Being mindful is something that more of us could certainly benefit from in all areas of life including at home and work. Mindfulness is about being aware of the present moment and enjoying that, rather than worrying about everything else that may or may not happen (especially if there is nothing you can do about it either way). It can take some time to get used to being mindful, but there are specific practices that will help you along your mindfulness journey. Here are some ideas about bringing mindfulness into all areas of your life, even if those areas are normally stressful ones.
If you find trying to fit time into an already busy day difficult, then try to break it down into much smaller chunks of time. Just five minutes here and there will be enough to set your mind and body on the right track for the day. It’s important not to do anything else during this time, so there’s no point thinking you’ll meditate when you’re watching TV, or making dinner. You need to be fully focused, but since it’s only for five minutes, the majority of people (if not all) will be able to find that time and use it wisely. These ‘minute meditations’ can also be really useful when you’re feeling stressed, or something has gone wrong, as they will bring you back to the present and help you deal with your problem efficiently.
Everyone has household chores to do, but these aren’t always fun. Housework takes up a large portion of our lives when we could be doing something else, so we instantly begrudge doing them, sometimes to the point of actively hating them. Even the word ‘chore’ has negative connotations. However, what if you could turn those chores into an opportunity to practice mindfulness? Next time you have to do the laundry, prepare dinner, clean the bathroom and so on, focus all of your energy and power on that one task. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted. Be fully engaged, and don’t rush to get to the end of the task; do it as well as you can do, and the time taken is not important. Notice the smells and the textures, take time to look at the ingredients you’re using and taste them all. Appreciate the variety of colors and patterns.
Being at work can be the most difficult time to practice mindfulness. There is constantly pressure on you from many different sides, and finding some space and time to meditate, let alone allow yourself to be ‘in the moment’, is tough. It can be done, though, in most places of work. Break times are the perfect way to make the most of the moment. Rather than looking at the clock and being sad that the time is ticking away and you have to get back to the office, be happy that you still have 20 minutes, 10 minutes, five minutes, one minute left to enjoy. If you’re having a cup of coffee, take a moment to watch the milk swirl, and the smell the unique scent. If you’re outside, watch the clouds moving, and take big, deep breaths; remember how the oxygen feels as it travels down into your lungs. If you really don’t have a moment to do any of this, and your boss won’t allow it, then searching for a job that will allow you to be as healthy as possible is a good idea. You can look at the to see what’s available.
As with many things these days, what once was a pleasure is now just something that has to be done so that you can move onto the next thing. Eating has become like this for many people. Instead of this, treat your meal as an occasion itself, rather than something you have to rush through to get back to your desk or so that you can get an early enough night to be ready for work the next day. When you eat, turn off all distractions. No TV, no music, no electronic devices. Just the food. Look at it. Smell it. Take small bites and chew slowly. , and it also allows you to appreciate the food, and the moment.
With so much to do and so little time to do it in, it’s no wonder that we’re all in a rush these days. It may be what everyone does, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for us. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We’re reducing our lives down to deadlines and fastness, and there is no need for it. Again, if your job won’t allow you to relax and take the time to enjoy the good things in life, it’s time to move on to one that does. As well as that, stop punishing yourself if things don’t get done – sometimes that just happens. Ensure that, if you do create a to–do list, it starts with the most important item, even if it’s not something you’re looking forward to. Also make sure that you have a cut off time, after which you step away from your work and engage with your family and friends, or . If the things at the bottom of the list didn’t get done, and you wrote the list in priority order, don’t worry; tomorrow is another day.