Before I had a baby, meditation was a regular part of my daily routine. It was a lot easier to meditate first thing in the morning. Now, with an almost one-year old, my daily meditations look a little different. While my ideal way to start each day is with a morning meditation, it doesn't always happen - my son sometimes likes to wake up earlier than his mama would like (i.e. while I'm still in bed)! When that happens, here are some other ways I like to get some of the benefits and feelings of meditation, without actually meditating.
Walk It Out
I usually walk somewhere at least once a day (usually with Luca), even if that somewhere is just around the block. Often I'll use those walks to catch up with friends or listen to a podcast or let my mind wander and daydream. But on the days when I don't have time to meditate in the morning, I like to use it as an opportunity to stay present. I don't bring headphones with me and I focus on what is around me - it's amazing what you notice when you start paying attention!
There are many benefits to a walking meditation. A walking meditation helps sync your body and mind and helps you connect and appreciate nature and your surroundings. Like traditional meditation, walking can reduce anxiety and stress and improve sleep (along with the benefits of exercising!)
Color It Out
Grab some crayons or colored pencils and get your creative juices flowing with a meditative coloring book. Coloring is a fun throwback to your childhood days that can also help you relax, de-stress and become more mindful. Similar to meditation, coloring helps you stay in the present moment since it requires much of your focus and concentration (source). If you're looking for additional ways to de-stress, consider adding coloring into your self-care toolbox! We carry one of my favorite coloring books ever - The Adventures of Living Coloring Book by The Happiness Planner.
Breathe It Out
Ok this one is an easy one but I must admit - in my most stressful moments, it's one that is also easy to forget! What I love about pausing to take deep breaths is that I instantly feel the results: it brings me to the present moment and I feel more calm. Benefits of taking deep breaths include lowering your body's cortisol levels (i.e. your body's reaction to stress), lowering your heart rate, and improving your mental clarity and focus. Recently, I've been liking it more than sitting meditation because I find that my mind wanders less since it's a more active exercise. I've been starting many of my mornings - or setting a reminder to take breaks during the day - to practice deep breaths, specifically the Wim Hof Breathing Method (a specific type of breathing exercise).
So, there you have it. Three mindful alternatives to meditation. These alternatives are perfect for people who don't enjoy sitting meditation or for anyone looking to add more mindful practices into their daily routines. What's one of your favorite mindful activities? I'd love to hear below!