before you start to cook—how about picking fresh produce from a local market one day … or engaging the baker in a conversation about business? Better yet, try your hand at a small herb garden this summer! In others words, add extra meaning and life experience to the activities leading up to your meals. It’s easier to enjoy something and be overall more mindful about it when you have memories attached to the events leading up to it.
- Make mealtime a social event!
My favorite way to truly relish in the moment when enjoying a good meal is to share the experience with others. Whether it be an intimate dinner for two or a boisterous dinner out in energetic company, making mealtime into a social gathering is a great way to be simultaneously mindful of it. When you enjoy a meal with others, you usually slow the experience down; bites of food become place holders in a good conversation, and sips of wine fit in perfectly when you listen intently to others. You inadvertently find yourself commenting on the taste and quality of your meal, sometimes sharing a few bites. At restaurants, even the mere act of choosing what to order often seamlessly becomes a point of discussion. Whenever you get the chance, sharing a meal with others is a great way to make the moment count and be more mindful of the experience.
- Try to keep multitasking to a minimum.
We all have those days where school or work may require us to eat on the go, or work through our lunch break … eating as we simultaneously type away, flip pages, or hold a meeting. However, whenever possible, it is a nice change for all of us to make the meal itself the focus of mealtime. Not only does mealtime then become a time to recharge and relax before returning to work, but it also then becomes easier to actually relish in the flavors, textures, and tastes that we are experiencing. It really is much easier to enjoy something bite by bite or sip by sip when we are not multitasking at the same time. Some food for thought … no pun intended!
- Switch things up!
It is of course much more difficult to be mindful of an experience when we are bored by it … monotony and mindfulness seldom co-exist nicely. It is important to treat mealtime as a chance to try new things and add diversity to our daily lives! We spend so much of our lives eating and drinking … we might as well make it interesting! Whether it be trying a new recipe, making a reservation at a restaurant you have always wanted to try, or even sitting in a new seat for lunch with a novel view, making the experience different is a great way to achieve mindfulness more easily!
My dearest SOTGC community, how do you make mindfulness a part of your daily life? How would you describe your typical mealtime experience? If this post resonated with you, share it with your friends, family and colleagues on Facebook and Twitter!