Hands up if mindfulness is taking a back seat?! And you know this because as you step out of the shower to start your day you’re already thinking about the day ahead, the day before, and something in the future.
Perhaps that’s a little over the top, but you get my point. In a busyness culture, lots of people have forgotten or sidelined the wonderful benefits of slowing down and nurturing their bodies and souls.
If you’ve forgotten how to ‘go slow’, here are a few ideas to try.
Being outside of a confined space and off busy roads can be very relaxing. Could you schedule a day this week where you leave the car at home? You could exercise from your front gate with a run, walk or yoga in the park. Socially, could you stroll to a local restaurant to meet a friend for dinner? And how about using public transport mindfully on the weekend to enjoy the steady pace of a train and mix of people and landscapes.
Use your body to calm your mind
I’ve worked in offices where I’ve seen people actually run to meetings. As much as I’d love to wear Nikes at work, I’d prefer a working world where people don’t feel so rushed, so often. Workers have lots of pressures and lots to do. It’s so important to help your body and mind rest and recharge after the work day. Some gentle ideas include: yoga, a dusk walk, a beach stroll or laps at your local pool. You could also try meditation at a local studio or at home with an app such as buddhify or Smiling Mind. Perhaps the best way to calm your mind and body is with a cardio workout. Find the sweat factor that works for you. Disconnecting from your phone and going to bed earlier might help too.
Create a personal haven
Have a look around your home and see if you can make your space more nurturing. What things relax and comfort you? It might be plants, flowers, candles, oils, cushions. Light your space in the way you like. What entertainment unwinds you? Explore books, podcasts, radio, music and series. Creatively, do some of what you love. Write, create a Pinterest collage, cook a curry, paint, practice the guitar. Journaling at the end of your day is a great way to release stress as well as gain self-awareness (and the perfect reason to buy stationery).
Be picky with people
Honour your nature when you’re needing to slow down and recharge. If you’re more introverted, this might mean a night at home with your partner or pet or a dinner catch up with a close friend. If you’re more extroverted, you might feel like a group catch up at the pub to unwind or the energy of a show to redirect your mind after the work day.
Check your perspective
Practice gratitude. There are always people more time poor, challenged and less fortunate than you. Focus on what you have – your strengths, abilities and relationships. Now’s also a good time to get real. Life’s finite. And things can change in an instant. Remembering this can be a powerful way to move your mind away from big task lists and external pressures and back to the preciousness of the here and now.