Fall can be a very polarizing time of year. For some, it’s a favorite season characterized by beautifully colored leaves and pumpkin spice flavoring. For others, though, it’s a time of great stress and angst. Fall brings with it the back to school rush, shorter and shorter days, and rapidly dropping temperatures. It can be easy to slip into a funk as fall rolls in. It’s not surprising that the shorter days and more hectic schedules of this season may overwhelm you. To start the season on a more productive path, here are a few simple ways to bring mindfulness into your daily life. Keeping mind and body balanced will help you find center and peace in what is often a chaotic time.
We have all come to rely on our digital devices. We read the news on our tablets, check our phones constantly, watch television while cooking dinner, and so on. As a challenge to yourself, keep track of how often you use your devices one day. You’ll be surprised how frequently you check your phone to look at email, text messages, social media, news updates, the list goes on and on. After you’ve tracked how often your digital space draws you in, take one day off. See if you can make it through an entire day (or pick a morning or evening if you can’t do a whole day) where your phone is turned off and hidden away. Read a book. Go for a walk. Take time to appreciate all the little details around you that we often take for granted and miss out on while engaged in the digital world.
Take a “Mindful Minute”
Mindful Minutes can be incredibly effective in times of stress. You can introduce short ‘meditation minutes’ throughout your day whenever you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or chaotic. All you need is a clock or timer. Set the time for one minute, during which you focus all your attention on your breathing and nothing else.
You can do so eyes open or closed; try both and see which works best for you. If you find yourself losing track of your breathing or focusing on other thoughts, try to let go of the other thoughts and gently bring attention back to the rhythm of your breathing. Don’t be discouraged if this happens; bring your attention back as many times as you need to.
These brief exercises can help you calm yourself and enable you to return to the task at hand with new balance and clarity.
Try Not to Multi-Task
As a society, we tend to pride ourselves on our ability to multi-task. We juggle countless tasks and struggle to keep them all straight. But is this really the best way? When you toggle between multiple projects all at the same time, none of them receives adequate focus. You undoubtedly find yourself feeling overwhelmed and focusing on how much needs to be done rather than what you are doing at any given moment.
So break the multi-task habit! Rather than giving multiple things a portion of your attention for a long time, give each item your full attention. You’ll be amazed at how much you accomplish in the same time-frame, with considerably less stress.
Schedule Time for Nothing
In the midst of crazy schedules it can be easy to forget to take a break from everything. Even when we are “relaxing,” we often find ourselves occupied with many different things—watching TV, checking our phones, answering emails, and so on. Try to carve out time where you do…nothing. Just sit and enjoy a beautiful day. Enjoy a quiet moment at night. Take time to find center in nothing. Stillness and quiet can provide you with great perspective and rejuvenation.
These are just a few easy ways to allow mindfulness into your daily life. You can take a “mindful minute” while exercising—focusing in on your breathing as you run on the treadmill or elliptical. Consider taking one of our yoga classes to learn more about how meditation and breathing can bring you center. Don’t let the autumn blues bring you down; instead savor the new season and all it may bring.