Mindfulness doesn’t have to be difficult.
You should be able to fit a little bit of practice into your day regardless of how busy you are. It mostly requires you to mentally make time for it. Got an excuse filled brain? Set reminders on your phone to create time your mindfulness practice.The following tips on how to be a little more mindful should be able to slot into your schedule with ease. Select a mindful practice for the time of day, schedule it into your phone (if you need the reminder) and get ready to feel good about having a mindful moment in your otherwise autopilot day!
Early bird? Excellent! Then mornings might be your time to get mindful. For most of us there is a ritualistic quality to the ways we start our days these suggestions might help you assess your am antics and slot in some mindful minds time.
- Suss out how you start your day. If you feel like you don’t have time for a serious analysis of your morning schedule why not set the voice recorder on your phone and talk out the steps. Keeping a mental, written, or audio record of your routine and how long you spend on each activity can be a handy tool for optimising your schedule and a mindfulness practice in itself.
- Using the analysis of your morning start to work out what parts of am start you enjoy and what parts you think could be removed or improved.
- How do you get dressed each day? Does it take up a large proportion of your time? Do you enjoy it? Is it something you dread? How can you use your morning to make getting dressed more enjoyable? This could be as simple as planning your clothing the day before, or as poetic as lighting a candle and making an extra five minutes to iron your favourite shirt before you wear it because the process makes you happy.
- How do you commute? Take a morning to assess the feelings you have while you commute. Let yourself feel them whole heartedly for one morning. Does the way that you travel make you feel happy? Is there frustrations? If you can mindfully assess these feelings at a later stage of the day think about ways that you can foster more peace into an unavoidably frustrating part of the journey. Playing music, downloading a meditation app, listening to an audio book, or being absorbed in some work or study can help with a distraction. If you want to switch on to the frustrations and face your inner monkey-mind demons you can start to ask yourself ‘why does this make me so annoyed/frustrated/un happy? Then work from there on ways to fix the frustrations.
If you aren’t quite with-it until midday rolls around then perhaps scheduling your me-time might be best left until lunch break. These pointers should help you get some ideas about how midday mindfulness might look in your life.
- Midday is a tricky time of day when it comes to food choices. While we can usually find some time in the am or pm to make a nutritious meal, lunch for many of us means eating on the go. Mindfully eating your lunch requires you to take time to explore the senses of eating this food. This is best done while sitting down with your meal and exploring every last bite. You can go futher than this and think about what the nurtitonal value of the meal is, where it came from, how it was grown, and what packaging it came in. If the results of your analysis have you worried about any of these areas you can shop mindfully to make changes.
- If you are prone to filling your lunch break with retail therapy (online or on foot) use some critical questions to mindfully assess why you are shopping. Is it boredom? Are you interested in filling a void in your life? Will this ‘stuff’ fill the void or is it just a band-aid on a deeper problem? If you are an online shopper you can conduct a cart audit. See what you have added or ‘watched’ and ask yourself if you really need these things, and what impact their production and purchase has on people, animals, and planet. Shopping on foot? Try to mindfully assess every item you handle. Put it back. Make yourself a list and work out if you really need it before you buy it.
- Ever thought about a siesta? Who hasn’t! While sleeping at work isn’t necessarily a cultural norm in most workplaces meditation could be an acceptable alternative. Why not try to sneak a mindful mediation into your lunch schedule? Many types of meditations (specifically Yoga Nidra) are said to have the benefits of a deep sleep without the need to nap for hours. Check out Mindful In May for some meditation inspo.
Evening of mindful musings.
Night owl? No worries. Night time is a lovely time to get internal and reflect on the day. It’s also the time of day when we feel less rushed because (usually) the most important date we have is with our mattress. Here are some ideas on mindful tasks to complete of an evening.
- Evening is a great time to reflect on the way that your day panned out. As you come home mindfully place your items down in a ‘landing pad’. A landing pad is a place where you can consciously place all the items that you have used in your day. Unpack each item from your bag and/or place your things down with focus on each item. You can eve say a mental thanks for each thing you have used throughout the day, inspecting it’s form and marvelling in the way it has served you.
- Sit down with two blank sheets of paper and start a ‘stream of consciousness’ writing activity. This is done by putting pen to paper and writing without judgement or thought until you run out of space. Often this is completed in the morning to warm our brains up, however it’s nice of an evening as it can get all the brain chatter from our heads and help us get a more restful sleep.
- Do one activity just for you in a totally present way. This activity could be brushing your teeth, washing your face, or treating yourself to a long soak in the bathtub. Whatever you choose to do pay attention to the feelings, sensations and emotions that arise as you complete the task.
- If you feel up to it, why not start a journal to explore some of feelings you have about mindful reflection. It might be a tool that you can use to track your personal development or explore issues that you might be facing.
I hope you enjoyed this little adventure into a mindful daily routine. Do you have a mindfulness practice you want to add? Please share it, or anything else, with us below.