Every day majority of us often wake up and begin reacting to our days. By that I mean, we basically let the day "happen" to us. The alarm rings off, most of us hit the snooze and try to catch a few more minutes in bed - most likely unaware of this signaling how unprepared we are for our day ahead - almost a reluctance to tackle the day. From there, shower, get dressed, run out the door to deal with the 8:30am traffic, grab breakfast (if you're lucky or pushing time to the limit) only to trudge into a workplace where you feel less than valued or appreciated.
Tasks of the day being added to your pile of to-do's from your boss, manager, supervisor. You deal with it as it comes. Sound familiar?
Mindfulness, I've found, forces one to not only be present in the moment in front of you but to also take time for ourselves in an intentional way. An honest form of self-care, you could say. It allows us to "slow ourselves down" in a good way, connect and check-in with ourselves, take control of our days and moments. Not to mention, it lessens the grip of stress, and boosts concentration. How often have you taken the time out to self-reflect and look inward to realign with your goals for the day so as you're not swept up with the tide of others' demands of your time?
My goal is for all of us to practice and lead lives of intention (aka "intentional living"). Where we're not only the champion of our lives but also the masters of our fates. Keeping this in mind, our time is all we really have at the end of the day, so why not harness it for ourselves more often in meaningful ways that will promote an overall improved well-being?
Here are a few ways we can set foot on the journey:
In as a few minutes, you can change your entire mood from "stressed and frazzled" to "calm and present". It can be done at anytime, but better to start first thing in the morning to set the tone for your day ahead. You can do this by getting in a comfortable position somewhere cozy or where you can find privacy (even in the bathroom!) closing your eyes, bringing your attention to your breathing. Deeply drawing in the cool air through your nostrils, then releasing through your mouth. Noticing the temperature of your breath as you inhale and exhale. Do this for about 3 - 5 minutes.
Even as your mind races while doing this, bring your focus next to your thoughts - don't worry about the tasks of the day, who's waiting for you at the office, the gas you need to put in your car. Just focus on what you want your goals for the week are, things like where you see yourself in at the year's end, noticing how you're feeling in your body. If your mind wanders, bring it back to your breathing, then again on your goals.
2) Go for a Walk
Simply put, you don't necessarily have to go outside, but I recommend it. The combination of feeling cool breeze and sunshine on your skin has a sensation that's bound to wake you up and more than enough of a reminder to let you know how blessed you are for another day, another chance at life, to express gratitude for another breath of life too. If you choose to take this angle, every day seems to be a gift - no matter how mundane.
At work, make the effort to go outside and walk for your lunch (if it's not too far away). To break away from your desk/cubicle is the main idea. So often we allow ourselves to feel stuck or trapped at the desk, but no matter what you've got in front of you, a key thing to remember is your time is your own before it's anyone else's. Do it for your well-being. Take the walk. Go outside.
3) Disconnect. Disconnect. Disconn-Ma'am, Please Put your Phone Down
Need I say more?
We all love and impatiently wait for those feel-good little beeps going off on our "attention devices" but it's affecting your overall well-being and keeping you basically tuned-out to the gift and unique experience of living your life in the moment. How? Well, how many times do you double-triple check your phone screen just in case you missed a notification? Lunging to your phone, not taking a second to think about the reasons why you instinctively do it. I've done it, still do it at times. But, I'm aware of it and intentionally combat it by keeping my phone on silent or vibrate - especially at work (even at home until after a certain hour to allow myself time to unwind and spend some "me time"). This can double as workplace etiquette, but that's another post for another day.
Allow yourself the peace of mind to not be worried about every single notification ringing off. If it's important, you'll get a call. If it's business, you'll get a call and/or email. I promise. Otherwise, all else is pretty much irrelevant and a threat to your peace of mind.
Simply place your phone on vibrate and either in your drawer, bag, face down - away from view. Take it a step further by turning off all notifications or go silent - otherwise, if you're popular, it'll be vibrating every hour on the hour - undoing all of your good mindfulness practice.
Overall, I say, to take each day and each moment at a time. Allow yourself to be your own priority by taking these moments of time to focus on how you're feeling, to calm your mind, to reflect on your goals throughout the day. Disconnect with others' demands on your time and take ownership of your days.
Feel free to let me know if your tried any of these and how it went or if you're looking for more ways to practice mindfulness in your life. The results can only produce good outcomes.