A Meaningful Mindfulness Routine for Beginners
Are you ready to embrace a mindfulness routine which inspires you, cultivates calm and clarity, incorporates easily into your every-day life and helps you manage stress during difficult times?
Even if you’re a beginner to the world of mindfulness, this simple routine will help guide you to live more mindfully with ease. The practices I’ll be sharing with you are interesting, meaningful and fun, plus they won’t take up huge amounts of time!
Wake up: Breathing Technique
Set your alarm one minute early so you can practice a simple breathing technique when you wake up in the morning.
Rather than starting your day in a rush, already planning, or checking your phone, take this moment of mindfulness to set yourself up for a calm and clear day.
Here are a few breathing techniques I use regularly myself:
Hand on Heart Breathing
As you lay in bed, place both hands over your heart. As you inhale, feel your chest expanding and as you exhale, feel it deflate. With each breath, your hands will move softly up and down. Pay attention to this movement and bring your mind back if it wanders.
I came across this simple and powerful technique when I was volunteering on the Helpline at the Anxiety Recovery Centre for Victoria.
Inhale for the count of three, hold for the count of three and exhale for the count of three. Not only does this help regulate your breathing (a great way to manage stress!), but the counting keeps your mind firmly focused on the moment.
9am: Mindful drink
I like to enjoy a coffee in the morning, however, you can substitute coffee with whichever drink you prefer. Lemon infused water, herbal tea, a smoothie or whatever else you might like.
As you pick up your drink, pay attention to what it looks like. Notice the colour, the texture and the patterns of the mug or glass it is contained in.
What does it smell like?
As you take a sip, let the liquid sit in your mouth for a moment and appreciate the flavour.
Perhaps you only have time for one mindful sip, or perhaps you can experience your whole drink in this way.
For a quick, mindful break, give your body a gentle stretch. You might like to roll your shoulders and neck a few times, reach down towards your toes, point and flex your toes, or take some time to practice yoga (if you can!).
Be aware of the gentle movements; perhaps you can feel tension dissipating, or your muscles lengthening.
11am: Connect with nature
Especially after a long and stressful day, it can be incredibly grounding to connect with nature. Make this mindfulness practice a part of your daily routine and it’s one you will likely look forward to and appreciate more and more.
Perhaps, you can take off your shoes and feel the sand (or grass) beneath your feet. Can you sit somewhere and feel the sunshine on your skin? Maybe you’re still at work and you can take a few moments to look out the window at blue sky (or pouring rain). Is there a pet you can cuddle and play with? A plant in your garden you can tend to? Sometimes, I like to buy a beautiful bunch of flowers to keep in my home, so I can look at them and appreciate their beauty.
Let go of any other thoughts and focus on the nature you’ve found in this moment.
1pm: Notice your senses
I often like to check in with my senses to explore the world around me. A simple (and fun!) way to do this, is to play a little senses game.
What are five things you can see?
Five things you can hear?
And five things you can feel?
For example, I can see the colour blue, the green light on my computer, a ring on my finger, my dog’s fluffy fur and a bobby pin on my desk. I can hear my dog chewing his stick, a couple of birds outside, the soft whirring of the air conditioner, the odd car driving past and a deep breath I just took. I can feel the soft cushion I’m sitting on, the material of my t-shirt, the warmth of the computer under my hands, the hard ground under my feet and my hair on my neck.
2pm: Eat mindfully
Follow the same instructions of drinking mindfully- notice the colours, textures, flavours and temperature of your food. Let yourself explore and experiment with this practice- you don’t need to eat every bite mindfully! Just do what feels most right for you.
To read about one of my mindful eating experiences and discover some interesting tips, check out this post about mindful eating.
4pm: Acknowledge a feeling
Sometimes, we don’t give ourselves many opportunities to just let ourselves acknowledge how we feel. Without judging any particular emotion as good or bad, explore how you’re feeling right now.
Adventurous? Creative? Sad? Excited? Frustrated? Bored? Content? Jealous? Happy? Purposeful? Angry? Lonely?
Remind yourself that it’s all ok- feelings come and go and change regularly. You’re allowed to feel however you feel!
7pm: Wash the dishes
Focus on the different sensations which arise as you wash the dishes. The warmth of the water, the texture of the dishes and the foamy bubbles. Notice the movements of your hands and the simple task of making your dishes look clean again!
We can be so easily distracted when we’re completing simple tasks, however these are wonderful opportunities to practice being mindful. Other simple tasks might be brushing your teeth, unpacking the groceries, ironing, making the bed, showering, vacuuming, washing windows and hanging out the washing.
8pm: Mindful hug
Give someone you care about (a person, a pet, or yourself!) a big hug and let yourself sink into this moment. Let go of any other thoughts and simply be present with your loved one. Notice if this hugs makes you feel safe, secure, loved, or content.
Write down 5 things you’re grateful for in this moment. You can practice being grateful for your possessions, things you’ve learned, your health, the emotions you’re feeling, people in your life, opportunities in front of you, your environment, and so much more. The more we practice being grateful, often the easier it becomes!
10pm: Body scan
Scan your attention through your body, consciously relaxing any areas of tension. Begin by bringing your focus to your toes, then your feet, ankles, calves, knees and all the way up to the top of your head, remembering to also take the time to relax your facial muscles.
If you need a little extra guidance, you can sign up to my Members area below to access my body scan for sleep (for free!).