Since I started yoga teacher training back in September, I’ve been trying to be more mindful. I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s definitely not easy to do with to do lists, notifications from my phone, and a society that’s so focused on hustling and always being on the go.
I know that it’s not feasible to always be mindful – traffic can be aggravating, there will be line ups at the grocery store waiting to check out, and I’ll get sucked into Instagram for longer than I expected. But I think I can do a better job at being mindful. I can choose to spend less time doing those things that are huge time sucks (hello social media) and be less in my head thinking about the past or future and instead be present in the moment.
Below I’ll be sharing a couple ways that I’m able to be more mindful. What works for me may not work for you, and what works for you may not be right for me. Try something new out, even if you’re not sure if it’ll work – you don’t know until you experience it.
Being more mindful doesn’t have to be a big deal or take up a lot of time. Writing for 5 minutes can be beneficial. Meditating for just a few breaths can help. Doing one sun salutation in your living room can bring you back into the present. Going for a quick walk around the block can bring you out of the mental to do list you have going in your head.
A huge one for me has been keeping a journal. I’m pretty sure I have 6 or 8 of them from the last 14 years or so since I graduated from university. I used to be really good at writing in my journal daily, but now it’s more like once or twice a week. It’s not as much as I would like, but it’s something.
By sitting down to journal I give myself permission to spent the next 15 or 20 minutes just being present and thinking about what’s been going on in my life lately – things I’m excited, happy, sad, angry, or nervous about. There’s something about getting it out of my head and down onto the page a that makes such a big difference for me.
If you’re not sure what to write about, there are lots of journalling prompts out there, from books full of them to ones that you can find online. Sometimes taking a few minutes to sit, think, and write about what you’re thinking and feeling makes all the difference.
I’m definitely not a woo woo person, but meditation has been a game changer for me. There’s so many positive things that it’s done for me – from helping with anxiety to helping me fall asleep.
If you’re like me and don’t really get the woo woo stuff either, I highly recommend Headspace. It’s very down to earth and focuses on meditation techniques that are very straight forward, from noting thoughts to counting breaths. If you’re interested in trying out Headspace, check out my post all about it.
It’s so easy for me to get caught up in my to do list and always feeling like I have to get things done. Taking the time to meditate can be tough sometimes when I know I have other “productive” things that I could be doing instead. But when I do take the time to do it, it’s so worth it. Check out this post about what I learned from meditating for 100 days in a row.
If you’ve been reading Get Fit Fiona for any amount of time, you’ll know that workouts and yoga are my thing. It shouldn’t be any surprise that they’re both huge stress relievers for me. Yoga especially helps to keep me mindful.
If you’ve never done yoga, there’s a big focus on the breath and staying present in the moment. You can’t move ahead in the class because you don’t know the next pose that the teacher has in mind. If you’re too distracted about things that have happened outside of the yoga studio, you’ll miss cues about the next pose.
There’s just something about being on my yoga mat, in the studio, surrounded by other people who are doing the same class that just helps to shut off other distractions and keep me focused on the here and now. The stuff I need to do after class, making dinner, and whatever else I have on my plate just doesn’t bother me when I’m at yoga.
If you’re new to trying out yoga to stay mindful, check out What to Expect from your First Yoga Class and How to Start a Yoga Practice. I know how intimidating it can be walking into a yoga studio for the first time and having no idea what to expect, from where to set up your mat and the proper etiquette. It’s so worth getting over the fear and going!
Spend time outdoors
Does anyone else feel more in the moment, like themselves, and just good when they’re spending time outdoors? I think a lot of people do. There’s something about being in the sunshine with nature and the sounds of birds that just feels so great.
Walks outdoors are a great way for me to be mindful. I’m very lucky that I have a couple beautiful parks near me with kilometers of paths. In the winter they even get plowed pretty quickly so walks definitely aren’t just a summer thing.
I usually like to go for walks without music so that I can be with my thoughts. It’s so easy to keep yourself caught up on the constant stream of things that go through your head, but it’s also so nice to just be in nature and enjoy it. I’ll pay attention to the wind in the leaves of the trees, the birds, even the dogs that are on the path ahead of me.
Now that you know the ways that I like to be mindful throughout the day, what are some of yours?