OK. Myth number one busted from the offset. You DON’T have to change your whole lifestyle to be mindful! Honest. I still do all the thing I used to do before I started practicing mindfulness. I just tweaked my mindset slightly to allow mindfulness to become part of that lifestyle.
In this article, I will share with you some of my tried and tested techniques for living a mindful lifestyle. It has taken me a while to get where I am today, so don’t expect to be perfect at it overnight. But in time I think you will find these little tips aren’t as life-changing as you might have first though they would be.
1. Stop and Listen
From the moment I wake up I find myself doing this one. Instead of rushing out of bed when your alarm goes off, take a few minutes to take in the sounds around you. Maybe it’s the birds singing. Maybe the sound of breakfast being made downstairs.
I also do this when I’m out on walks too. Notice the sounds of nature and take time to enjoy them. Basically whenever you’re starting to feel like the world is getting on top of you, stand still and listen to what it has to say.
Ok this might sound like a bit of an obvious one! But I don’t mean just normal trying-to-stay-alive breathing. I mean long, slow deep breaths. Most of us have either a smart watch or smart phone, so if you need to download an app to prompt you to do this every now and again. You’d be surprised how 5-10 deep breaths can help put a bit of perspective on things.
3. Practice a bit of self care
In our current society it’s so easy to constantly be doing something for others. Be it for work, family or the community. It can feel selfish to say no to people, but try and keep some time for you. Even just an evening a week. Do something you enjoy such as a hobby or a hot bubble bath with all the extra lotions and potions. Keep a self care box for when things get really stressful too. (If you need some ideas, check out this post)
4. Invest in a good nights sleep
Every night I listen to a sleep story on my Calm app. Yes. Every night. I am a sufferer of the sort of brain that never switches off. It makes getting a decent nights sleep very tricky. So now, I have a routine that I stick to.
About an hour before bed I have a hot drink and dim the lights. Then, when I go up to bed, I turn on some fairy lights and do my final notification checks before I turn on my sleep story and turn off the bedside light. I leave the fairy lights on. Not only does this create a bit of Hygge, but it creates a soothing atmosphere conducive to sleep. If I’m really struggling I also use lavender pillow spray to help me wind down.
Not too much to ask?
So hopefully now you can see that I haven’t changed a great deal, if anything, to incorporate a little mindfulness into my life. Obviously there are loads of other ways to be mindful. These are just a few easy ones to get you started. In later articles I will explore different situations and techniques so you can expand on this. But let’s not run before we can walk.
Learning to be mindful takes time, I have been practicing for about 5 years and I still have times when I find it hard. No one is perfect! Hopefully by starting with these few I have benefitted from, you will see that it’s not as arduous or as “hippy” as you thought it was.