1-Minute Meditation used by Navy SEALs

I held a 20-minute plank once. Navy SEALs -- the very elite special operations unit of the military -- go through training where they hold a plank for 45 minutes.

Yep! Totally nuts! ...or is it? What is your limit? After all, your body can only go as far as your mind will take it. 

Navy SEALs do several things to pull off a 45-minute plank. But, one, in particular, is my favorite, and I've adopted it into my day-to-day life. 

It's called box breathing, takes 1-minute, and you can do it anywhere -- when I feel overwhelmed, stressed, or just need to focus and gather my thoughts and energy, I box breathe. I do so at my desk at work, in the car, and, of course, while pushing myself exercising. 

For me, meditation is a way to focus my thoughts, energy, and to find calm at any given moment. That's what box breathing has helped me do and I love that it's so simple and can do it whenever I need it. 

How it works:

1. Whatever you may be doing, stop for a minute (literally!), so you can focus on your thoughts, energy, and breathing. The goal is to focus your thoughts and energy. So if you're writing an email, for example, your thoughts and energy are focused on the email. But if you're running, then your body is focused on running and your thoughts and mental energy can focus on breathing. So, put yourself in a place where you can focus on just breathing. 

2. Be present with your body. Focus on your body and what it's doing. What are your feet doing? Are your legs crossed? Are your arms crossed? Are you punching a heavy bag? Be present with your body. 

3. Be present with your energy. How are you feeling? Are you calm? Are your thoughts racing? Do you feel tired? Do you feel energetic? Tap into how you feel and just honor that and be present with your energy. 

4. Now, the breathing. It's called box breathing because it has 4 'sides', but it's more like 4 parts:

  • Breathe in deeply for 5 seconds. 
  • Hold the air in for 5 seconds. 
  • Breathe out deeply for 5 seconds. 
  • Hold no air for 5 seconds. 

Do this 3 times, that's 1 minute.  So in 1 minute, you take only breathes. 

Sometimes I even just do this once (so for 20 seconds), and I feel refreshed -- like when I restart my computer, I do this to sort of restart my focus and energy.

This is what I do to meditate and collect my energy. But modify it to make it work for you -- close your eyes, breathe standing, do a 60-minute plank(!) -- whatever works for you. 

Here's an in-depth video if you'd like to go deeper.  

QUESTION FOR YOU: Do you use a meditation app? Is there something you use to focus your energy? Feel free to comment to share it with others. 

CHALLENGE: Try box breathing right now. Where ever you are. Just take a minute. Or, the next time you go to check social media, do a minute of box breathing first. 
 

How to Make a Personal Yearbook (a cherished photo book that takes less than 10 mins a week to create)

                               
Here are the yearbooks I've made for each year my husband and I have been together. 🤗It's cool to see our little collection of memories grow 🙂 :)

 

Why create a Personal Yearbook?

Right around the time of my birthday (which is this week!) I sit down and make New Year’s Resolutions.

Yep, I made two set of New Year’s Resolutions -- dork! I’m such a dork!...and I’m proud of it though :)

Along with my Birthday New Year’s Resolutions, I also create a Personal Yearbook, because, of course, part of any new beginning is reflecting on the past and figuring out how to be more present in the important moments.

I love my little (now 3 year) collection of personal yearbooks. They keep me grounded, reflective, and they’re awesome to bring to milestone moments (like your birthday, anniversaries, etc.).



What is a Personal Yearbook? 


Simply, it’s a photo collection for a given year. You can define that as your birthday to birthday, calendar year, or whatever milestone works for you. I like a calendar year because it feels more rounded out.

Mine includes big personal and professional accomplishments for both myself and my nearest and dearest (like my brother's graduation, my cousin’s recital, and my first You’re Already You event), because when I (and others) look back at these I want to see what was happening in both my life, but in lives of people I care most about. So, I also include mundane moments, like random selfies at our place (because as we move over our lifetime, it’s nice to see what our place looks like too), or a nice unexpected afternoon lunch with my siblings.

