There’s something about this time of year that makes me want to stop and smell the roses (or coffee) — a.k.a., slow down and better appreciate the little things in life.
As the trend around minimalism continues to grow, I think it’s important to remember that it’s not only about decluttering and getting rid of excess stuff. A minimalist lifestyle calls for a shift in mindset as well; learning how to become aware of what you have, where you are, what you’re doing, right now.
Every day presents a chance to practice mindfulness. And it doesn’t have to include sitting cross-legged, eyes closed, listening to your breath for 20 minutes (unless meditation is your jam, then you do you).
But for the people like myself who haven’t quite mastered the art of daily meditation, I’m sharing a few things that have been helping me be more present this season. Hopefully they inspire you, too.
Watch The Sunrise
I have a love/hate relationship with the fact that the days are getting shorter. On one hand, it makes it really difficult to get out of bed when it’s still dark outside. On the other hand, waking up before the sun means I can actually catch it coming up every morning.
Pour yourself a big cup of coffee and enjoy those few moments before the rest of the world wakes up. Let me tell you — it’s good for the soul.
Create a Gratitude Journal
Thanksgiving has come and gone here in Canada, but we don’t need a special holiday to give thanks. Jotting down a few things you’re grateful for each day is a great way to be mindful of some of the things you might normally overlook. Little things like a compliment you received that day, or a perfectly ripe avocado, or that feeling you get when you find $5 in your old winter jacket.
There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.
Do a Social Media Detox
Sometimes, it’s too easy to lose ourselves in feeds of pretty pictures from people we don’t know. Stepping away from social media for a period of time is a great way to re-centre yourself without the influence of others. It’s a good idea to make sure you’re not setting unrealistic expectations for yourself by playing the comparison game too hard. If you find yourself feeling down or uninspired when you’re surfing your social media feeds, it’s probably a good time to take a break.
Start with a half day, and then move up to a full 24 hours. Eventually, try detoxing for a few days in a row; take as much time as you need to feel inspired by your own life before swooning over anyone else’s. When you return, be mindful about who you’re following and how their posts influence you.
If you don’t think you’re ready for a full detox, maybe a little digital declutter is more your thing.
Take a Hike
Fall is the best time of year to explore, when it’s not too hot and the air is refreshingly clear. Just like the Christmas tradition of walking around looking at pretty lights, Fall is the time to get out and enjoy Mother Nature’s changing colours. A golden hour hike always reminds me to take a breath, pay attention to my surroundings, and appreciate this magical place we live in.
There is nothing that makes me feel more here than a good, long stretch. I like to practice with Yoga with Adriene first thing in the morning, when the apartment is quiet and my mind is clear. I consider yoga a form of meditation but in a way that keeps my mind focused on the pose, without wandering to infinity.
What are some ways you practice mindfulness in your daily life? Let me know if you try these ideas!