3 Tips for Taking a More Mindful Approach to Life

mindful

One of the weirdest paradoxes of our times is that we are more materially comfortable than ever before, with technology allowing us to lounge around on the sofa for endless hours, in perfectly temperature-controlled environments, and with an endless array of interesting TV programs to watch on demand — but that, at the same time, we are apparently more stressed and anxious than ever before. With this in mind, we may all benefit from a more mindful approach to life.

For all the benefits that may come with a highly technologically-developed way of living, we also have to shoulder constant “static”, distraction, comparison to others, and so on. Finding the time and space to just relax with our thoughts and enjoy our immediate environments, has become increasingly difficult.

24/7 we’re comparing ourselves to our friends on Facebook, we’re gossipping on Twitter, we’re worrying about the latest news headlines, and we’re trying to absorb endless small information bites in the form of online articles and more.  The worrying thing is, this only describes the modern pressures that come with being digitally connected!

Finding ways to regain a more mindful approach to life can be very important in terms of our ability to unwind appreciate the moment. I completed a mindfulness diploma back at the beginning of the year and I have to say that I am glad I did. I was a very in-depth course and opened my eyes to mindful living.

Here are some suggestions for doing just that yourselves….

Dress More Mindfully

Take a more deliberate “quality over quantity” approach to your wardrobe. Many people deal with clothes in a pretty mindless way. They’ll grab whatever’s cheap and on sale, they’ll fill their wardrobe with all kinds of things they don’t really like, and they’ll feel vaguely discontented with their personal fashion. By “they”, I used to mean “me”. Taking a more deliberate, “quality over quantity” approach to your wardrobe can be a great way of reconnecting with the clothes you wear, in a mindful manner. Taking to time to inspect a stylish new ladies shirt collection and pick out a garment that really works for you, is better than buying 4 shirts cheaper shirts that don’t suit you. Consider how an item feels when you put it on, and how it makes you feel.

Consider Using a Fountain Pen to Write With

Most things that need to be written are typed, these days, and for those things that still get written out by hand, we’re more generally inclined to use cheap disposable ballpoint pens than to go to all the trouble of using a fountain pen. There are some good reasons to consider using a fountain pen to write with, however.For one thing, a fountain pen is almost a work of art. It’s an elegant device that can last you for years. It requires more attention when writing, and can produce much more attractive handwriting.There’s a whole ritual to using a fountain pen, from choosing the type of ink, to writing with intent. Writing with a fountain pen just makes the act of writing more meaningful. If this appeals to you, you might be interested in my book review of The Joy of Mindful Writing.

Reduce Your Screen Time

Use tools and services to help prevent you spending too much time online. The internet is a valuable resource, but it can absolutely be over-used, and when it is overused, you can find yourself falling through an endless abyss of clickbait headlines, videos, and memes. Use tools and services such as Cold Turkey Blocker to limit the time you spend online. With your new-found offline time, read more books instead. With a book, you get a much deeper, slower-paced, more engaging look into a subject than you do by skimming the web. Find great titles and reviews on GoodReads (web and app).

What do you consider a mindful activity? What would you like to do less of or more, to reduce the noise all around us and focus more on what is important, and what is going on around you?

Unused Spaces as a Home Office

 

home office

If you are just starting a business from home or working from home regularly, you might be struggling with home office space and storage. It is important that you separate your living and resting space from your work one, or you will end up working in front of the TV until midnight (or in my case be up early, slouched on the sofa with a laptop – I’m not a night owl). Ideally, your home office will have a door that you can close behind you after you have finished with all your work. Ours doesn’t which is one of the reasons that we are looking to move in the not-too-distant future. Not everyone can up and move though. Below you will find a few ideas on where to look for space in your home to start your or run your business.

Basement Home Office

If you have a basement that you are not using, this is an obvious choice. You will need to take care of the insulation, the heating, and the lighting first though.  Talk to a professional on how to convert your basement into a home office and have all the facilities you need to make the space work for you. Provided there was a way to guarantee enough air and light in a basement, I’d be ok with that.

Loft

Another budget-friendly solution is converting your loft into an office. You can have your separate space, and it will be much quieter than on the corner of the sofa or in a spare bedroom. You might need planning permissions, though, and it is a good idea to talk to Empire Lofts about your plans and get everything arranged; from electricity to heating and lighting, as well as access to your space.  

Garage

Most of us are using our cars every day, and storing it in the garage simply doesn’t make sense. If you are currently only using your garage for storage, you can transform it into a great space that is insulated, bright, and inspiring. Focus on floor insulation, especially if your garage is detached from the home. Replace the windows and doors, and use secondary glazing sheets to keep you warm during the winter. Your own home office, separate but with the convenience of being at home at the same time. I like it!

Conservatory

Most of us love the conservatory in the summer, as we can entertain our guests there and enjoy some bright sunshine. However, you can add extra comfort and insulation to your conservatory to make it suitable for work all year round. The natural light will make this space a perfect office.

Under Stairs Storage

While this is not the ideal home office, you can use your under stairs storage to hold your fold-down chair and desk. Whenever the kids come home from school, you can just remove yourself from the living room, provided that you are not finished yet. There are plenty of great ideas for storage and furniture that will fit your tiny space initially. Harry Potter managed perfectly well under the stairs so there’s no reason why you can’t work from home under the stairs in the right space. 

Working from home can be challenging. One of the main problems you will face is that you want to keep your work and home life separate. With some savvy thinking and a modest budget many homes can incorporate a home office that will give you the space and the privacy you need. Sadly our current home just doesn’t offer these opportunities (the attic is a full bedroom and we have no cellar) so we’ll be moving. What about you though? Do you have a home office tucked away somewhere clever?

 
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