Stuck in a rut? Take control of your life with these quick, science-backed mindfulness routines.
Pandemic life is hard. We’ve spent almost a year holed up in our homes, trudging through the same steps day in and day out. Given the repetitive cycle, it’s no wonder why some people feel stuck in a rut, powerless to move forward in any meaningful way.
For those hoping to hit reset, try incorporating a few rituals into your daily routine. By rituals, we mean exercises in mindfulness, where you commit to taking a moment just for yourself each day, until it becomes a nonnegotiable part of everyday life. A 2018 Harvard study found that “enacting a personal ritual can effectively promote self-control.”
Smith’s head teamaker Ravi Kroesen agrees. “In this day and age, where it feels like we have less and less control over what’s going on around us, the one thing we can help to control is how we feel,” he says. “I think that doing these [rituals], and having a regimen of some sort, will help counteract this very stressful environment.”
Not sure where to start? Set aside a few minutes each day to engage in any of the below activities. Slowly but surely, they can spur you along the path to wellness.
1. Make your bed.
Accomplishing this simple task each morning can have a profound impact on your entire day, according to entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss, because it gives you a sense of control, even when the rest of the world is falling apart.
2. Just breathe.
From improving focus and sleep to reducing anxiety, the benefits of meditation are vast. But if you’re intimidated by the idea of sitting quietly for 20 minutes, no judgment! Just take a few deep, slow breaths each day, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Keep at it, and you’ll build stamina over time.
3. Get moving.
Exercise supports the body and mind. Aerobic activity, in particular, has been shown to combat stress and elevate mood. If daily high-powered cardio sessions aren’t your thing, do whatever feels right to you, whether it’s yoga, cycling, gentle stretching, or turning on your favorite song and throwing a solo dance party.
4. Commune with nature.
Recent research suggests that, to maximize wellness, we should all spend two hours a week outdoors amid greenery — which breaks down to roughly 17 minutes a day. So take a short walk, tend to your garden, sit in a park, or if you’re feeling ambitious, hit up a hiking trail.
5. Write it down.
Set the tone for the day by jotting down your intentions or positive affirmations in a journal each morning. Or, in the evening, reflect on what you’ve achieved. Comedian Whitney Cummings makes a daily gratitude list. “It’s atrophied my negative thinking … which helps me be more productive, creative, and focused,” she has said.
6. Engage your community.
Socializing can boost brain health and help stave off depression. So make a point to connect with someone each day. Plan a regular Zoom hangout with a friend or family member; if that’s not possible, shoot them a quick text or strike up a conversation with a neighbor. It may just brighten their day — and yours, too.
7. Step away from the screens.
Social media and doomscrolling are plunging us into despair — and yet, we remain tethered to our phones. Set aside at least 30 minutes a day to go completely screen-free. (Or better yet, turn off your devices a full hour before bedtime.) You deserve a mental health break.
8. Brew some tea.
Savoring a perfectly steeped cup of Smith tea is a perfect way to take a moment for yourself each day. The beauty of tea time is that it pairs well with most of the above rituals: Enjoy some Masala Chai with a friend every afternoon, write in your journal while sipping Big Hibiscus, or drink a cup of Mao Feng Shui before meditating, exercising, or heading out on a rejuvenating walk.