The leaves are on the trees, the sun is shining and the kids are barely back to school. Yet, the agony of winter looms large. Anyone who lives in a four season climate knows all too well the constant chatter surrounding the weather, especially winter. But I have an idea: How about we enjoy the rest of summer and fall first?
There is something to be said about being in the present instead of constantly worrying about the future. A present mindset can help ease anxiety and keep us more focused. “Ordinary thoughts course through our mind like a deafening waterfall,” writes Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, a biomedical scientist who introduced meditation into mainstream medicine. He says we need to “rest in stillness—to stop doing and focus on just being.”
Of course this can be difficult to manage when we are surrounded by the future. The stores are already stocking the shelves with Christmas décor and your family can’t stop talking about how much snow to expect this year. But you can cut through the noise with some of these helpful tips on mindfulness and being present.
1. Start each day with a relaxing ritual that you enjoy.
A cup of tea, a bike ride, yoga, or even 15 minutes of meditation can help focus your mind so you are ready to face the day. A great app to get started on simple meditation techniques is Headspace.
Just the simple of act of taking a few breaths can help ease fears and scattering thoughts by bringing you back to the present moment. Dr. Andrew Weil offers an easy breathing exercise that is helpful for calming both the mind and body.
3. Take a digital break.
We get so wrapped up in distracting ourselves with smartphones and television that we forget to listen to our bodies. This causes us to think of anything but the present state of things. When you have a little break in between tasks, instead of filling it with Facebook, try just sitting and observing your thoughts and how your body feels in the moment.
4. End your day in a peaceful way.
Playing on your phone or working until bedtime can make good sleep hard to come by. This can throw you off balance for the day ahead and make it difficult to keep stressful thoughts at bay. Take an Epsom salt bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil. Read a good book. Journal about your day. Anything to keep your mind calm and ready for a good night’s sleep.
While it is good practice to dream and look down the road of the future, it is also important to enjoy the present. Bring on the snow, I say. Until then, I’ll be busy taking breaks to sip my tea and watch the leaves change color.
If you would like to talk more about how to be present in both your career and your life, contact me.