4 Wild Ways to Add Mindfulness to Your Life
Did you celebrate National Garden Meditation Day last weekend? This lovely holiday is a day to relax and meditate in nature, but we so rarely make the time for luxuries like resting in our busy go-go-go world. This blog post outlines four habits you can add to your life for a more restful and meditative approach to your self-care, with or without a garden. You can pick and choose your favorites or try to build one each week for a four week jump start to taking care of yourself!
Each day, write something. It can be a bullet list of things you’re grateful for, a poem, a list of what you did that day, or a grocery list for the weekend. But write something down in your journal. If you’re interested in bullet journaling, check out our bullet journal spreads for plant lovers and add some drawings and self-care checklists to your journal to keep you on track.
Rather than struggling to remember your to-do list, keeping a daily, weekly, or monthly list of tasks you want to accomplish can be extremely helpful in reducing stress and improving mindfulness. Make journaling part of your daily routine, whether you do it in the morning when you get up, before you go to bed at night, before or after dinner, or on your lunch break. One must-have tip, though: write it down on paper, not on your phone. Something about the physical act of writing helps unplug and unwind your mind in a way that an app just can’t.
Meditating is both the easiest and the hardest thing to do. You can listen to guided meditations using an app like Insight Timer or on YouTube to fit your schedule and the level of guidance you need. Some people enjoy occasional prompts to return to the awareness of their breath, while others like an ongoing track to guide their thoughts.
If you’re on the go, mindful breathing exercises can help calm your mind and bring you back into the present moment when you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious, without needing to go find privacy for the five minutes it takes to listen to a meditation track.
Try this: Spread the fingers of one hand out, and use your index finger on the other hand to slowly trace the outline of your thumb. Breathe in as you move up the outside of your thumb, and breathe down as you move down the other side, toward your pointer finger. Continue with each finger. By the time you finish tracing your pinky, you should have taken five nice deep breaths and found a calmer state of mind. Best of all, you can do this whenever and wherever you need to.
Allowing your creative mind to have some unstructured time is a surefire way to help yourself relax and feel more content. We are not made to just go to work all day and be productive 24 hours a day! Make sure to schedule time, on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, to do things that engage your creativity.
Your creative pursuits don’t have to be visually artistic; you can write, dance, play, build a blanket fort, or spend time in a creation-based video game world - if that’s what tickles your fancy. We encourage creativity IRL over virtually, but anything that allows you to relax and get out of productivity-or-bust mode is a good step in the right direction. Also, your creative time does not need to produce something art gallery worthy, prize-winning, or even seen by any other person. You get to just play with stuff that makes you happy.
It was Garden Meditation Day, after all, so we can’t let this list go by without a reminder to get your hands dirty! Playing in dirt helps boost your immune system and mood due to beneficial soil microbes, so it’s actually good for your health to go digging in the dirt. There’s still time to plant herbs and veggies for the summer, or plant an outdoor garden of pollinator friendly wildflowers to help nourish your local bee and butterfly populations.
Of course, spending time with your indoor plants is also a great way to interact with nature. If the weather is consistently warm where you are (at least 50 degrees F), take your plants outside for a fresh dose of sunshine to help them grow stronger. If they need repotting, schedule yourself a repotting day (use that handy journal to carve out some time!) and get all up in those beautiful roots. You know your plants best, however, so if they’ve been finicky about moving around in the past, keep them where they are happiest indoors and don’t move them around.
Go Forth and Self Care
Remember that plants can’t grow without light, healthy roots, and enough water -- and neither can you. Take care of yourself!