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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.
For the first time ever, the globe will be watching surfing take center stage at the 2020 (postponed to July 2021) Olympics. People from all over the world will be appreciating the sport, many for the first time.
This symbolizes the surfing community breaking through centuries of negative stereotypes. Though conditions play a big part in the sport, the biggest hurdle the athletes will have to overcome to see success is mental. The winner will be the one who chooses their waves wisely with their understanding of the conditions and ability to intimidate and therefore overcome components. Meanwhile, they will be challenging themselves to emerge from crashing barrels, fly into the air, and land on the shifting surface gracefully. No big deal.
You’ve probably heard the invention of a wave pool, which creates the perfect man-made wave. In 2007, Kelly Slater founded his wave company with a passion to build the perfectly rideable wave at his surf ranch. It was debated whether the Olympics should be held in the ocean or on a manufactured wave, with many differing opinions on what would be right. The decision was made, and the event will take place in the sea, at Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan, about 40 miles east of Tokyo, where the rest of the 2021 games will be hosted.
As you watch, take a moment to reflect on the century of effort for this to happen. This initiative can be traced all the way back to the 1912 summer games that took place in Stockholm. Duke Kahanamoku, known as the father of modern surfing, won three gold medals in swimming, and while accepting his medal, he expressed that it was his dream to see surfing be added. To add fuel to the fire, International Surfing Association, recognized as the surfing world's governing authority by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), began lobbying for the inclusion of surfing in the Olympics in 1955.
Surfing is a multidimensional sport unlike any other. Nothing compares to paddling out to the serene silence that awaits beyond the breaking waves. Once you get out there, you immediately escape the many annoyances ingrained in everyday life—the constant notifications on your phone and laptop, your back-to-back schedule, answering to other people. You’re no longer on the time that your watch reads, you’re on mother nature’s time. You’re also no longer in control of your surroundings. Now, all you can do is surrender and wait for the next set to come, while trying to position yourself for when it does.
The high from catching the perfect wave is so addicting that surfers would fail on one hundred in a row just to catch that one. After you catch that perfect one, you replay it in your mind for the rest of the day.
A successful session is reliant on so many factors of mother nature—a force way bigger than us. For ideal conditions to exist, a good-sized swell must approach from the right direction, the wind must be flowing offshore, and you have to time your session right with the ebb and flow of the tide.
The sport is always teaching you life lessons. It is humbling, even if you’ve been practicing it for many years. One reason why it takes so long to master is that the conditions are going to be different every time you get out there. You might have caught a million yesterday, but today makes you feel like a kook because you can’t land one decent wave.
The community of people that you become a part of when you surf is special. A shared obsession with the ocean that brings you to dive into the water at dawn to get a session in bonds you quick. When you’re out there, you’ll find yourself interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds. People enjoy sharing the stoke of the sport. When you see someone out there teaching somebody new, you’ll encounter them cheering at the top of their lungs when they catch a good wave, and as you look around, you’ll see smiles all across the lineup. The other day, I caught a long wave in to be met with a cheering crowd of locals who frequent the spot that I do. When I got to shore, a local showed me their secret stash of hot packs to access in case I, or someone else, gets stung by a stingray when they aren’t around.
Being out in the ocean and abiding by her rules gives surfers a deep love and connection to nature. It’s common to see sea animals out there, like dolphins, stingrays, and fish. When you have an encounter, it’s a reminder that we are invading their territory. It sucks when you see trash floating in the water, or on the sand in its route to the water. It’s a sad reminder of the negative impact that humans can have on natural environments. It inspires you to pick up trash and advocate for sustainability so that we, as a collective, can take care of the beauty that we are lucky to have access to.
Tune in to see surfing break into the biggest international sporting event in the world beginning on Saturday, July 24th.
Do you live by the ocean? Paddle out with an instructor.
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