You’ve likely heard about the benefits of mindfulness and maybe you’re even feeling curious enough to give it a try. But, if you’re like me, finding the time and space feels like an insurmountable challenge. Not to mention the act of fully slowing down and sitting still can be super intimidating.
If this sounds familiar, I hear you. Professionally, as a Sanvello coach and mindfulness facilitator, my clients often share their struggles of starting or sticking to a regular practice. Personally, I’m a full-time working mom who often feels as though I’m running low on both time and energy. Interestingly enough, that’s exactly why I have established a regular meditation practice. It sustains me and has changed my relationship with myself and those around me.
Whether you’re struggling to stick with a meditation practice, get started, or questioning if it’s something you can do, here are a few simple tips to incorporate mindfulness into your busy day:
- Mindful walking: Find a place you walk to often (this could be the bathroom, the kitchen, or somewhere outside) and make this your regular mindful walk. Bring a gentle attention to your body, noting the sensations of the feet making contact with the ground and try to build this as a habit into your existing routine.
- Purposeful pause: Find a time in your day to pause as you transition from one activity to the next. Maybe you take a moment to stop before you drive, send an email, wake up your child, etc. Connect with the breath, notice any physical sensations, thoughts, emotions, or images that are present. Try leaving Post-Its around that just say, “take a pause,” and try it every time you notice the notes.
- Get in some green: Take a moment in your day to look outside and/or go outside and be in nature. Spending time outside calms the nervous system and looking at an open sky can also help open the mind, especially when it’s stuck. Connect to the sights, sounds, smells, the feeling of fresh air in your lungs, and notice the temperature of the air on your skin.
- Show up for others: Know someone who is struggling? Send them a text, pick up the phone, or write a letter to say that you’re thinking about them. Not only will this foster a sense of connection, but it will help you to momentarily step back from your own worries.
- Practice gratitude: Try to find one new thing that you are grateful for each day. This will train your brain to pay attention to things that bring you joy, which can counter the brain’s tendency to look for danger and things to worry about. Better yet, add that “one new thing” to your Hope Board in Sanvello — that way when you’re feeling low, you can revisit the things that lift you up.
- Offer yourself a gentle touch: The next time you are experiencing painful emotions, take a moment to either place your hand(s) over your heart, on your cheek, or hold one hand in the other and say to yourself something like “this is hard.” Experiment with wording that feels soothing for you. (Our own words can do a lot to help us through.)
- Connect with the breath: a go-to, brief meditation practice is to notice the feet on the floor, feel the physical sensations in the feet, connect with the breath, and then take a conscious breath in and out.
- Let it go: Practice creating more space in both your physical and internal environments. Find an item in your house that no longer serves you and donate, sell, or recycle it. Do the same for your internal environment. Find tension in your body or a negative belief that is no longing serving you and, to the extent you are able, practice releasing it.
- Find a mindfulness buddy or group: Find someone else who is interested in mindfulness to support one another in your practice. A group of co-workers and I are practicing bringing more compassion to our lives. We have a daily online chat to check in and support one another.
By cultivating a compassionate attention to my thoughts, feelings, and actions, I’m a more peaceful and balanced person. That being said, it doesn’t look perfect and it’s something that I have to relearn on a regular basis. And that’s why it’s called a practice — each moment offers us the opportunity to begin again.
Wherever you are in your journey, I wish you the best as you tend to your spirit, body, and mind. Remember to start small, utilizing your Sanvello tools and support system to help you along the way. And if you’re curious about more ways to add mindfulness to even the messiest lives, try the Becoming Mindful Journey.
By Lea Wilkinson, Sanvello Coach
Lea Wilkinson is a Sanvello coach and meditation teacher. She supports clients by helping them bring meaning to their lives. She enjoys spending time outdoors, being with loved ones, and her daily meditation practice.