It’s likely that 2020 has changed the way you think about many things in your life. From who you want to spend your time with, to ways you want to improve your health and mental health too.
Although the vast majority of us will be pleased to bid 2020 farewell, it’s likely that some of the same annoyances will carry over into early 2021 and maybe beyond. The difference is that this year you could be armed with a few new ways to deal with things.
Here are a couple of simple ways you can try to be more conscious in your day-to-day life, which should ultimately help you deal with difficult situations a little more mindfully.
Starting your day in the best way
If you start the day in the best way possible, it’s likely to carry on that way.
Therefore, when you wake up, don’t reach straight for your phone and check your messages and emails. Instead, make it your goal try to write down your top 3 priorities for the day. It could be anything from work to family to fitness. Simply writing it down will give you a sense of purpose for the day and help you to focus on what’s really important for the day.
Then, follow this with some light exercise. Perhaps a morning yoga class on Zoom or a gentle jog outside. Next, prepare yourself a healthy breakfast of warm oats or granola or avocado on toast and a smoothie. Now you are ready to face whatever comes your way with a positive attitude and calm approach.
Take time to really listen
When you listen to other people, do you really listen, or do you find yourself drifting off into a daydream or taking a sneaky peek of your phone? Often, we are there in body, but not fully present in mind. But imagine how it feels personally if you are speaking to someone who is not really 100% listening to you when you are trying to talk to them. During times of crisis, we all need someone to listen to us, so, make this the year to try and give your full attention to others.
Next time you are talking to someone, whether it’s a friend, colleague or family member, don’t just let their words float through your ears, really listen. Try to give your full focus to hearing what they have to say. You will be amazed by how good it feels to simply listen and also how the person will appreciate your full attention.
Stop, breathe and process
When things happen that you don’t like the sound or feel of, it’s quite natural for your body to react in a negative way. If you don’t stay in control of your thoughts, you will find them spiralling out of control – causing adrenalin to kick in and your heart rate to increase.
If you can find immediate ways of processing bad news or difficult situations, then you have a better chance of handling things in a more positive way.
In the first instance, take a step back from what has just been said or done. Take three deep inhales and exhales. Then begin to process the situation you are in by answering three questions. What has just happened? How does this relate to me? How can I help the situation? By the time you have prepared yourself and rationalised the situation, you will be in a much better frame of mind to create a solution to the problem instead of spiralling out of control.
Think about the food you are consuming
You might have indulged this festive period, and that’s fine. But going forward try to think about the food you are consuming into your body and how you are consuming it. Plan your diet to contain plenty of whole grains, fruit and vegetables, as well as healthy proteins.
Also, think about ways to be more mindful about how you eat, rather than purely scoffing it in. Eating mindfully will help you to re-discover the beauty of food as well as aiding a healthy digestive system. Take time to notice the smells, the colours and the textures of your food as you eat. Slow everything down by at least 50% and really enjoy every individual mouthful. You will soon learn to love the act of eating much more.
End your day on a positive note
No matter what the challenges have been during your day, always try to get closure of the situation before you get into bed. This will give you a better chance of a good night’s sleep as well as preparing you to begin tomorrow in a more positive way.
Take the time each evening to reflect on the day you had and celebrate a couple of things that were good about the day – no matter how small they are. Also, really try and keep some bedroom etiquette in 2021. Keep your smartphone and tablet out of your bedroom. Read a few pages of your favourite book instead or try a meditation app or motivational podcast.
Here’s wishing you a positive, healthy and relaxed approach to 2021. Happy New Year!