8 ways to cultivate a more mindful lifestyle
Updated: Aug 24
Lately, my anxiety has been at an all time high. Everything that we know as "normal" has been flipped upside-down, sending my Type-A self into an emotional spiral. After talking to friends and family, I've learned that a lot of people are sharing similar emotions. In an attempt to help those who are feeling overwhelmed at the moment, including myself, I decided to write a blog post about how we can practice mindfulness in our everyday lives as we continue to go about our days during the coronavirus crisis.
1. Daily Meditation
I'd thought I'd start with the obvious. Meditation is a great way to start or end your day (or even both)! When someone first suggested meditation to me in an attempt to manage my anxiety, I was hesitant. To be honest, I'm not the most patient person, and the idea of sitting still at the beginning of my day didn't sound too appealing to me. However, after I downloaded the Calm app, I found that listening to a guided meditation session allowed me to easily center myself and give my mind a rest, even if it were only for a few minutes. If you are hesitant to try meditation too, trust me, I've been there. It might take a couple tries to get into it, but once you do, it can do your mind a world of good.
Journaling is one of my favorite ways to reflect after a long day. Sometimes, it's easier for me to express my words through pen and paper than it is talking to someone face-to-face. I'm allowed to be completely myself, unfiltered thoughts, and all. I also think journaling is a great hobby to get in the habit of, especially during a time like COVID-19, because you are also able to document history in the making. So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, try writing a journal entry!
3. Mindful Eating Habits
This one is easier said than done, at least for me. I'm someone who loves to multitask, so I often eat while I'm working or watching television when I'm alone. I'm making a goal for myself in the coming months to be a more mindful eater and actively enjoy each meal without distractions, so I can savor each bite and do a better job at portion control. Maybe, I'll pretend like I'm a sophisticated Pariesienne, and enjoy each dinner by nursing a glass of wine and eating leisurely over good conversation. On my trips to Europe, I've always appreciated how much of a social activity dinners can be when good food and good company are involved. Anyways, one can dream, right?
4. Set a routine
I've recently started my summer job, which means that I've had to quickly say goodbye to my post-grad sleep schedule. Let's just say I stayed up very late and slept in late, too. Now, I work 9-5 most days, which has allowed me to be more productive and has brought some much-needed stability into life. If you are feeling like you are in a summer funk, try setting up a lose schedule for yourself. Set a time to wake up, eat meals and go to bed. If you're feeling fancy, add a few more activities with set times to your schedule, too. It might help you feel a bit more "normal" when few things are right now.
Yoga is easily one of my favorite ways to unwind! I love to wake up my body in the morning through stretching, focusing on my poses and controlling my breathing. Incorporate yoga into your schedule by making up your own flow or trying a different yoga class on YouTube each day.
6. Embrace nature
I've also rediscovered how refreshing nature can be, especially after a long day of working inside. I usually take a walk in my neighborhood or a friend's, but hiking is another great way to unwind and explore the great outdoors! Regardless of how you spend time in nature, getting some fresh air can have the power to recharge your body and mind.
7. Put your phone down!
Okay, mom...maybe you're right. It's no secret that technology can keep our brains wired for hours and social media apps like Instagram and Facebook can be anxiety-inducing for some. Don't get me started about the dozens of Facebook arguments I've come across on Facebook, thanks to COVID-19 (insert eye-roll). Try staying off your phone for a few hours, or even a day, if you can. Also, try not to look at your phone as you get ready for bed to ensure a good night's rest (note: I am yet to accomplish this goal).
8. Listen to your body!
When in doubt, listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Are you exhausted from the night before? Try going to bed an hour early the next night. Are you feeling sluggish after a day of working from home or watching Netflix? Get up and get moving! And most importantly, if you are feeling stressed or anxious, find effective coping methods that work for you. Don't ignore what your body is trying to tell you!
I hope these eight ideas can bring more mindfulness into your daily routine. Let me know if you have other activities that you do to live a more mindful lifestyle.