7 Mindful Habits Learned During Quarantine
1: Implement Morning and Sleep Routines
Pre-quarantine, my mornings definitely looked like Ana's as I struggled to pull myself out of bed. TBH, they still do! One thing that has really transformed the way that I start my day is implementing a morning routine where I focus on getting my mindset in the right place before tackling the day. I have noticed a huge difference in the days that I start with my routine, emphasizing taking care of my mind and body before checking my email, messages, social media, or reading the news. During the evenings I've also learned to implement a "sleep routine" which basically means cutting off screen time two hours before I go to bed. For me, my sleep routine is made up of a good book and a cup of tea to naturally fall asleep. The key here is to adjust your morning and sleep routines to your lifestyle and try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.
2: Meditate Shortly After Waking Up
I'm not sure how I lived for so long without making meditation a common occurrence but now that I've experienced the scientific-based benefits, there's no turning back! In such uncertain times, mindful practices such as meditation that keeps us in the now are more needed than ever. There are so many apps and gurus that are readily available to make meditation accessible. Personally I really like Deepak Chopra's free meditation challenges and the app Insight Timer which is also free ;)! Meditation, whether it be two or ten minutes has become an essential part of my morning routine, and has really helped ease my feelings of anxiety, worry, and stress during this uncertain time.
3: Change my Inner Voice by Embracing Positive Affirmations
Pre COVID-19, affirmations were something I didn't understand, and to be honest, thought were kind of woo-woo.
Affirmations are positive affirmative statements that usually start with the words "I Am". This can be a really powerful practice if done consistently as a way to train the subconscious mind to gravitate towards positive instead of negative thoughts. I loved this 21-day challenge and highly recommend giving it a try, even if just for a short period of time! If you're anything like me, you might feel uncomfortable at first and that's a-okay. Give it some time and notice the shift in the way you think about yourself.
4: Set Daily Intentions
Similar to meditation and affirmations, setting intentions were also something that I wrote off as woo-woo pre-COVID-19. Back in May, I decided to give setting intentions a try and was pleasantly surprised at how I was able to set up positive energy for the rest of my day. If you want to be like this cute kitten and paw away negative thinking holding you back, give intention setting a try for at least a week to see how it goes. It does wonders!
5: Implement Productivity Systems
As I've been working from home, I've had to find new ways to be productive in a different work setting. A few months ago I google-searched productivity systems to figure out how to implement a system that would work best for me. If you're new to productivity systems, don't worry I've got you covered! Personally I've found that the Pomodoro method, where you break your day up into time chunks followed by a short break, works best for me. Another helpful tidbit that I learned was the difference between directed and scattered focus among other helpful advice, which explained why I was having trouble getting things done.
6: Organize & Declutter Space
Oh, how 16-year old Mary Martha has changed! Gone are the days where I used to do anything and everything before organizing. Marie Kondo was on to something truly transformative with her philosophy of if it doesn't bring you joy, get rid of it. I've found that keeping a tidy home has made it easier for me to focus, get things done, and enjoy the space I'm in. There's actually a lot of psychology behind clean, organized spaces so it's definitely worth some time!
7: Confront Anxiety, Stress & Worry ASAP
I can easily convert into this version of Leslie Knope, aka saying I'm doing great and everything is fine but all the other body and voice signals disagree. One positive aspect of being at home for the past five months is that it's been difficult to fake that everything is fine when it's not as I live with my boyfriend. This has in turn forced me to open up more often about anxiety, stress, and worry early on instead of letting it linger. We are living in a chaotic, uncertain moment in history so there's no shame in feeling anxious, stressed, and a bit worried about the future sometimes. So the next time someone asks you how you're doing, it's perfectly acceptable to expand more about what's going on under the surface instead of just saying you're fine when you're not.