17 Ways to be Mindful in 2017

If 2016 was the year of realizing things than 2017 is going to be my year of being mindful of all those things I apparently ‘realized’. Mindful of my surroundings, mindful of the people in my life, mindful of my choices and mindful of my life. I don’t plan on wasting a second of it!

If you’re looking to add meaning into your everyday routine, check out my 17 ways to be mindful this year.

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  1. Wake up earlier. Set your alarm a few minutes earlier than you normally would (excruciatingly hard for me but I’m gonna work on it) and spend the extra time just lying there. Don’t check your phone, just think about your day and find something to be excited about! Find your reason for getting out of bed – even if it’s just to eat a kickass breakfast.
  2. Before bed, do some stretches, think over your day and ask yourself what you accomplished. It can be as little as making it to all of your classes, or that you managed to call your mom, or it can be as big as landing a new job. Celebrate these little steps towards your goal and you’ll go to sleep feeling grateful.
  3. Do not mindlessly consume social media. Cut back on the amount of time you spend scrolling through feeds, or use an app to track your consumption. You can even set specific times during the day for when you want to check your social media, rather than reaching for your phone every ten minutes.
  4. Be mindful of your television habits, i.e. don’t watch tv while you’re eating dinner. Not only will you eat more, but you’re multi-tasking and won’t enjoy your food as much if you’re not focused on actually eating it. Likewise, don’t check your social media while you’re eating either.
  5. Be mindful of what you put in your body. Although McDonalds is a lot easier than cooking yourself dinner, you’ll feel a lot better after making your own food. Plan your meals out and pack a lunch a few times a week to reap the benefits to your waistline and your wallet.
  6. Shop when you need something, not when you feel the itch to buy something for the sake of buying it. It’s so easy to click that Amazon button and have that shit delivered right to your door, (hello – Prime) but try and avoid being the mindless consumer.
  7. Be mindful of how you spend your free time. Take advantage of the spare minutes and do something that adds value to your life like a quick home workout, or a meditation session or a scroll through the Globe and Mail.
  8. Make plans with another person and stick to them. Don’t cancel because you both don’t feel like leaving the house – make the effort to see your friends. You’ll both be happier afterwards.
  9. Be present when you’re with other people. Don’t take out your phone as a safety net if the conversation gets quiet. Don’t make to-do lists in your head for the next day. Just be present in the moment.
  10. Keep your life balanced. Be mindful of spending too much time on one of your priorities and not giving enough attention to the other ones, i.e. make sure to spend time with friends when school gets busy, or make sure to schedule in a workout when your weekend is jam packed with social events…
  11. Unplug for an entire day… make no plans, just see where the day takes you. Or, unplug a couple hours before bed to really get in a good sleep.
  12. Get outside. Go for a walk after dinner and leave your phone at home. Notice your neighbourhood and the area where you live. Take the time to appreciate how lucky you are to be alive. Your mood will be elevated in seconds.
  13. Create something. Paint or draw or write or whatever gets your creative juices flowing. Set aside some time to just see what you can create, you may surprise yourself.
  14. “Unitask”. Work with only one browser open. Use one app at a time, rather than switching back and forth between them. Focus on one thing you need to get done and work at it until it is finished – no checking the time or your phone. You will be much more productive this way and find your mind to be a lot clearer.
  15. Be mindful of your emotions. When you feel upset or angry at something, take the time to notice why you’re feeling this way. Acknowledge it, do whatever you need to do to feel better, but most importantly, let yourself feel those feelings. Being aware of your emotions and not attempting to control them is beneficial.
  16. Be positive. Try not to get too upset by the actions of others, those you cannot control. Try and look at the world with an optimistic point of view, good karma will come your way. When people are trying to cause trouble – just don’t engage. Be aware that they might be the type of people who prefer drama and know that you don’t need that in your life.
  17. Practice gratitude. We need constant reminder of the good things in our lives, to keep us grateful for the time that we have here. Make a legitimate list and carry it around with you, with all the things, little or big, that keep you feeling grateful. If you start to feel sorry for yourself, remember all the good things you have to be appreciative of.
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