The other day, I felt like I might be on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
It seemed like I was being consumed by my to-do lists, phone notifications, email reminders, and constant state of busyness.
I had to shut off all of my devices and rush out the door without my phone to take a long walk in my neighborhood just to feel like myself again.
If this sounds familiar, you might be struggling with some major burnout or stress. In a world filled with chaos, uncertainty, and overwhelming amounts of technology, one of the best ways to combat the stress and anxiety we are all feeling right now is to slow down with a practice called mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the art of living intentionally.
Living with intention and in the present moment to become more aware and attentive. Simply, it is the art of delighting in all of the small details that make our lives a little more enjoyable.
Incorporating some mindfulness into my daily routine has helped me cope with my hormonal anxiety and stress. Here are some simple and easy ways that I like to practice mindfulness.
Go for a walk by yourself.
Get in a short walk as often as possible. Leave your phone or put it away and on silent during your walk. Make a conscious effort to notice as many details as possible on your walk.
Can you feel the wind caress your face? What colors do you see in the trees and plants? Do you hear wind chimes or dogs barking or even a gentle hum of the breeze? Take it all in as you walk and just be with yourself in the moment.
Your mind may wander as you walk and that is okay. Keep bringing yourself back to the present moment.
Make a mental note of anything pleasing that you observe. Notice the bright yellow daffodils that bring a smile to your face. Smell the fragrant mint growing in a nearby garden. Listen to hear the soft ripple of a fountain.
Enjoy all of the details as you walk.
Keep a one sentence journal.
Take a couple of minutes every day to write down one sentence. Focus on one detail that you want to record. I like to write down the thing that stood out to me the most from my day.
Sometimes, I write down things that spark gratitude. I might feel thankful for a delicious meal or a long conversation with my friends.
Other times, I might write down something that I am struggling with or working through.
The beauty of the one sentence journal is that it’s short and sweet. The pressure to journal is practically gone because you are only composing one sentence. If you skip a day or two, it’s fine. Pick your journal back up when you remember.
You can also write down your journal entries nearly anywhere. A notepad by your bed, an app on your phone, a blank planner or calendar, a blank doc on your laptop, a legal pad, a bunch of sticky notes, a tiny notebook, etc.
Have a meal and notice all of the details of your experience.
When was the last time that you took your time to eat a meal and savor all of the flavors and textures of your food? I don’t know about you, but I’m often guilty of shoveling in a quick bite to eat while typing out plans or answering emails every day during lunch.
It’s easy to allow our constant multi-tasking to take away from truly enjoyable experiences like eating your favorite meals.
Next time you sit down for a delicious meal, put away all technology and other distractions, and actually allow yourself to have an experience of the senses as you eat.
What flavors do you taste that are enjoyable? Are there layering or subtle notes of flavor that you notice? What textures are your favorite to eat?
Firstly, Savor your meal and eat slowly with intention. If you are eating with someone else, take time to discuss what is so delicious about your meal.
The other night, I decided to cook some spaghetti for my husband. We’ve been eating out a lot recently due to our busy schedules, so it was really nice to take some time in the kitchen with a meal.
I made an effort to slow down while eating and really enjoy the different flavors. To prepare the sauce, I used some sweet Roma tomatoes and basil. I adored the texture and firmness of the tomato chunks in the sauce.
Also, I added some rich ricotta cheese to the sauce to make it extra creamy. I made some gluten free spaghetti noodles and cooked them for about 10 minutes until al dente. It was such a simple meal, but we took the time to really savor all of the flavors and textures that make spaghetti such a dinner staple for most households.
So, you obviously will not have time to make every meal this intentional, but it’s a good practice to slow things down after a busy day. It’s also a really easy gratitude practice.
Give yourself opportunities to just sit with your thoughts.
I like to give myself quiet moments every day where I ruminate without any distractions. Sometimes, I like to turn off the radio on my commute and just sit in the quiet for a few minutes. It’s a great opportunity to think and tune out all of the noise we hear every day.
It’s impossible to avoid technology these days. Most of us work using a device of some sort. So, it’s important for mental health to take some small breaks from being plugged in all day.
To start out, try to give yourself a few moments every day where you are unplugged from your technology. I typically put my phone away during meals and walks. There is something very refreshing and mentally relaxing when you take a break from responding to texts and emails. You will feel a little less stressed and much more centered when your return to your technology.
Start small and continue with practices that make you feel centered and calm.
So, do you practice mindfulness? What are some of your habitual practices that work for you?
Okie doke, I would love to hear from you in the comments about your own mindfulness routines.