What is mindful living? We hear the phrase every now and then, but what does it really mean for you? With our time being dictated by work, obligations, and the constant presence of social media, it's time to slow down and pay attention to what is important.
Being mindful is the opposite of being mindless. We are all guilty of scrolling through Instagram or Facebook for hours on end, doing too many things at once, and putting more "important" obligations ahead of what is necessary to keep us grounded. Instead of completing tasks or activities with something else looming over your head, make a commitment to be fully focused and immersed in the thing you are doing. Whether it's grabbing coffee with a friend, taking a walk around the block, or even doing the dishes, be committed to the moment. Do everything with the full attention and care that you would with an "important" project. You will feel much more accomplished and centered if you do.
I want to talk about social media for a second. Social media is a great tool to help us keep up with friends and share our lives and work. However, it can become incredibly invasive and a detriment if you don't put a limit on how much time you spend on it. I use social media for both work and sharing my personal artwork, so it is easy to become lost in the task of taking the cutest or most colorful photo. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, if you find yourself consistently worried about what you're sharing or what other people are sharing, or making your photos look like other people's photos, what have you really accomplished at the end of the day? There is a time and place for everything, but when you're working or spending quality time on yourself or others, put down the phone!
When you are mindful, you are automatically more in tune to what is important. What do you really need to do right now? Maybe it's sitting down and reading. Maybe it's taking a walk around the block and really enjoying the scenery without taking a picture. Maybe it's listening to music and really focusing on the lyrics. Taking time for yourself and what you enjoy is a big party of being happy. Allow your thoughts and feelings to come without judging yourself. Acknowledge them and move on.
Here are a few of my favorite activities to increase mindfulness:
Meditation & Yoga
Meditation and yoga go hand in hand. Focusing on your breathing is the best way to start. Don't beat yourself up for stray thoughts; just allow them to float through your head and return to your breath. Put away all electronics except for perhaps some music. I try to do yoga at least 4 times a week, even if I can only squeeze in 20 minutes a day. I feel focused and centered going throughout my day.
It's no secret we're obsessed with the adult coloring craze. Coloring puts you in a meditative state that allows you to really focus on what you're doing. Whether it's coloring at home with a nice candle and music, or grabbing some girlfriends and enjoying each other's company, this is a great activity to help you slow down and focus.
Shop our coloring books here and our art supplies and coloring tools here. Join us for our adult coloring party on Wednesday, March 9 at 7pm! Tickets are $5, and you can either purchase a coloring book and colored pencils during sign up, or bring your own! Ticket purchase includes entry in our raffle to win coloring supplies. BYO beer or wine, some girlfriends, and come color with us! Register here.
Learn New Skills
When you're learning, your mind has to totally focus on the subject at hand to retain information. Try your hand at knitting, drawing, learning a new language, trying a new recipe, taking a dance class, etc. The possibilities are endless!
Join us for a class at One Strange Bird and learn a new hobby! View our classes and sign up online here.
It's very hard to focus on anything else when you're immersed in a great book. Go to your local bookstore and grab a paper copy of a book you've had on your list for ages. I love and adore fiction books and will ignore all the stuff on the computer or TV if I have a Neil Gaiman book in hand. Find a book that makes you think, laugh, or is just plain entertaining! Enjoy it!
Go forward with peace, light, and joy!