It’s Mental Health Awareness Month and a great opportunity to practice being more mindful in our everyday lives!
It’s interesting to me that not long ago, no one was really talking about mindfulness. Now, I feel like it’s everywhere. And it’s so awesome! Being tuned into the moment, really enjoying what’s happening right now, is so, SO powerful. Like, life changing.
But it’s hard, right? With life running a million miles a minute and a thousand things you want to do, it can be hard to slow down enough to do even a few minutes of mindfulness activities. But don’t you worry! I’ve got you. I’ve put together some of my best tips to help you stay in the moment during your everyday routine.
How often do you scarf down a meal before running to class or mindlessly eat while you’re in front of the TV? Change it up!
Try being mindful when you’re eating. Slow down and really taste each bite. Have a moment of admiration for the beautiful meal in front of you. You’ll get so much more out of mealtime this way!
If mindful eating is hard for you, it can be helpful to take a few minutes after you eat to make notes on your meal. Don’t just write down the basics, like what you ate and the nutrient breakdown, but also note how it made you feel. You might learn more about healthy food options that make you super happy!
Quality, nutritious food choices can go a long way in impacting both your physical and mental wellbeing. A better diet = a healthier lifestyle = better mental health!
Okay, I know we all struggle with this. But of all the mindfulness activities, this is the one that will make the biggest difference for the people you care most about.
Here’s what I do: if I’m going to meet up with a friend but I know my brain is going a mile a minute, I carve out a few minutes to sit with my notebook. I make notes about stuff I don’t want to forget and put stuff on my calendar to deal with later. That way, when I show up with my friend, I can be totally, 100% present with them. I can tune into everything she’s saying and really enjoy the time with her. And I think it makes the hangout sesh better for both of us!
Meditation is one of those ideas of mindfulness that can feel really intimidating if you’re not sure where to start. But meditating helps to slash stress and increase your self-awareness, plus it makes you feel better. And it can even make you more creative and patient! (You don’t have to take my word for it. Check out this research.)
My top tips to make meditation feel way easier are:
- Start with ten minutes a day. Seriously, you can do anything for ten minutes! Roll out your Yoga Mat and try carving out this little bit of time in your schedule for a week and see how you feel.
- Use guided meditations. Just sitting there can be tricky if you haven’t figured out how to quiet and calm your brain. I love using guided meditations to help me hold this space for myself. There are a bunch on YouTube and Spotify (you can even type in “10 minute guided meditation”) or you can try an app. Both Headspace and Calm have free trials so you can take them for a spin. We also have mindfulness and relaxing yoga classes on our timetable with Nicole.
I’ve found that one of the most helpful tools to improve mindfulness is just having a place to put stuff to get it out of my brain! Seriously, it’s so hard to be in the moment when the to-do list in your head is seven miles long.
I’ve been using a journal to do this and just having a place to write everything down so you can get it off your mind is insanely helpful! Once I’ve done the brain dump, it frees up space for me to tackle my to-dos one by one and focus on the tasks individually.
To take it a step further, start a journal.
Journaling gives you a chance to check in with yourself. It’s a space where you can put words to things you’ve been feeling — maybe even things you didn’t know you were feeling! And because it’s a totally safe, private space, you can open up and let it all go.
Seriously, I think journaling is super cathartic. And, again, this is one of those ideas for mindfulness that can take you just 10 minutes! Make a little time when you first wake up or before you go to bed. You can journal while you’re all comfy under the covers and you might be surprised how good your brain feels afterward.
MOVEMENT FOR YOUR MIND
Regular exercise has enormous impacts on nearly every aspect of your health—your mental health is no exception. It’s well studied that people who work out consistently are less likely to suffer from high levels of stress, anxiety, or depression. Not to mention the boost in confidence that comes from feeling good about your body and all the strength you’ll gain!
Make it a goal to carve out 30 minutes to move your body as many days as you can in a week.