by Brittany Scanniello, RDN
Many of us spend our days running from moment to moment. Oftentimes this is without thinking twice about our health, self-care routines and rest. Our lives are busy, our routines are hectic and it’s hard to stop and smell the roses.
Mindful living is not as easy as it sounds, but with a little focus and effort, mindfulness can help you develop healthy habits. These habits can bring more joy, meaning and health to our lives. Here at Supernola, we have put together some of our team’s favorite habits to help you become more mindful in your daily routines.
#1: Eat Mindfully
This is a big one for our team and one of the reasons Supernola was created to begin with. Our mission is to make the healthy choice the easy choice. So many of us get stuck in our routines and rarely have time to sit down and actually enjoy our meals or snacks. Life is busy and because of this, snacking specifically is something that is done passively. It’s so easy to grab an unhealthy snack to-go, or hit up the closest drive-thru or vending machine.
When at home and able to sit and enjoy our meal, we focus on a few key principles. We eliminate all forms of distraction. This means cell phones, television, and laptops. We strive to sit down and eat with our families and be present in the moment. When we allow ourselves to be distracted during mealtime, the result is most often unfulfillment and overeating.
We also recognize that we do not always have time to sit and slow down when it comes to meal or snack time. When we find ourselves forced to choose meals or snacks on-the-go, one of our key focuses is to make sure the snacks we are choosing are the best ones for our bodies. We look for whole food ingredients, nothing artificial. We understand that we are not going to miraculously change our health by eating one single ingredient, however, when we make a mindful effort to choose wholesome, organic, non-artificial foods as part of our daily intake, we are doing what we can to help our bodies be the best they can be.
#2: Spend Time Outside
Even a quick 15-minute walk can give you the boost you need to hit the rest of your day with a new attitude. Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the sounds of leaves rustling and birds chirping. Do your best to get in touch with nature and be present in the moment.
An added benefit for some outside time during your day is the potential to get a little vitamin D. Vitamin D is made from cholesterol in our skin when we are exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for optimal health and has many roles within the body. I must make note here, there are several factors that may limit how much vitamin D is produced in your body on a given day – this could be weather, skin tone, pollution, length of time of sun exposure, where you live, etc. Too much sun exposure does not come without added risk, so again, all in moderation.
Our biggest take-away from this habit is to get outside and enjoy nature–and do it as often as you can!
#3: Create Something
This is one I really must work on. Taking time to express yourself whether that be in a hobby such as painting, photography, drawing, making music, or cooking – whatever it is that you enjoy doing for you, do it! Tackling a creative hobby is a great way to practice mindfulness. It allows you to be in the moment and to do it for you and only you.
Being creative is important. The theory of cognition even goes as far as stating that being creative is a basis for human life. The study goes on to further explain that tapping into your creative energy may improve brain function, mental and physical health. Expressing ourselves creatively has been found to reduce anxiety, depression and stress.
Whatever your reason, don’t hold back. Grab that pen, paper, guitar, or spatula and start creating.
#4: Focus on One Task at a Time
My husband may tell you; I am the queen of multi-tasking. While for many years, I have thought of this as a compliment, I am now beginning to realize that more at once is not necessarily better. I have historically been under the impression that the more I got done, the better I was doing. I have come to find that when I divide up my attention for various tasks, I am not fully attentive to any of them. Bottom line, I am not giving the attention each individual task may need.
When I focus on one task at a time, I have found that in the long-run, the tasks are all completed in relatively the same timeframe and with less mistakes, therefore, less rework moving forward.
When I am able to focus on one task at a time, take a short break (i.e. take a walk outside), then come back to check the next “to-do” off my list, I am more relaxed, the tasks are completed and most importantly, done well.
#5: Allow for Rest
Some days are challenging; our to-do lists are a mile long and responsibilities are overwhelming. Your mind is telling you there is no time for rest, however, your body may be telling you something different. Being mindful in life can go hand in hand with relaxation and stress relief. When we take time to listen to our bodies and sit down to rest or focus on a deep breathing exercise when we need it, the result will be welcomed.
Rest allows your body to heal. Even if you unplug or detach for a few minutes to reset, you can offer your body a much-needed break to then go and tackle the rest of your day. Taking that little break has been found to promote mental health, boost your creative juices, increase overall productivity while also promoting health, reducing stress and improving mood.
During stressful situations, our bodies naturally engage in a fight or flight response. When we take a step back to rest after such a situation, your body has the opportunity to relax and calm your nervous system. Chronic stress without proper rest has been found to suppress our immune response, increasing our risk of disease and illness.
As we mentioned earlier, these habits are constantly a work-in-progress for our team. We do our best to implement when we can and give ourselves grace when we need to. Being mindful has a different meaning to everyone, these are just some of ours we wanted to share. The habits outlined above are ones we like to focus on, but at the end of the day, we are all just striving to do and be our best, continually improving and learning as we go.