If your days are as hectic as mine, you probably are looking for ways to be more mindful every day. Personally, I spend my day in a total blur as I run from one thing to the next until I'm somehow back in my apartment at night with no idea what hit me. Unfortunately it's easy to become this zoned out, especially in our stressful, fast-paced, and over-connected world. We rarely have time for ourselves, and each moment we find quickly fills up with little time sucks that take us out of the present moment.
I'm personally not OK with living like this. I often find myself wondering what day of the week it is, or where the month has gone. It's a horrible feeling! And have you ever driven somewhere and not remembered how you got there? Yeah, that was the tipping point for me. So I've started to try to be more aware of my surroundings, get away from the worries in my head, and really put effort into taking more time for myself. If you, too, find yourself craving a slower and more mindful life, then check out the tips below for bringing yourself back to reality.
1. Put Your Phone Down
When was the last time you had to wait somewhere and didn't look at your phone? Probably never. Checking our phones has become a default reaction the second we find ourselves waiting in line, at a doctor's office, or on a train. Occasionally passing the time by catching up with emails and friends is fine, but take a moment to reconsider how you spend these idle moments. The next time you feel your fingers twitching and aching for your phone, stop! Take this time instead to soak in the world around you.
2. Resist The Urge To Record Everything
It’s tempting to snap a pic of every waking moment of your day, from the beautiful breakfast you just made to the particularly lovely sunset at night. But when was the last time you ever actually looked at these miscellaneous photos? Be more choosy with your photographing, because you shouldn't be living vicariously through your phone's screen. For example, I used to spend my whole time at a concert trying to get an awesome shot, but ended up with a bunch of blurry photos of very tiny people. Totally not worth missing the whole concert. So instead of wasting the moment, focus on capturing unique occasions, such as your vacation or birthday party, and leave the rest to history.
3. Have A Breakfast Routine
Or lunch routine. Or dinner routine. Whichever you choose, make sure to set aside some time each day to eat a real meal. If you have a breakfast routine, make sure you sit down to eat and really relish your cereal and the taste of your OJ. (It may sound dumb, but think of it as a meditation.) You don't have to gaze lovingly at your Lucky Charms, but the point is to slow down and be mindful as you eat, instead of shoveling food in your face while leaning over the sink.
4. Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
The next time you find yourself worrying about the future or zeroing in on the past, take a deep breath and bring yourself back to the present. Notice the sounds around you, the scent in the air, the other people on the street, and really "be" in the moment (even if that scent in the air is the smell of the subway). I've found that whenever I have to sit somewhere for a while (especially while driving) my thoughts can easily spiral out of control into worry-land. But if I take the time to remember where I am, and focus in on my surroundings, I can feel much more calm.
5. Organize Your Life
It's pretty hard to be "present" if you have no idea where any of your sh*t is. Think about it — if your purse is a disaster, you can't find your keys, and your mailbox has been overflowing for weeks, then you can't expect to feel very zen. Instead of living in chaos, take time each day to organize your life.
I've recently begun cleaning out my purse at the end of each day to get rid of receipts and gum wrappers and spare change, and it makes me feel so much better. I also recommend having a container or envelope for bills, a designated place for your keys, and a set time each week to organize your mail (both physical and digital). The fewer distractions and messes you have to deal with, the easier it is to live worry-free.
6. Take A Deep Breath
When all else fails, you can always take a deep breath. If you've ever been to a yoga class, you've probably heard the teacher say "bring it all back to your breath." And that's really all you can do, right? Sometimes life is distracting and chaotic and tiring. All you really have control over is yourself and your breath. In fact, take a deep breath right now and start bringing yourself back to the present.
Practicing being present and living in the moment will feel weird at first, especially because we all have habits to break (particularly the phone thing). But stick with it, and soon enough you'll be one zenned out lady.
Images: Pexels (2); Giphy (2)