Mundane tasks like dishes can be a time to be present.
I need to listen to what I’m about to say more than most. But as 2016 approaches, and we start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions, I’m trying to come up with little changes I can make that serve the purpose of meditation (help me chill out), but don’t require me to sit and be still for more than 30-seconds. Because every New Year I fail at that.
- Stop at Yellow Lights
I’ve always lived by the moto: red means stop, green means go, yellow means go faster. I also have a tendency for road rage. Driving calmer and trying to get less frustrated has helped me hate driving a little less. This is actual the idea of one of my clients who used to work with patients post heart-attacks. It was one of her tricks to help them de-stress.
- Pick the Longer Line
This idea was from the same client, and I love it. So much of life is a mind game. If you pick the longer line at a store, it doesn’t seem as bad because it’s your decision to be there. Once there it’s time to use as you choose. You can do some calf raises, torso twists, Kegels, check Facebook, scroll through Etsy or just stop and take a few deep breaths, reminding yourself that “you are in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.” A yoga teacher I had used to say that, and I’ve always thought it was a good reminder.
- Be Present During Mundane Tasks
As a terrible meditator, I’m always looking for a way out. I once read in one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books that if you are low on time just be present during mundane tasks. Recognize that doing the dishes or laundry is important and needs to get done. And be there, knowing you are accomplishing something without worry of what is next or what else needs to get done. I still struggle with this one because, come on, who really loves dishes? But I’ve met people who do. They must have a better mindset.
- Take A Bath
Sometimes I’m amused at how much better I knew myself when I was younger. Or maybe I just had more self-discipline. Once upon a time I made myself take a bath once a week because I knew it guaranteed me about 30-minutes or more of serenity. I’ve fallen out of the habit and am trying to get back in. I love that time with myself.
- Take Five Deep Breaths Before Each Meal
This takes 30-seconds and yet it is hard to remember to do and feels like an eternity. But part of me thinks that is all the more reason I need it. You can do it before snacks to, but I can barely remember to do it before meals. This is a particularly good tool if you often inhale your food. And a few deep breaths throughout the day is always beneficial.
Have more ideas on how to add calm during your daily routine? Please share.