As the world starts to emerge from a pandemic it could seem like life is becoming more and more hectic. It feels as if we overload ourselves with more and more tasks to do, more and more things we have to accomplish.
Do you ever go to bed, listing the things in your head that you couldn’t finish or accomplish during the day?“Where did the day go?” Enough of these days and I can ask myself the same questions about weeks, months, or even years!
When these thoughts come up I try to do some simple exercises, I try to remind myself that I am living in the present, the here and now!
1. Whatever you are doing do it slower. If we work, we all have tasks to do there. Once a day, for five minutes of the day do these tasks a little bit slower. Don’t do the task in slow motion or take breaks, simply do whatever it is a little bit slower.
2. Notice what you are eating. Start by taking five minutes at lunch, but you can actually do this anytime you eat. Look at your food and really see what it looks like. Smell it, notice how it tastes, feels in your mouth, and notice the texture and colours. The expression “grabbing a bite to eat” can mean we aren’t taking the time to enjoy what we are eating, rather, we are shoveling it down in the quickest possible time so we can resume what we are doing. I can be guilty of this, working on my laptop, writing a blog whilst eating a sandwich but not actually taking any notice of what is going in my mouth.
3. Notice your breath. Sit in a place of your choice: behind your desk, or anywhere. Close your eyes. For three minutes, simply pay attention to your breath. For these three minutes, your breath gets your undivided attention. If you notice yourself thinking about something (even the thought, “Why am I doing this stupid exercise?”) just acknowledge that thought and then gently bring your attention back to your breath.
4. Wash the dishes. Maybe you put your dishes in a dishwasher and that’s fine . As you begin to wash the dishes, notice their texture and the warmth of the water on your hands. Inhale and notice if there is any scent. Listen to hear the rush of the water or any other sounds that are happening around you. Not only will you be able to practice being in the moment, but you will feel you have achieved something.
5. Take a bath or a shower. A bath is preferable if you have one, but even in a shower, you can take a moment to feel the warmth of the water or how your body is immersed. How does your skin feel? Do you notice any smells? Is your hair wet? Just be in the moment and notice all your senses. Breathe.
6. Smell a flower for an extra moment. How many times have you passed by flowers and not actually smelt them? Breathe the scent in deeply, then take an even deeper breath and you may be surprised by how much more of the scent you can actually smell.
8. Be silly! I’m serious! Being silly allows your creative juices to flow, and creativity is what life is all about. Letting yourself be silly can also be very relaxing and create joyful meaningful situations.
9. Write a note to someone. It doesn’t have to be an essay. Just a few lines, maybe telling your partner how much you love them, tell someone you miss them or how important they are to you. Just a message that will put a smile on that person's face and remind them why they are so lucky to have you in their lives!
10. Remember the fact that you are here is pretty amazing! As humans, we sometimes forget how much of a miracle we really are.