Welcome to Monday folks! For today, all we’re going to do is focus on transitions. When I say transitions I mean long or short, like your commute to work, walking to your next meeting, grabbing lunch or refilling your water bottle. When you’re in a period of transition, try to just focus on the change in direction and movement in your brain and body. Normally we’re so caught up in our own thoughts (or cell phones) to pay attention to the process of change while moving from one activity to the next. By letting yourself focus on the transition, when you arrive at your next destination you may find that you’re a little more present and prepared!
We all have to do chores and they’re rarely fun. Unless you love washing dishes (secretly, I do) it can really be a chore to take on chores. Next time you’re getting ready to work some household chores, take a moment to really connect with the chore. If you’re washing dishes, enjoy the feeling of the hot water and the circular motion and how it feels to rinse off the grime. If you’re sweeping the floors take your time to feel how your body takes one each movement. Folding the laundry? Take in the scent and focus on how each fold makes that shirt into the perfect size for your drawer. Whatever the chore is, enjoy the details of the chore. Who knows, you may discover you adore cleaning the bathroom!
Happy Monday! For this mindful Monday, we’re going to focus on tomorrow morning instead of today. Tomorrow, set a second alarm (just in case) and when you wake up, keep your eyes closed. Instead of reaching for that shiny light box of a phone you have acting as your alarm clock and checking instagram, hit “off”, and let it be a slow wake up. Take in the smells, the sounds, the feeling of your sheets. Wiggle your toes and fingers and try out some long stretches while happily under the covers. Take your time and relish in the morning hours before the busyness of your day begins.
Out of clutter, find simplicity.
― Albert Einstein
Monday is the day that we can dread, or, a day that can energize us and start the week off right. One thing that could really set things off on the right foot is taking the time to slow down and make dinner. The process of finding a recipe online, from your mother, or reusing an oldie but goodie, purchasing the ingredients, methodically chopping, sautéing, stirring, roasting then plating can be therapeutic in its details. By really giving into the process and staying present during each step, you may find the food tasting better than grabbing takeout on your way home from work. It can take a little bit longer, but there’s something about sitting down to a meal you prepared for yourself. For some reason it tastes better!
Oh hello Monday, how are you today? If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your laundry list of things you should be doing, here’s a fun trick that can help you feel accomplished in the short-term while gearing up for that long-term visioning you’ve been up. Are you ready? Create a goal. Make it simple, and easy to attain. It could be as simple as “I’d like to cook dinner twice this week” or, “I’ll only watch two hours of television this week.” It can be anything, just make it something that 1) could have a positive impact on your week and 2) won’t put a big damper on everything else you have for the week. At the end of the week (or month, however you set it up), reward yourself with a gold star (or ice cream cone) to acknowledge a win!
That’s it! A simple goal that can be accomplished, well, it can feel really great to complete it. Even if it’s as straightforward as doing your laundry.
Waiting isn’t fun. While standing in that line for your salad at the nearby lunch spot, use it as a time to check in with yourself. Don’t pull out your phone to snapchat, instead, take this moment to listen to your surroundings, drink in the environment and watch your breath. Stay really present, and you may be surprised how quickly the line seems to move!
Work is something we all have on our plates, and with 24/7 access via mobile phones and email, it can feel like you spent an entire day (and night) accomplishing very little. Sometimes you may only be able to assess your output by the number of emails you sent or the number of meetings you attended. So when you feel that you’ve just been working a lot, but can’t quite say what you accomplished – productivity is key. Read on for 4 lifehacks that will up your productivity (and lower your working hours).
- Map your work – I know, it’s not a sexy one, but it’s important to plan ahead. By looking at the day you have in front of you, or the week, month, quarter you’re giving your brain an understanding of what’s on the docket. This will let you make sure you’re aligned with your current personal or project goals consistently so you can stay focused.
- Schedule your time – Organizing your time allows for real work to get done. Rather than having free hours in your day, block out time for the tasks you’d like to complete during those times. Test out different periods of time that work for you – for some you may only be able to focus for 10 minutes at a time, others, 45 minutes. When you start a task session, fully commit for those 10-45 minutes. You’ll start to sense a balance as to how long you can really pay attention to one task. Leave gaps between task sessions to handle items that require less focused attention.
- Prioritize to-dos – This is similar to planning ahead, but a little more granular. Not only is it important to have a broad picture of your personal and professional goals, but your daily to-do list should be prioritized by what is critical and what is important. Obviously, everything on your to-do list is important, but some items truly cannot wait past today. Distinguishing between the two will allow you to focus on what matters most today.
- Break out – As much as focus is important, so is lack of focus. Give yourself time before, during and after the work day to truly unwind. That may be a few minutes of looking at puppies, taking up a quick meditation or shutting off your phone after work hours so you can really step away from the office and rejuvenate.
Hope these help you get more done, faster, so you can have more time for fun things!
A nice way to stay present and mindful in your day is to actively listen to someone who’s talking to you. Sounds simple right? But in fact, it’s really hard to truly listen to someone speaking. Most of us multi-task and think about other things, or even what we’d like to stay next without really listening to what someone’s saying. Make an effort today to really listen to whoever’s talking to you. If you feel yourself drifting off in thought, don’t get mad at yourself, just give yourself a nudge to come back to the conversation. You’d be shocked how nice it is to really listen. Plus, your friend will appreciate it!
After all that burnout talk, we’re switching gears a bit to talk about happiness. Happiness can feel like an incredibly elusive goal and the journey to “get” more happiness in our lives can seem pretty absurd. It’s not even quite clear how you can “get” happiness. With science to the rescue though, there are some science-supported tips on how you can be happier. So read on, get happy, share happy!
- Practice (Body) Self-Care: Eat well, exercise, and get some sleep. By taking care of your body, you’re automatically setting yourself up for an rush of happy endorphins.
- Practice (Mind) Self-Care: Meditate, meditate and maybe practice some more meditation. All the science out there on wellbeing and happiness gives a quick nod to meditation.
- Be Grateful: Focusing on what makes you grateful each day, and telling people just how much they mean to you can give you a bright boost of good vibes. Try writing down at the end of the day what makes your grateful, or even what brought you joy today. Writing down and reminding yourself of joyful, grateful and positive things can massage your brain in a nice way.
- Spend Quality Time with Others: Making an effort to see friends, family and cultural events can make you happier. Get on out there and see a movie, play or have a cup of coffee with a friend. If you really want to supercharge it, the next time you want to buy yourself something, instead, try buying a gift for someone else or spending that money on an experience you can share with someone.
- Volunteer: Giving yourself up to a cause and focusing on helping others can make you feel happier. If you’re looking for ideas to get started on volunteering, check out: VolunteerMatch.org, Idealist.org, allforgood.org and createthegood.org
- Focus on Hope: By setting specific goals, thinking about the future and planning for it you can increase your happiness. Giving more energy to hopeful activities in the future can deliver an optimistic view. Maybe set some straightforward goals (how about working out regularly from step 1?!) or start planning a trip. Putting energy in the good things to come can reduce stress and get you pumped about what’s next.
- Get Outside: Boy oh boy the good that nature can do. Going for a quick walk, hike, camping, eating lunch outside, exploring a new neighborhood, anything outside will have a positive effect. Even a daily stroll around the block or deciding to take that cup of coffee to go sit on a park bench can do wonders.
And don’t forget: we all get happier as we age, so there’s simply more good stuff to come!
What works for you to get a fun happy boost?