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Mindfulness. A word that gets thrown around often, but we may not ever take the time to dissect. What does it really mean? In short, it’s being aware. Being conscious of your mind, your body, your surroundings, your neighbors. It’s the opposite of coasting through life mindlessly. It’s being fully conscious in the present moment and thinking about its place within the bigger picture—and how it affects others.
So how can we begin to practice mindfulness in the mundane moments of our daily lives? We don’t have to go on some sort of spiritual meditation journey to find ourselves (although if you have that option, by all means, go for it). The truth is, we can practice mindfulness in the smallest moments, and starting small can help us learn to be mindful on a larger scale later on.
In this time of uncertainty, fear, and jarring change, we could all benefit from a little mindfulness in our day-to-day lives. Here are some practical ways you can start practicing right now.
So, you’re in the grocery store, looking around at angry people fighting over toilet paper and spaghetti, wondering how we got here. It’s so easy to be frustrated with everyone’s panic and just plain rudeness in the store. Lines are long, people are mean, no one’s honoring the six-feet rule. I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves in a similar anxiety-inducing situation in the past few weeks. Everyone’s scared of what’s going to happen next, stocking up on food for their families.
How we can be mindful: Park far away and enjoy breathing in the fresh air on the walk from your car to the entrance. When you get inside, look at the food that is there. Think about the random items as potential ingredients. How can you challenge yourself to get creative with your meals? Be grateful that we have grocery stores to access the moment we need food. Think about the people working at the store, exposing themselves to lots of angry customers and germs each day to put food on the shelves for those of us who need it. Notice how good it feels to get out of the house—running errands may be the one part of your routine you can still do.
We’ve all tried it—pushing aside coffee tables, rolling out yoga mats, trying not to disturb our downstairs neighbors with jumping jacks. As we drip sweat on our favorite rugs and text “IMY :(” to our favorite fitness instructors, we’re all feeling the same sense of anxiety and frustration.
So, how can we be mindful? Take a moment just to feel your toes on the floor. Think about your body and what it’s capable of. Remember all the things your body can accomplish, no matter the environment you’re in. Be thankful for your home and your rug and your fitness instructor. Look forward to when you can get back in the studio while also being present in your body right now. Try to start a new temporary workout routine that feels consistent to you. Laugh at your situation and your sweaty rug. You got this.
“Wh-a-t di-d yo-u s-ay?” There’s nothing like trying to hold an important meeting over some sh*tty WiFi. Watching your pixelated coworker try to share her screen and tell you some “important updates” you can’t hear a word of. We’re all dealing with this right now.
Practice mindfulness by thinking about your job and your ability to work from home in the first place. Bring awareness to your breath, restart your router, and remember that we’re all in this together. Think of all the times you sat at work, wishing you could be home in your PJs. Send an instant message, let them know you can’t hear them, and see how much you can explain over email. We’ll figure it out, and we all understand.
Feeling bored? Wanting to go run a marathon or dance the night away? We feel you. There’s something different about staying in over the weekend for a much-needed self-care night versus choosing to self-isolate to protect the world from a pandemic. But why not switch your mindset?
Self-care and movie nights are fun, and we all love them every now and then. Be mindful by getting creative with how you choose to spend your time at home. Whether it’s hosting a digital dinner party, learning how to meditate, giving yourself a mani-pedi, or setting up the perfect WFH sanctuary, there are plenty of ways to be mindful of how you spend your time. Think of this as an opportunity to reset, to return to work and the busyness of everyday life with newfound gratitude and awareness (and some sassy red nails).
At this point, I’m sure we’ve all had to cancel trips, events, hangouts, and social gatherings we were really looking forward to. Music festivals were postponed, weddings were canceled, girls’ trips to Portland to reunite with college friends were put on hold (yeah, that one’s personal). When you’re hitting that ‘Cancel’ button online or on the phone with airlines and hotel managers, take a pause.
How great is it that we have things to look forward to in the first place? Great friends, family, live music to see—these are the things that bring joy into our lives. Yes, I’m bummed that my trip got canceled, but I’m so thankful for the amazing friends I was planning to meet up with. Last night, we hopped on Zoom and laughed the night away regardless of our canceled plans. If a postponed event is your biggest worry right now, pause and reflect. Be mindful of your current situation in comparison to others—of health, safety, friends, family, everything we so often take for granted. Be mindful and know there will soon be time to reschedule.
This is a big one right now—I think we’re all feeling it. What’s going to happen next? How can we stop this chaos? The thing is, we don’t have all the answers right now. We can wash our hands, stay indoors, practice social distancing, and keep an eye on updates from the WHO. But aside from all that, we need to take measures to protect not just our physical bodies, but our mental health as well.
Practicing mindfulness during a state of worldwide panic may seem like a lofty ask, but we can all take steps to maintain a state of calm in our own minds. Different methods work for different people, so be sure to take time to discover what’s best for you. Maybe it’s ten long, slow breaths to center and ground yourself in the present moment. Maybe it’s finding a live-streamed yoga class from one of the many studios that are offering them right now, or trying a few calming poses in your living room. Maybe it’s downloading Waking Up or Headspace for some guided meditation to clear your mind (or learning to meditate on your own!). Whether you’re plugging in your diffuser and turning on your favorite meditation playlist or blasting some pump-up jams to dance out all that pent-up stress, there’s no wrong way to find your calm and stay grounded in stressful moments.
So, what does mindfulness mean to you? Share your favorite tips for practicing mindfulness on your Instagram story and tag @mindbody to spread the love.
When you think of self-love what do you think of? Bubble baths, walks on the beach, facemasks, or what? Self-love can mean so many different things but when we think about self-love, we have to acknowledge loving ourselves both on the outside and on the inside. The way that we show ourselves love is one of the most important things we will ever do.
How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love?
As self-love defines and redefined itself for you over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.
Don’t we love this one? Loving ourselves has a lot to do with the boundaries that we have for ourselves, with others, and for others. Take time to think about your own emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs when setting boundaries that reflect your personal needs. Boundaries don’t have to be big and scary; they are here to remind us that you get to have your lived experience and still have expectations about how you’d like to be treated and what you’d like to feel.
When thinking about your boundaries, ask yourself:
In a world where perfectionism and curated existences have been rewarded, begin to cultivate compassion for yourself. You are a soul having a human experience and it’s totally okay if things are not perfect.
Mindfulness exercises such as Breathwork, self-care activities, and self-compassion, all help train the mind, emotions, and even the body’s stress chemicals to be able to deal with undesired situations. Self-compassion means, can you be nice to yourself? Can you find empathy and kindness for yourself in the middle of what feels chaotic, stressful, or unwanted? Self-compassion means that we get to make mistakes, have our plans not work out the way that we wanted, and we still get to celebrate that we are doing the best that we can and it is enough.
When thinking about self-compassion, ask yourself:
In every sense of the word “nourishment”, begin to learn what nourishes you and what depletes you. Nourishment doesn’t just mean food for yourself; it means that whatever you are consuming whether it be media, podcasts, people, energy, information, etc. all impact the way that we think, feel, and experience life.
Nourishing yourself definitely goes right along the lines of having your boundaries intact and practicing self-compassion.
When thinking about nourishment, ask yourself:
That’s it. Those are the foundational steps to cultivating a self-love practice that you can ease into your daily routine. Come back to these questions often, because like anything else, self-love is a practice and it takes effort, time, and intention to maintain.