5 Tips for Staying Mindful, Grounded and Healthy
March 19, 2020
Being mindful and present is key to living a healthy life, but let’s face it, daily obligations and keeping up with kids, work and home schedules can make it hard to live in the moment during most of the year. Add in stress caused by the uncertainty of the times, extra family togetherness that closed schools, mandatory distance learning and remote working for parents brings and it might seem near impossible!
We practice mindfulness as part of every session in our Evolve Yoga practice at Chelsea Piers. Our Director of Evolve Yoga, Kathy Salvo, assures us you can bring this same practice into your life, even during the most unusual circumstances, by starting small.
Below you will find Kathy’s 5 Tips for Staying Mindful, Grounded and Healthy:
1. Start the day reflecting on one thing you are thankful for.
I tell my students, try to incorporate what you love most about your vacations into every day! My personal everyday must is a quiet, tech free 3-5 minutes with my morning coffee. I reflect on one thing I am thankful for. The past week it has been my family and our good health. Try it out yourself and see how it sets a positive tone for the day.
As you go about your day, be mindful of when your mood changes. Pause to focus on your morning meditation and what you are thankful for. Ground yourself in positivity and see the rest of your day unfold like a vacation day.
2. Remove at least two things from your "to do list" so you can make time for yourself.
Most of us have too much to do in each day and feel like we can’t let any balls drop. To stay healthy, it is important to create time for yourself each day. It is amazing what taking off 2 items from your to do list can do for you. How to do it? Review the list and decide if something is critical or a nice to have. If you still have too much, ask for help from a spouse or your kids!
Once you have the extra time, find something that you can do that calms you, brings you joy or is good for your health. When faced with extra stress, exercise can be the first thing we drop. I recommend my clients prioritize exercise. Not only does it help clear your mind and reduce stress, it can help give you more energy, sleep better and burn extra calories which allows you to enjoy family snacks guilt-free. A quick run, a walk around the block or an impromptu dance party in your living room all count.
3. Disconnect from technology and connect with your senses (and your family!)
Focusing on your senses is a wonderful exercise for being present in your own body which can be very calming and soothing. It can be a great family activity too! Leaving devices (and the news) to the side is crucial to being in touch with your senses.
- Sight: Go for a nature walk and take in the beauty or simply take the time to look at the clouds. If you have kids, you can make it into a game of finding shapes or objects in the clouds. Even a game of bubbles with little ones can have the same effect.
- Smell: There is a reason for the saying "Take time to smell the Roses." Smell can have a soothing effect or connect you to special moments which sparks joy. Smell is very personal. I like to bake a family favorite recipe and let the smell take over the house or light a candle with a scent that remind me of my childhood and family vacations on the beach in Hawaii.
- Taste: Can have the same effect as smell. Coffee & Wine are my favorites, but choose something that works for you. Take a moment to really savor the flavor of what you are tasting. You will find that if you focus on the food, you will discover new flavors.
- Touch: Take time to hug your loved ones or snuggle with your kids under a cozy blanket. Connect with the warmth of the other person and the joy and love you feel for them.
- Hearing: Hearing laughter is my favorite thing, so I try to make someone laugh each day. Taking time to laugh as a family can be the best stress releaser.
4. Be Mindful of all that you’re putting on your plate (literally)
During times of stress, healthy eating can be the first to go. The extra calories are only part of the concern. Binge eating often leads to negative thoughts, “I am terrible”, “I am fat,” “Why do I have no will power?” These can all spiral into continued self-defeating behavior.
How to indulge a bit without overdoing it? I suggest my clients practice mindful eating at all meals:
- When you are going to eat make sure it is because you are hungry and not stressed or distracted.
- Focus on the moment and eating. Don't eat at your desk or while doing another activity.
- Savor every bit of food. Take extra time to chew and taste your food. It will allow your body time to register when you are full.
5. Give yourself a break from “perfect”
Much of the stress we experience comes from the expectations we put on ourselves to deliver perfection for our families. During times like these, you need to give yourself a break, period. The landscape is changing daily and getting hung up on delivering perfection while managing kids' e-learning while also working full time from home is not only impossible, it will certainly sets you up for disappointment.
Take time to reflect on what is most important- family. Be mindful to create and enjoy experiences with your kids. Years from now they will remember playing soccer in the back yard with you during recess or having an impromptu dance party more than they will remember if dinner was on time and the house looked perfect.
For more information on mindfulness and to learn more about Evolve Yoga, Pilates and Barre at Chelsea Piers, please visit chelseapiersCT.com/evolve