It seems that mediating is all the rage these days.
Everyone’s doing it: Oprah, Paul McCartney, Jerry Seinfeld, even Howard Stern (according to this list). They seem to have cornered the market on this mysterious combination of uber success and chilling out.
While there is something incredibly worthwhile in sitting down and centering yourself, it’s sometimes easier said then done. I know for me, meditating is one of those things that sits on my long list of daily things to do, and more often than not, gets pushed to the bottom of the list. There are so many other important things to get done, like seeing clients, cooking dinner or driving my kids to sports.
But because the need to calm down my brain is so important, I have learned to modify. It might not be on the Oprah scale of meditating, but on super busy days, these are my best ways to chill out:
Cooking and Chopping. For those of you who think the act of cooking is like being in jail, let me shift your mindset around this. Sitting quietly in your kitchen, cutting board, sharp knife and a bowl of vegetables can be quite meditative. It’s you and a bunch of beautiful carrots. Do not even think about doing this at 7pm as everyone is screaming at you for dinner. This is a weekend thing, or a daytime when no one else is around activity. Notice the beautiful colors, take your time. Breathe.
Listening. Okay, so it is 7pm and everyone is clamoring for dinner. That’s about the time that I put my headphones in and listen to a book on Audible. While I cook. Right now I am listening to Self Compassion by Kristen Neff. The narrators voice is like listening to a lullaby, soft and soothing. A must listen.
Coloring. You’ve seen them everywhere. Adult coloring books that promise relaxation and focus. I think the concept is great although I have never been one for painstakingly coloring in tiny little tear drop shapes. A friend just recently convinced me to get Zentangle, which is a lot more creative and interactive and equally as soothing.
Gardening. What is it about growing plants? For me, I love that vegetables don’t talk back. You can lovingly, quietly be amongst your tomatoes, corn and lettuce and all they ask is for some gentle care and maintenance. Go cut some lettuce and make a beautiful salad. The peace and joy I receive from knowing that I am eating the freshest, most organic food I can get my hands on is very balancing.
Walking. Me, my dog, the open road. Buck runs ahead and its time for me to look around and observe. The blooming trees, the blue sky, the quiet, how many variety of birds I can find. Walking is not about my heart rate, or how many steps I am taking. It’s about noticing my surroundings, tuning out the noise in my head, my to do lists and what I have to do tomorrow. It’s a time to chill out.
Next time you feel pressure to sit quietly and listen to chanting music give yourself permission to do one of my “meditations” instead. You won’t regret it.