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Minute Motivation: Practice mindfulness in daily routine

Improve your day by adding mindfulness to even the mundane tasks and routines.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Do you ever zoom through your day and arrive at bedtime wondering what happened to your time? It's easy for us to eat our meals rushing from one meeting to another or complete all of our daily routines on autopilot. We forget to check in with ourselves in the present moment to see how we're doing.

Adding mindfulness to the small things in your life will make a big difference. 

When you first hear mindfulness, people can tense up and think, "Woah, woah, woah... I don't have the time to cram anything else into my schedule." But being present doesn't mean adding more to your calendar. It's about doing the things you do already in life and being sharply aware of them.

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Every morning, I go through the exact same routine. Part of that routine includes putting lotion on my legs and arms. For a long time, I rushed through the process, while only seeing it as a timesuck preventing me from getting out the door and to work.

Credit: Ellen Bryan
Being more mindful about the little things in your daily routine can make a big difference.

One day, I decided to practice some mindfulness with my morning routine. As I bent over to lotion up my legs, I exaggerated the movement as a yoga forward fold and enjoyed the stretch it provided to my back. Then I stretched upward and checked in with all of my muscles and joints, being very mindful of how my body felt in the moment as I added lotion to my arms.

It's taken no additional time to add these yoga moves to my morning routine, but I simply feel better for having brought myself in the present to check in with my body.

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Mindfulness doesn't have to mean you will prop yourself up on a pillow for 30 minutes every day in a meditation. Some days it might be taking a few deep breaths while you wait for your food in the drive-thru. Meal time is an excellent place to add mindfulness and it's something we can easily overlook. Pausing to actually chew and taste your food can be forgotten when you're inhaling the chips and salsa while watching television. We have to remind ourselves to slow down.

Becoming present and mindful in every moment doesn't take additional time, it only improves the quality of it.

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