Most of us fly through our days with just enough time to get dressed, eat, go to work come home and try to fit in some time with our loved ones. Who really has the time to stop and smell the roses? And if you stop to ask anyone how are you? The likely response is ‘Busy’, ‘Crazy Busy’, ‘A bit Manic’….
Mindfulness is a hot topic today but as someone recently said to me, “I hear about mindfulness and how it can be healing for stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, chronic pain, etc.., but I have kids and work 50 hours/week, where would I ever find time to sit and meditate?” While having a meditation practice can be enormously supportive, it can be difficult to do this without guidance. However, even without a formal meditation practice, you can use mindfulness from the minute you get up in the day to the moment you go to sleep to help you to have greater focus, calm, and peace.
And you don’t need much time to practice mindfulness, which is a great thing because being mindful can really perk up our lives. Just allowing some breathing space regularly throughout the day helps to relieve the stress of busyness. And if you keep practicing everyday then you’ll reap the benefits and move from frazzled and frantic to composed and calm.
Here are my favourite hacks:
In the Morning
First thing in the morning, instead of jumping out of bed or reaching for your phone stop, take a breath, observe and then proceed. This tends to start the day off differently setting you up to be more calm and steady during the more challenging moments of the day.
Use your time in the shower to gently bring your mind to the present, what is my purpose right now, what is most important. The answer is getting clean in the shower or waking up. So bring your attention to your senses, smelling the soap, feeling the water on your body, listening to the sound of it in the shower. Becoming more present.
Commuting To and From Work
If you drive, once in a while, try using times at red lights or sitting in traffic to be reminders to just notice your breathing. If you walk this is an opportunity to walk differently today. Breathe in with every three steps, and breathe out with every three steps. Notice the sensation of walking, your feet touching the ground.
On the way home remember, it doesn’t pay to rush home, see if you can relax, drive slightly slower and play some soothing music. If you commute maybe reflect on what you actually did during the day. What was positive, what was stuff you would like to do better? You can also choose to plan how you would like to be when you get home.
If you sit at a desk, pause, breathe and observe how you feel before checking the computer for emails or updates. This way you’re learning to respond rather than react.
When doing tasks at work, try to do task one at a time rather than flicking between multiple tasks. If you can, block out time to focus on a group of similar tasks and if possible turn off your email during this period.
If possible, take a walk at lunchtime and spend some time in nature. Go for a walk in a local park if there’s one nearby and use all your senses – smell the flowers, notice the colours, feel the sun or wind on your skin and listen to the birds or the insects. Really tune in to everything around you.
Spread breathing space practices throughout the day, checking in to see if you are in a proactive, reactive, distracted or exhausted zone. Then decide what’s best to do at that moment.
Turn off phones, TV’s and computers before bedtime and spend some time reflecting on the day. When we’re busy we often forget these pleasurable activities, we don’t get the most enjoyment out of them. So take time to note them, maybe writing them down in a little journal. It will help to clear and calm you and set you up for a good night’s sleep.
You’ve not nothing to lose so dive in, ‘mindfully’ of course, and start breaking the cycle of mindless busyness.
Please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interaction is a benefit for all of us.
About Clarissa Hughes
Clarissa Hughes is Sydney’s specialist in Mindfulness for Health who provides mindfulness and meditation programs for individuals and organisations through her company Nen Consulting. Her programs are designed to help people manage their pain and stress and generally find a little breathing space in their busy lives.
At MyDeal we recommend organising yourself and your surroundings to declutter your mind. A clear mind will help you reflect upon your day and maintain clairty. For your garden we suggest a small shed to put away all your outdoor furniture and tools, for your office we suggest office desks with built in storage and for your kids' rooms we suggest trundle beds.