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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.
To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.
Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.
Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Here’s what you all had to say.
According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.
I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.
Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights
“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center
“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio
“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates
I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.
Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.