20 Ways To Add Mindfulness To Your Daily Routine
Are you feeling untethered lately? Scattered? Basically, everything that is the opposite of grounded? Here is a quick read to help you centre yourself.
Mindfulness can come in many forms. It doesn’t have to look like a meditation practice- contrary to popular beliefs and images, mindfulness and meditation are not one and the same.
One of the easiest ways to experience mindfulness is to weave it into the small moments of your day
First of all, let’s define mindfulness.
We can define mindfulness as anything that encourages us to connect to, and be aware of, the present moment.
This awareness encompasses the environment, our body, our thoughts, and our feelings. One of the key features of mindfulness is to aware and accept the present moment as it is, without judgement
Defined like this, I hope you can see that mindfulness does not have to be a privileged practice. We do not need a membership, just an open mind and an accepting heart.
The benefits of mindfulness are quite extensive and could take up their own blog post! For a quick overview, mindfulness has beens shown to reduce stress, help us focus, connect better in relationships, reduce rumination, and overall, increase our attunement with our own emotions and needs.
It’s also important to note that mindfulness is not for everyone. It is certainly not the only path to awareness. For those of us who have experiences of trauma, mindfulness can actually be very activating and feel unsafe. Do what feels right for you. And if mindfulness is a triggering or frustrating practice, it’s okay to let it go and move onto either a guided practice with a professional, or something else entirely.
Now, let’s get into 20 ways to add mindfulness to your day!
Mindfulness In the Morning
1. Do A Body Scan
When you wake up, take a moment to check in with your body. It’s easier to do this if you focus on one particular part of your body at at time. Are there any sensations jumping out at you? What does the blanket feel like against your skin?
Practice moving from one body part to another and working your way up or down. It may be easier to start with one area rather than doing a full body scan right away.
2. Make A Warm Drink
As you make your first hot drink of the day (this can be coffee, tea, even warm water), focus on the process. Slow down and notice the scent of the coffee grounds. For many of us, the fragrance of brewing coffee is synonymous with beginnings, work, and relaxation. Breathe it in deeply. Watch the coffee dripping into your cup, notice the sound as the drips hit the coffee, and the beauty of the colour and crema.
Are you a tea person? One of my absolute favourite things to do is pour orange pekoe into a glass mug and watch as the splash of milk touches and swirls the orange liquid, transforming it.
3. Slow Down Your Shower
Many of us (including myself) jump in and out of the shower in the morning. It may feel strange to slow this activity down. However, we rarely get a moment to ourselves that is so private and so entirely our own!
Try taking the time to notice how the water feels against your skin. We often choose the scent of our shampoos and soap with care. Breathe in the fragrance and notice what drew you to that particular scent. Play with the suds!
4. Light A Candle While Getting Ready
As you light the candle, set an intention for the day: how do you want to feel today? What are you hoping to accomplish?
Feel the softness of your makeup brushes, or the way the fabric feels against your skin. Did you notice the immediate warmth and coziness that comes from putting on your sweater?
5. Make Your Bed/Tidy Up With Intention
If your morning routine leaves a hurricane in its wake, this one is for you (Hurricane Hala is category 5 by the way, so this one is for me too).
Taking the time to make your bed and clean up after getting ready will be worth it when you come home to a tidy room. As you lift your blanket, brush off your bed. Pick the clothes off the floor, wash your coffee mug, all the while thinking of future you who will be so grateful for these small acts of kindness.
Mindfulness Throughout The Day
6. Break The Routine Of Your Daily Commute
If you drive to work, take a different route. If you usually listen to music, try a podcast. Or perhaps you are used to listening to something and haven’t experienced silence on your commute- put in some noise-cancelling headphones and indulge in the stillness.
Notice the way the morning sun feels on your face as you ride the train.
Many of us aren’t commuting these days. In this case, take a step back and look at your workspace. You spend so much time here…how does the space make you feel? Take a moment to dust off the lamp, tidy up the pens, and wipe down your chair.
On a personal note, I renovated my room last year for the first time in 10 years. The fact that I have a desk space that I love, with a beautiful golden lamp, my favourite candle, and little post-its all over the wall, was a DREAM just a few years ago. I try and remember this when I sit down in my chair every day.
7. Less Scrolling, More Engaging
We do a lot of mindless scrolling on Instagram. Try and replace this with meaningful interactions. If something made you smile, leave a kind comment. If you are wearing a piece of clothing from a local business you love, or using a product that makes your day better, highlight and tag the brand!
Unfollow the accounts that make you feel bad about yourself and follow the ones that inspire you.
