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When we think of mindfulness, meditation is usually the first thing that comes to mind. While meditating is an excellent practice, it’s certainly not the only way to tune into your mind for a sweet escape. Mindful music, journaling, and exercise are all effective tools for mindfulness.
Most of us will experience an overflow of information, advice, predictions and warnings regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be highly overwhelming and cause our thoughts to drift away from our own surroundings. Learning to be in the present moment is great for your emotional and mental state, as it can help you relax and focus.
Here are some ways to be mindful throughout these coming days.
1. Listen to mindfulness music
If upbeat pop songs distract you and talk radio make your days frustrating, give mindfulness music a try. Mindfulness music, which incorporates relaxing sounds and ambient instrumentals, is designed to help you stay calm, concentrate, or sleep. Many people also use mindfulness music to meditate.
There are dozens of free sources of mindfulness music online. Try listening to different kinds until you find music that soothes and helps you.
2. Practice mindful eating
How often do we eat lunch in front of our computers or shove our dinner into our mouths while watching Netflix?
Multitasking during meals seems efficient, but it means that you don’t get the chance to really savour and appreciate the flavours and textures of your food. Next time you eat, try mindful eating – a practice that involves taking notice of your food instead of letting your mind wander.
Take a moment to smell your food and take in how delicious it looks. Chew each bite slowly, noticing how it tastes. Is it spicy? Refreshing? Crunchy? Sweet? You don’t have to analyze every bite, but learning to savour your food can leave you feeling fuller and more satisfied at the end of a meal.
3. Try journaling
Journaling is a great way to connect with your thoughts, especially when your mind feels frantic, busy and worried.
Take five or ten minutes to journal every day. If you’d like, you can write stream-of-consciousness style, which is when you write whatever pops into your head: My nose itches. I don’t know what to write. I have to do laundry tonight. Sometimes, it helps to “empty” your brain onto a piece of paper so that you can unpack all those thoughts and ideas.
Don’t pressure yourself into writing well. Bad grammar and boring stories are okay! Journaling isn’t meant to produce good writing, it’s supposed to produce writing that makes you feel good.
4. Incorporate mindful movement and exercise into your routine
Yoga is a common and well-loved form of mindful movement – If you are new at practicing yoga, there are multiple instructors on youtube that provide great guidance, search around until you find one that guides you best.
Of course there are other ways to practice moving mindfully. Try a mindful walk, where you take in the sights and sounds of your neighborhood, while respecting social distancing. There are also many core exercises that can be done from home, which can help clear your mind, blow off steam and keep healthy.
Mindful movement and exercises aren’t just great for physical reasons. It can help you become more aware of your body, and it can give you an opportunity to connect with your physical self. Ask yourself: how does my body feel? What hurts? What feels good?
5. Turn mundane chores into mindful moments
We tend to “zone out” during mundane tasks, which means we end up thinking about everything other than what we’re doing.
Peeling vegetables, grocery shopping, waiting in a queue, and other routine tasks can become great opportunities for mindfulness. Focusing on the movement of a knife gliding across a potato skin can be relaxing and soothing.
Mindfulness doesn’t have to involve sitting on a cushion and meditating for hours at a time. It’s possible to find moments of mindfulness throughout the day, helping you relax and self-soothe. Switch on some mindfulness music or grab an old journal and practice some self-care.