Mindful Matters: Little Ways to Live Your Life More Intentionally
With the new year upon us, there's no better time to start thinking more intentionally. The simple act of just thinking about what matters to you around your home is a step in the right direction. Whether it's fostering a positive experience in your life, or just changing something that bothers you (like that pile of shoes in the entryway), there are plenty of small tweaks to make around the home to live a more intentional life.
If coffee or espresso is a part of your morning ritual, why not expand on it for a more intentional start to your day. Create your own cafe-like setting with an at-home coffee station. You can invest in a nice new espresso machine and arrange all of your cups and dishes in one easy place. Setting aside a portion of your morning to enjoying a cup of joe can really help you to get centered before a busy day. It's also a great option for inviting guests over to enjoy coffee and a conversation.
I've found it makes the start of my day much more intentional when I take a seat at my vanity mirror to put on some makeup, even if I don't have any face-to-face meetings. The act of getting ready is still a great ritual to help you to create a regular schedule and to delineate between personal time and work time.
Pamper yourself a bit more. A few quick changes — like some safely-placed candles, aromatic herbs, and fresh turkish towels in the bathroom — entices you to carve out some "me time" to relax, meditate, and refresh. It's also a relatively easy and inexpensive way to wind down at the end of a long day.
Probably the easiest way to transform your space and lighten the mood is to simply add plants. They filter and clean the air and have the effect of really warming-up a bare space. Taking the time to care for them daily or weekly is also a very meditative and calming process. Of course, make sure that you read up on which plants will do best in your home environment, and take necessary precautions to protect pets or small children in the home.
Foster a Cozy Community:
Create a comfortable space with board games and relaxed, cozy things in your living or family room. Then carve out some time where friends or family gather together without the distractions of cell phones and social media. This also extends into the kitchen by gathering together to cook a meal, eat together, and even switching on some music to clean-up afterwards.
Set the Atmosphere:
Sometimes we're so rushed that we forget to do small things, like light some incense, or switch on some calm or uplifting music, while doing tasks around the home. A little bit of music goes a long way towards setting the mood. You can either invest in a smart home system so you can control the settings with your phone, or go old school with a vintage credenza and a record player.
Have a Place for Everything:
One easy way to combat clutter to clear your space and your mind is to be organized and have a place for all your stuff. I adopted the method of adding baskets from my kid's Montessori school. A few baskets lining a shelf are a great way to contain the clutter as opposed to just moving things from place to place around the house with no real place of their own.
Similarly, a slight change in attitude is often times all it takes to keep your mind off the clutter. A lot of household chores can feel just like that— work. But studies show that the act of doing something as simple as dishes can actually be stress-relieving. Once you change your frame of mind, you might not find some of those day-to-day activities quite so grueling.
What are you doing this year to stay mindful?
Originally published for ApartmentTherapy.com