How To Practice Everyday Mindfulness (That Isn’t Just Meditating)

Following the week-long Mental Health Challenge on our Her Campus chapter’s Instagram (Shameless plug, follow us @hercampusmaine!), I came out of the experience feeling revitalized and anew. Like many others, I’ve always liked the idea of mindfulness, but I found it difficult to commit to the practice of it every day. But the different tasks of the challenge like doing yoga, having a spa night, and journaling made me realize the various subtle ways I can take a moment to recollect and be mindful. It is very easy to lose yourself within busy schedules and routines, but there are ways you can incorporate mindfulness into your day-to-day that isn’t just meditation. In fact, there are probably many tasks you already do! By being intentional and paying attention to your body in the present moment of doing them, you can change an everyday routine into a more meaningful experience. Here are a myriad of ways to incorporate mindfulness into your schedule, even on your busiest days!

  1. 1. When You’re In Bed

    Whether it’s waking up or falling asleep, being in bed is a great opportunity for practicing mindfulness. While laying down, you can take a moment to do a full-body scan. Starting from your toes, work your way up to the crown of your head by paying attention to what each body part feels like internally. When you stretch your arms and legs, take note of how it makes the muscles and nerves in your limbs feel. Both techniques are great ways to be mindful in the sense of connecting your brain and consciousness with your physical self by paying attention to the current state and feelings of your whole body. Laying in bed also gives you the chance to set your intentions for the day ahead as well as reflect at the end of the day. Everything done mindfully should be done with intention, which are present wishes and wants you would like to see and work towards. When you practice mindfulness with intentions, it extends the in-the-moment benefits of mindfulness into your everyday life and mood!

  2. 2. When You’re Getting Dressed

    I loved this part of our Instagram challenge too much to not immortalize here! I never realized how the acts of choosing what clothes to wear and actually wearing them are both great ways to connect with your body and pursue your intentions. When picking out what to wear for the day or to bed, be mindful of what pieces of clothing make you feel comfortable and confident for that day. I know for me, a well-thought-out, styled outfit makes me feel comfortable one day, while sweatpants and a bare face feel much more satisfying the next. Although it may seem insignificant to practice mindfulness with something as simple as getting dressed, what it really comes down to is listening to your mind and body in the present moment. By being mindful of what you wear on a given day, you’re able to deviate from mundane routines and listen to the wants of both your mind and body.

  3. 3. When You Eat

    Mindfulness focuses on the feelings of your mind and body, and food has a serious impact on both. Practicing mindfulness when eating does not mean dieting or restricting yourself from food in any way, but rather feeling and focusing on the sensations before, during, and after a meal. Eating slowly and without distraction to focus on the taste, smell, and texture of your food can make eating much more satisfying to both your mind and body. You can practice mindfulness when eating by simply listening to what your body is telling you -- eating when you feel hungry and acknowledging when you feel full to avoid stomach pains from overeating are great ways to make the act of eating a way to connect with your physical body. Not only that, but mindful consumption of food can be what you choose to eat. Again, this does not mean restricting yourself from “unhealthy” foods, but rather being mindful about how the food you are eating feels in your body -- I’m looking at you, those with lactose intolerance who still eat ice cream! Just switch to dairy-free Ben & Jerry’s (they’re better anyway)! Like said before, mindfulness is all about intentions. By being intentional when you eat instead of mindlessly consuming, you can truly take a moment to savor and cherish what you are eating, because as we all know -- food is fuel and we need it!

  4. 4. When You’re On Your Phone

    I think we all can agree that the Internet is a lawless place. There are endless streams of content from all over the world, and feeds are curated to capture all of our specific attention spans. What comes with this is a feeling of cyber burnout, which is only exacerbated by the constant stream of schoolwork and classes being online. This is where mindfulness comes into play and when utilized, can ease the fatigue of endless Instagram scrolls. Some people might only associate mindful consumption with food as stated in the last point, but we consume so much more than what we eat! Who we talk to, what music we listen to, and what we look at on our phones take up so much of our time and attention, and these things are what shapes us into who we are as individuals -- which is why we cannot mindlessly consume them! To incorporate mindfulness into your timelines, try thinking about how different content makes you feel and go from there. If you’re following a myriad of Facetuned Instagram influencers and every time you open the app you immediately compare yourself to them, think about what that does to your mental health and self-image! Instead, try to follow accounts whose posts make you feel motivated and uplifted. Instead of the models, follow and focus on positive people in your life that you actually want to see life updates from.

    Hopefully by now, you’ve seen that mindfulness can extend into every aspect of your life! I’ve absolutely fallen victim to going on autopilot for days on end, in the constant cycle of waking up, doing schoolwork, scrolling TikTok for four hours straight and then going to bed. However, even when that’s all your tight schedule allows in just a mere 24 hours, you can still practice mindfulness! Being intentional about these simple actions can have great benefits for your mental and physical health, snapping you out of the hypnotization of everyday life without taking time away from what needs to be done. It’s so important to listen to the needs of your mind and body, and once you start, I’m positive you will see a difference for the better!