Melissa Plosker

I’m Melissa! Thank you for coming! This is my sliver of the interwebs where I post stuff. I keep trying to pick a theme, some topic to commit to and become a resource for (it’s advice I give each day as a digital creative)…but I keep coming back to just wanting to help people feel good…maybe smile…show you you’re not alone.

So here we are.

In true UX (user experience) designer fashion, this is meant to read without having to click into any posts (minimize clicks, right?); just scroll through to watch videos, read short commentary, and access links to other articles.

I’m so happy you are here. If you like what you see below, I’d love to see you on Instagram!

My Food Allergy Story

I have come to understand, through mindful awareness, that my allergies reach much further than my plate. In this video from our March Mindfulness Live series on Instagram, I talk about my experience with my own life-threatening food allergies and how I’m using mindfulness to help regenerate my relationship with food.

For more March Mindfulness 2021 videos, please visit @melissaplosker and @japlosker on Instagram!

We also show up on IG Live every Monday evening (6pm Pacific, 9pm Eastern) from our account, @movingtowardmindful. We would love for you to join us!

Mindfulness As A Busy Mom: 3 Things I Do During the Day to Help Me Connect

Mindfulness is a big deal in our house. So is our very active five-year-old. πŸ™‚ Here are 3 things I do during the day to help me connect that I find make a big difference.

#1: I try to stay aware when I eat.

Eating is tough with a child (food allergy anxiety aside). For the first years of our daughter’s life, I would inhale food whenever I got the chance. It was so bad, that at one point that I was giving myself heartburn. Not only did I eat fast, but I would eat food that didn’t even belong to me – like leftover food from her plate!

One day after a “meal,” thanks to my mindfulness practice, I realized that I didn’t even remember what I ate! And that wasn’t an isolated incident! So now that I was aware of this behavior, I could take some steps to change it.

The first thing I did was drop the expectation that we would all eat at the same time for each meal. I gave myself permission to make sure my daughter ate and had everything she needed, including help, before I sat down to my own meal. That way she could go play when she was done and I could attempt to spend a few moments focusing on my food and nourishing my body.

The next thing I did was resolve to put her leftovers away for another time. I would take out small jars ahead of mealtime with that intention. If I consciously wanted to eat them I could, but I made it easy and guilt-free (not wasteful) to not eat them right then and there.

#2: I challenge myself to be totally present when I’m reading to my daughter before bedtime.

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I’m reading a book with my kiddo before bed (when everyone is tired), and I realize that am completely unaware of what I’m reading. Words are coming out of my mouth, but it feels like someone else is reading! I am thinking about what I have to do after she falls asleep, or what we are going to do tomorrow, or that scene from Daniel Tiger. I get to the end of the book and I’m like, “Wow! What did I just read her?”

Now, when I pick up a book after we have snuggled in, I center myself and commit to being totally present for that experience. Each page turn gives me the opportunity to reset and lock into the present moment. I still have nights when I find it hard to do, but at least I’m practicing!

#3: I journal and stretch before bed.

Technically this is 2 separate things, but it is a single routine for me. Before I stretch and move my body, I tend to my mind. I spend a few minutes recording things in a journal that stood out to me during the day. Maybe a song that was in my head, a scene from a movie that stuck with me, a thought that I noticed…sometimes I just write down my grocery list! It all helps clear some space in my head to be present.

Then I stretch, making sure to move my entire body. I’ll tell you, things crack and pop in places I didn’t know existed. From the crown of my head to the tips of my toes, I try become aware of my entire body. This helps me to enter sleep from a place of thoughtful awareness and usually helps me settle down faster into sleep.

It can seem hard when you are busy, (parent or not), to find small places during your day to practice being mindful. Hopefully this post gave you a few ideas!

Carry Me Away

Sometimes being carried away is what can help us best live in the moment.

I Am Not My Hair

Sometimes this is tough to remember when you are a curly girl. I feel like I’m bombarded with tutorials, products, and endless images of perfect curls every where I turn.

I listen to this song at least once a day (usually when I’m getting ready in the morning and/or at night getting ready for bed, detangling my hair). The other day my 5 year old, (also a curly girl), requested this song in the car. I was so proud. She sang along too! πŸ™‚

There is so much more…that is so much more important…than the way we look.