8. Notice Your Posture
It’s normal to absentmindedly hunch over at our desks. Leave a little note to yourself at eye level to check in with your posture. Whenever you do, take a moment to roll your neck back and forth and do a quick stretch.
Also notice the way you are carrying stress or pressure. Unclench your jaw. Relax and drop your shoulders. Exhale.
9. Tell Someone How Much They Mean To You
Take a moment to express your gratitude. This doesn’t have to be a deep conversation. It can be as simple as telling the person who delivered your package how much you appreciate what they are doing to make things available and accessible during a pandemic.
If you lead a team and haven’t singled out anyone in a while to tell them how well they are doing….today is the day! Noticing people’s efforts and letting them know you are grateful will help you feel more connected to your surroundings and the roles you occupy.
10. Notice Judgemental Thoughts
Flex your empathy muscle whenever you notice yourself having a judgemental thought. Is there a perspective you haven’t considered? What would you hope others would think of you if you were in this circumstance? When tempted to engage in gossip, ask yourself what value you are adding to this conversation.
11. Have A Silly Moment
Dance it out in the kitchen. Text something funny to a friend. Use your IG filters. Take a super hot selfie just because. It’s important to notice the things that bring lightness to your day!
12. Do Chores With Intention
As you fold the laundry, stick your face in those warm dryer sheets and indulge in the coziness and fresh scent. Scrub the counters and delight in how clean and shiny they look. Vacuum the carpets and notice how satisfying it is to sink your toes into them now- and to see how much dirt is in the vacuum canister!
13. Take A Mindful Walk
Notice how the air feels on your skin. Do your shoes make a sound? Really look around and take in the features of your environment. Notice where you see your favourite colours! Try walking without a destination or taking a different route.
14. Ask Someone The Story Or Meaning Behind Their Name
Many people will enthusiastically tell you what their name means or the story behind it. Perhaps they were named after a significant person or their name translates into something beautiful. It reveals a little piece of a person that I promise you won’t forget, and it will help you feel more connected to them.
I love learning about the origin of names. Many people are touched when you want to learn- it’s an unusual and highly underrated thing to ask someone about the very first thing they could ever claim.
15. Eat Slowly
When you eat throughout the day, practice eating slowly and chewing properly. Try not to eat in front of a screen! This will help you notice and enjoy the taste of your food. Mindful eating also involves appreciating and expressing gratitude for what nourishes us.
Mindfulness In The Evening
16. Prepare Dinner With Love
As cheesy as it sounds, when we make food with love, it shows! Even if you don’t have a lot of time, notice the colours of the veggies, the fragrance of the onions, garlic, and spices. Take a moment to appreciate your cooking skills, whatever level they are at.
17. Indulge In Your Skincare Routine
Wash your face with intention and awareness. I love this reminder from our co-founder Sarah (@the.poc.therapist):
While doing your skincare, focus on how the products feel on your skin. Massage the lotion into your hands, focusing on your nails and cuticles too. Notice how the oils melt into your skin and the cooling sensation of the eye cream on your delicate under-eyes. Take a moment to express gratitude for your hands, legs, eyes, lips and everything your body does for you.
18. Have A Quick Journaling Moment
Take 10 minutes to journal about your day. This can be thoughts you had, moments that surprised you, how you felt, and what you learned from the day. Write down 3 things you are grateful for.
19. Connect With Someone
It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own thoughts when we are only directing mindfulness inwards. Practice listening to your partner with intention, asking your kids about the best and worst parts of their day, or video chatting with a friend you have been thinking about.
20. Turn Down For Bed
Turn off the devices! Focus on how good it feels to be cozy. The softness of your pyjamas. And how nice it will feel to sink into a deep, rejuvenating sleep.
If your thoughts are racing, listen to a bedtime story for grownups that will give your mind a soft landing spot to rest.
I hope this post helped you see that we don’t have to schedule mindfulness into our day. Instead, it can be incorporated throughout and vastly improve our ability to be present in our own lives.
I want to hear from you: What is your favourite way to add a mindful moment into your day?
That’s all for me! If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to send me an email. Or book an appointment with anyone from WellNest’s awesome team! You can also book a free phone consult at anytime.
Until next time!
Mental Health Content Specialist
Hala Shamsi is a Social Worker and Mental Health Content Specialist at WellNest Psychotherapy Services. She is always deep in the middle of an internet spiral to bring you fresh insights into the world of mental wellness.
Is there a topic you want to see covered in this blog? Feel free to reach out at the email above to let her know!