Every new year’s resolution boils down to two words... Be better.
At listening, at following through, at punctuality. At resisting sugar, caffeine, or the snooze button – or for the truly masochistic, all three at once.
You know from past years that willpower doesn’t have what it takes to carry you through 365 days – white-knuckling only takes you so far. Enter mindfulness, the deceivingly simple method of being in the moment, which naturally increases your ability to self regulate (and self control). In one way it’s a magic bullet, in that it’s free, it’s all you need, and it works. Easy, right? On the other hand, it’s as elusive and slippery; tough to adopt, and a cinch to drop off.
We can’t sell you mindfulness – no one can. But we do pride our products on helping set the tone for practicing it. And no, not by sitting cross-legged in an empty, candle-lit room, though sure, you can do that too. Here’s how to make it happen wherever you go.
In The Bedroom
Getting ready for bed isn’t something that happens with the click of a button. Literally – turning off a TV does not a bedtime routine make. When you set aside time for a physical, non-tech-related habit that separates your awake/alert/connected time from sleep, you feel the benefits right away. Whether it’s reading, stretching, meditating, or writing in a gratitude journal, you’re sending your brain the message that the mind-racing, goal-motivated part of the day is over, and you’re ready for a slower mode. And not just mentally – the very act of taking calming time before bed lowers your cortisol levels which makes sleep come easier. Supercharge the routine by doing it from bed where you can take note of the smoothness of the sheets, the crisp hand-feel of the comforter, and how clean and restful the room feels from your perch. Within a couple weeks your body will be so accustomed to the habit leading to sleep you’ll find yourself yawning almost immediately.
In The Bath
Sounds bizarre, but it works: Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. It’s a mindfulness hack that forces your brain to pay attention to the actual teeth-cleaning process and not, say, everything you did wrong yesterday. Then, take 30 seconds to arrange your post-bath (or shower) cocoon. Fold your towel and hang your bathrobe within your vision – and easy reach. Once you’re in the tub, give yourself at least a one-minute period to focus on the moment. The feel of the warm water against your skin, the smell of the soap or candle, the blissful look of that luxurious fluffy set-up awaiting you. That ounce of self care goes a long way in making sure you go from the warm, soothing shower right into a cloud-like and enveloping towel – bonus points for an oversized one.
In The Kitchen
Mindfulness in the kitchen can mean any number of things, from cooking hand-picked, locally-grown veggies into a slow-simmering and soul-fortifying soup to... something that could realistically happen on a weeknight. Rather than putting your focus on time-intensive cooking (followed by lightning speed, TV-facing eating), take a shortcut to what matters: connection. Choose a simple salad or stir-fry (or hey, even take-out) and put your efforts toward presentation. A simple yet beautifully-set table naturally sets the stage for conversation – or if you’re alone, reflection. Savor your bites, notice the taste and texture that accompanies every flatware movement, and don’t force your meal to compete with your device. Just the act of eating without distraction will make your food taste better, and arm you with the ability to actually notice when you’re full, or just ready to move on to dessert.
All Day Long
No need to give up your nightcap if it serves you well. But here’s the trick: Just add water. A carafe of it, to be clear. Dress it up if you must – lemon, cucumber, mint, melon, whatever’s fresh and in the fridge should infuse it well enough. Position it with a tall glass, and challenge yourself to finish it every night. And unlike your dinner routine you can do this in front of the TV. Ready for part two of the challenge? Once you’re done, refill the carafe, and place it next to your bed. That’s your new morning routine, and it’ll be staring you down the moment you wake up. That boost of hydration will give you more energy and clarity to start the day than any app ever could – plus, it’s your first great habit of the new day. Nice work.
Throughout The House
Surely you have 15 minutes a day you can reschedule from “mindless scrolling time” to tidying time. You likely already know clutter in your home contributes to stress and anxiety, so why not make a daily habit to bust it daily? The short cleaning bursts help you focus on actively improving things – externally and internally. The added benefit of course is a clean home – a blissful feeling you can pump up with a subtle, fresh-scented diffuser. We’re partial to our Tastemaker scent, a mix of Shiso Leaf, Wild Mint, and Meyer Lemon for a bright, energizing atmosphere. Prefer candles? Light one while you’re tidying up and the scent will then remind you of your positive actions – and the neatness and calm that results from it. And just like that, you’re on your way to a better-looking home and calmer state of mind. To, just like that, be better.