When assessing my stress levels before jumping on the #Mindful30 program I realized that there was a time of day that stressed me out more than any other: mornings. I tend to start each day with a sense of urgency to get up, go and get it all done. In the process I end up being distracted, easily irritated (especially if something puts me behind schedule) and anxious, which when all combined ends up making me less productive in the long run. It’s a horrible way to wake up I’ve come to realize especially when mornings can be a good time to starting the day on a positive note. This next tip I have to say has really taught me a thing or two when it comes to wrangling my emotions and quieting the constant buzz that keeps us from living in the moment.
Tip #2: A great way to get started is during the morning shower – when you’re usually thinking about the day ahead of you. So for today, focus on the experience: the smell of the shampoo, the feeling of the water as it hits your shoulders and the touch of your fingers on your scalp. You’ll enjoy your shower more and take in an everyday moment, making it mindful.
The first day I attempted this I could not turn my thoughts off. With a vacation ahead of us I found it hard to not focus my attention on all the things that needed to get done. There was work I needed to wrap up, the packing list, stressing over waking up for that early morning flight and all the other variables like weather, what to wear and I hope the baby sleeps on the plane! I sped through my shower and got out as quickly as I could. The next attempt went a little differently. It was a colder morning so I tried focusing on how good the hot water felt. I watched the steam, took a few deep breaths and successfully shook that morning stream of thoughts preceding the hustle. For the rest of the day my overall mood seemed happier and I felt a little more ‘in control’ like I was owning the day. The following day I went so far as to sprinkle a little Eucalyptus essential oil in my shower before hopping in, which really turned it into a time to decompress.
Since incorporating this tip into my morning routine I’ve noticed my mood, mentality and positive approach to things improve and it only took a subtle shift in my focus and thoughts. One giant step for 2016.
Images by Arna Bee // This post was sponsored by Aetna, who believes health is about the body and the mind. Stress can affect emotional and physical health, and reducing stress can boost wellbeing. As part of their #Mindful30 challenge, the views and opinions expressed in my posts on the topic of mindfulness are my own, not Aetna’s. To learn more about mindfulness, visit aetnamindfulness.com.