 

How to Make Personal Yearbook

I love my photo Yearbooks, but I hate making them. The first time I sat down to make one it took over a month. Ugh! But after three years of Personal Yearbooks, I’ve super streamlined the process.

So here’s the cake and recipe to making your own Personal Yearbook:

Ingredients

  • A weekly calendar reminder

  • The Shutterfly App on your phone (because, after all, most of the photos you take are on your phone). I use Shutterfly, but I suppose you can use another app. However, these instructions are for Shutterfly because that’s what I use.

Recipe
(5-10 mins. per week + 20-30mins. at the end of the year)

A. Set up the App (2 minutes)

  1. Create a weekly calendar reminder to upload your photos.

    1. Mine is a calendar block (like an actual appointment on my calendar) each Friday from 5:00pm-5:30pm to reminder myself to select and upload photos. It’s a delightful way to cap off the week :)

  2. Download the Shutterfly App on your phone. Create an account, or login to your account if you have one.


B. Uploading Photos (~5-10 minutes per week)

  1. As you go through your day and week, as you normally would, take photos of special moments and memories.

    1. What’s great about this is that it help you be more present and aware of the joy in your life and of what makes you happy. You already take photos anyway, but now you’ll take them with the intention of printing and remembering them, which makes me feel more aware of the moments as they’re happening. I sort of think to myself, “Wow, this unexpected little lunch with my siblings is really special. Let me take 2-3 pics and then put away my phone to enjoy it.”

  2. At the time you set your weekly reminder:

    1. Open the app

    2. Select the “Upload” arrow icon

    3. Select the “All Photos” album from your phone

    4. Tap the photos you like best from that week. Don’t worry about curating them down, just select with your heart all the memories from that week that you want to remember.

    5. Select the “Upload” button

    6. Select “Add to Album”

      1. For your first Yearbook, select “Create an Album” and name after the year you’re in.

      2. If you already created an album, just tap that album and the photos will upload.

  3. Voila! You’ll do this weekly until the end of the year.

C. Creating Your Personal Yearbook (20-30mins per year)

Once you’re ready to create your book…

  1. Log onto your Shutterfly account online (not on the app)

  2. Hover over the “Photo Books” and select “Make My Book Service”

    • I *LOVE* this service. For only $10 someone saves me hours and hours and hours and hours, and their layouts are always better! It’s awesome and super quick. You also actually don’t pay for anything until after you’ve seen the book and reviewed it.  

  3. Select “Make My Book” and follow the prompts to select the size and style.

    • I always get an 8x11 in Modern White.

  4. It’ll ask you to add your photos. So from there select “My Photos” and select the albums you’ve been using to upload your photos into all year.

  5. No here is where you can curate your photos:

    • You can either do this yourself by selecting only the ones you want.

    • Or you can have the photo service do it for you and select all of them to add. You’ll then be prompted to choose if you want the best, the most, or all of them in your book. Don’t worry, you’ll get the chance to review it later.

  6. You’ll then be prompted to choose if you want few, some or many embellishments -- little designs in your book. I always choose some.

  7. Follow the prompts to choose a title and add any special instructions.

  8. In about 2-3 days you’ll get an email saying your book is ready for review. Woo hoo! This is the best part!

  9. You can then review the book, make changes, add captions, etc.

    • I usually look at it with my husband over a bottle of wine -- it’s so fun to look back on the year together and now it’s a little tradition -- and we add a caption here or there so we remember what happened then.

    • You also actually don’t pay for the book or service until after you’ve seen the book and reviewed it.  

  10. Order it :) Pro tip: Shutterfly always has mad deals on their homepage, so open a new browser to look at their homepage for coupon codes. I always get one for at least 30% off. And if you do this around holidays, they have even better promos!

Woot woot! Now you'll have amazing and cherished Yearbooks for years to come. The best is once you order your second one and you start putting together your collection. It's awesome!

Comment if you started (or created!) your own Personal Yearbook! Do you have a photo service you like that helps you be present and cherish memories (without the stress of creating the actual book)?