We can’t all go on vacation at moment’s notice…. but we can find a few minutes to relax, center, and take care of ourselves, every single day. Explore these ideas for giving yourself a mini-mindfulness vacation just by paying attention, on purpose, to you and the world in which you live.
1) Greet the day with kindness. You just woke up and you’re lying in bed. Instead of racing ahead towards all things you should do, give yourself a moment to start the day some kindness. Say to yourself: “May I be happy and well. May you be happy and well. May all living things be happy and well.”
2) S-L-O-W D-O-W-N from time to time. Set aside a few minutes to be mindful with a warm drink, a few conscious breaths, or a long over-due conversation with a friend. However you pay attention on purpose, your deliberate awareness can help you slow things down, see the ways you act on autopilot, force of habit, or on impulse. Take a moment to pause, pay attention to what you are doing, and enjoy the gifts of being present.
3) Try a little 4/5 paced breathing… to calm the nervous system and help you reconnect to your own sense of power and control from within: Inhale slowly for four counts, 1-2-3-4; exhale slowly for five counts, 1-2-3-4-5. Repeat 10 times.
4) Take a mindful walk. When you savor the journey—even if it’s just a brief stroll—you escape autopilot-ness and feel more alive. Try this mindful walking exercise for daily self-care.
- As you begin, walk at a natural pace.
- Count your steps up to 10, and then start back at one again. If you’re in a small space, as you reach ten, pause, and with intention, choose a moment to turn around.
- With each step, pay attention to the lifting and falling of your foot. Notice the movement in your legs and the rest of your body.
- Your mind will wander, so without frustration, guide it back to the sensation of walking, over and over again.
5) Sit in stillness, anywhere. Set a timer for 5 minutes, this way you won't have to think about the time that passes, or when your mini-retreat will end.
- Sit in stillness. Begin to pay attention, on purpose, to the inhales and exhales of your breath. The moment you notice your thoughts take you away from noticing your breath (which happens to everyone, all the time), notice where they took you…. and come back to noticing your breath. Continue until the five minutes is up. That’s it! There’s just something wonderful about finding a little stillness in the middle of a hectic day.
Here’s hoping you find a few moments to enjoy being mindful this week.