I have tried meditating - and it has been wonderful and powerful and life-changing. But there are times that it takes everything that I have to sit in stillness. Sometimes I need to snap back to mindfulness in much more simple and quick ways. So I’ve come up with a few easy - and a little weird - ways to get back to mindfulness.
1.) Eat without technology
This one was difficult at first. I can’t tell you how many times I instinctively go to grab my phone and scroll through facebook while I’m eating dinner. Don’t do it. You’re not focusing on eating and you’re not focusing on Facebook either, you’re just kind of drifting above yourself in a realm of distraction. Don’t put on Netflix and eat dinner. Don’t read emails while you are eating lunch. Simply take the time (even if it’s 10 minutes) to savor your food, to be present, to share in the one activity that every living being must do to survive.
2.) Drive in silence
While you’re driving home from work, turn off your music so that it’s nice and quiet, then I ask yourself, “How are you feeling?” You know how it feels super amazing when you really need to talk to someone and your friend unexpectedly calls you? This is that moment. Maybe even without realizing it, you have needed a friend to talk to all day. You are being that friend for yourself at this moment.
3.) Warn yourself when you’re turning off the water
This is a weird one but stick with me - How many times do we shower as quickly as we can, turn off the water abruptly and then jump out of the shower to be met with the harsh cold bathroom air? Probably every day. What we may not realize is how jarring that is to our systems. The next time you’re finishing up in the shower, gently tell yourself “I am shutting off the water now.” This simple act gently pulls you back to the present moment. Bonus points - have a towel waiting next to the shower so that you don’t have to jump across the bathroom naked and cold to retrieve one.
4.) Lay on the floor
Our beds are for sleeping, our couch is for lounging. Sometimes I get antsy in those spaces because I know I am trying to force myself to relax or even shut down and sleep. The next time you’re having a difficult time winding down, take some pillows and your favorite blanket and make a cozy cuddle-nest on the floor. If it’s a nice day, open a window or door and lay down next to that so you can feel fresh air flowing in.
5.) Get outside
Even if you only have time to open your office window, take a deep breath in and out, and then get back to work - do it! There is countless research on the benefits of nature for our mental health, so get outside. If you work from home, grab your laptop and a blanket and head to the local park. Take your yoga practice or workout outside. Sometimes, I sit on my balcony, set my timer for five minutes and allow myself to simply breathe in the fresh air. I have a cute little balcony, but no outdoor furniture yet. I have absolutely used an upside down laundry basket as a desk and sat on a pillow on my balcony to do work. Whatever you need to do to connect with nature, make it happen!
If you're looking to get outside, we have lots of outdoor events coming up - check them out!