Coping with Divorce: 3 Small Things That Made a Big Difference

I was in my late twenties when I experienced divorce. It was shocking, numbing, sad, and physically painful. Anyone who has been there can probably relate on some level. If you’re here because you are going through it right now, please know that you are not alone. As a wise and wonderful friend told me each time I saw him during that time, “This too shall pass.” He was totally right. It does, and it did.

Besides that mantra, here are 3 things that helped me cope with divorce:

#1: I started attending a yoga class at least twice a week.

I had never tried yoga before. I noticed the class on a flyer posted in the gym I went to. It took place in the basement…I wore socks…I had no idea what I was doing.

Nervous and self-conscious in that first class, the instructor did something that forever changed me. She encouraged us to tune in to our body. How did we feel? Where were we sore? What was going on inside? New to the world of yoga, meditation, mindfulness…these questions had a big impact on me. I made it my business to research these questions during my time on the mat.

If you haven’t tried yoga or some type of class that encourages you to check in, I highly recommend it.

The bottom line is this: it gave me an outlet to face my feelings in a setting where I wasn’t alone, doing activity that actually helped me to physically feel better. It was like the negative thoughts that surfaced during class were being replaced by the endorphin-charged feeling of stretching and moving my body.

#2: I reset with 30 Rock

When I was feeling hurt, it was hard not to get swallowed up by those feelings, especially sitting alone in a tiny apartment. 30 Rock (my favorite show) was my reset button. If I felt myself getting overwhelmed, I would recognize it, turn on my show, and reset for 23 minutes (the length of an episode). I would focus on the characters and remind myself to feel joy and laughter.

Usually after the show I would have a much better outlook on things. Some days I would watch 2 or 3 in a row…other days 6 or 7! I gave myself permission to indulge during this time, and I think it really helped.

By the way, I wasn’t tuning out my emotions. During the show I was constantly reminding myself to focus on the show. I would acknowledge a sad feeling and snap myself back to Liz Lemon’s relatable antics. It was an organic introduction to mindfulness.

#3: I focused on the things I could do now that I was alone

Food was a major deal for me. I could plan and prepare meals that suited me and what my body needed. I started to look at food as nourishment, not just something on my to-do list.

I could fill my physical space with things that gave me energy…or with nothing at all. I bought a few beautiful lamps that filled my small Boston apartment with warm, wonderful light during those dark winter months; this was a major mood boost for me.

I took walks as often as I could since I was on my own time. No schedules to work around. While sometimes that thought made me sad, I spent a lot of effort making that narrative a freeing and positive one!

I know these things may not fit exactly into everyone’s lifestyle. I didn’t have kids when I experienced divorce. Now that I have a child, I can only imagine how different things would have looked. No matter whether you have kids or not, my heart is with you, and just remember, “This too shall pass.”

If you’d like to hear more about my journey in greater detail, below is a link to a podcast interview I did recently with Carol Chapman of Hearts Rise Up.

Mindfulness and My Monthly Cycle

Does anyone get annoyed when they get their period like I do? (sorry dudes)

Like really annoyed! I always turn to my husband and proclaim, “This is bad UX (user experience)!” when that time of the month rolls around. πŸ™‚

Well, it occurred to me that I have an opportunity to change my thinking around my period, and now is the time to start. I have a daughter that is 5 years old. I can complain about this very natural (and in many cultures very sacred) event each month, or I can embrace it and empower myself and my daughter. It was a profound awakening. I have decided to go with the latter.

Now, I notice my thoughts when I get my period and let them pass. I practice staying present. I do what I need to do, when I need to do it, and I practice gratitude…most of the time…that I am a woman and this monthly occurrence is what allowed me to have my daughter.

Here is a great article that explains the shift in hormones we experience each month and how to ride the wave instead of trying to swim against it.

Article link (same as above): https://www.bloodandmilk.com/harnessing-the-power-of-the-feminine-cycle/

Look For the Good

Look for the good in everything
Look for the people who will set your soul free
It always seems impossible until it’s done
Look for the good in everyone

-Jason Mraz, Look for the Good

Check out this great song.

Just Do You

Another from India Arie. I can’t help it; I just love her. And I love this message. Just do you!