Jon Kabat Zinn, one of the biggest influencers in introducing mindfulness to the West defines it as:
“Paying attention; On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
We all know how important it is to take care of ourselves and it’s only natural that we plan things around the summers to give ourselves a break from the routine. However, we often end up over-pressurizing ourselves with the planning and are left exhausted while trying to squeeze everything in. Remember that summer holidays are you let yourself lose rather than ‘planning’ things our way and one way in which you could de-stress is to be mindful.
Here are our top 5 ways to have a mindful summer.
1. Start your Day with a Daily Affirmation:
Start your day with encouraging and uplifting words. Practice kindness and positivity by being grateful today. Tell yourself how blessed you are and count your blessings while closing your eyes and visualizing how you want your day to go. Doing this makes the affirmation more real and helps you to feel relaxed and calm even when you may have a big work presentation or need to address a conflict with someone.
Studies have shown that keeping a gratitude journal is therapeutic. Transforming many peoples’ lives, writing shifts your thoughts and brings clarity.
2. Unlearn with Yourself
Unlearning something we’ve been taught since childhood is undoubtedly one of the hardest things to do. We live in a world where everything is on the move: We work more than ever, are involved in more social activities than ever, etc.
Finding a short period of time each day where you unplug and clear your mind and relax can be extremely beneficial. One way to do this is through meditation. While meditation may be different for everyone, but if you clear your head, and focus on things like deep breathing, you’ll be able to benefit from it. Deep breathing techniques have been known to help with a wide variety of different health issues but reducing stress levels is high on the list.
3. Make a Summer Bucket List
Make a list of things you want to do this summer. It doesn’t have to be something big and noticeable to the world rather just the little things like signing up for a class, activity that you’ve always been keen on going for, finishing off that book you started, or even taking a day trip to the beach. The sense of accomplishment that you will feel after its completion will be unmatched!
4. Watch a Sunrise
So, you’ve woken up one more day and it’s just a usual morning, “Big Deal,” you say. However, waking up is a gift. Being grateful just to be alive shifts your perspective enough for you to stop taking your life, partner, children, friends for granted. Each day is a beautiful gift. Be grateful. Thank the sun for rising on this gorgeous day. It’s unadulterated joy!
5. Connect with Nature
Get outside and feel the sun on your skin or the wind in your hair. Walking bare feet on the grass has proven to reduce the stress levels, eliminate negativity and provide an aid in sleeping. What’s more, it also improves your eyesight! There are so many ways to connect with nature but getting outside always does the trick!
Release & Practice Compassion:
Listen out for the moments when judgement rears its head and remind yourself that it’s simply a thought; not a fact. Learn not to act on the thoughts but just recognize them as ‘judgements’, acknowledge them and let them pass by.
Take the time each day to be compassionate, including the wish for happiness and health, as well as sending these thoughts to both people who bring us joy as well as for people we find difficult to deal with. These daily thoughts remind us that we all deserve compassion and happiness.
However, if you choose to do more than just send compassionate thoughts, you can make that dent in the universe! Try to have compassionate actions by supporting friends who are sick or hurt, bringing flowers for neighbours, etc. By choosing compassion, we feel for others and for ourselves.
There are practically hundreds of ways to practice mindfulness and put self-care into practice daily. The best part is that most of them can be modified to fit your needs and time.
Ask yourself. Can you imagine if you could stop living on autopilot and start feeling more present in your day? You don’t need anything special to get started; there’s no classes or expensive equipment needed – it’s absolutely free!