Do you find yourself hearing others talk about meditating and Zen and would like some for yourself, but are already wishing you had enough time to get everything done on your to do list? Wish no more! As a lifestyle coach, my goal is to take the overwhelm out of your life by sharing five easy ways to add a little Zen to your day that don’t require hours of sitting cross-legged on the floor chanting “om”.
What is Zen?
The traditional meaning of Zen is meditation which most people identify with the sitting on a meditation pillow with incense and candles burning, for long periods of time. While this is a great practice to have, most of us can’t imagine sitting still at all, let alone for an hour. The good news? My definition of Zen is doing something we love not requiring a lot of brain power enabling our mind to slow down and have a little break, even if it’s just for five minutes. You say that’s great Mary, but what doesn’t create a lot of brain power???
Why It’s Important to Have Zen In Your Day
In this world we live in today, our brain/mind is in constant stimulation mode. If we have downtime, we have these little computers in our pockets that keep us connected. While in some situations it’s great to see your friends and family on social media, we are also inundated with negative news as we scroll through our feed. We are overworked, running kids to all over for their commitments; we eat on the fly, all while not really taking a moment to slow down our bodies and our minds. Adding a little Zen is like a little slice of heaven on Earth. It gives us a chance to stop the constant barrage of information clogging our brains. To combat this barrage, here are five easy tips to create Zen in your day, even if you’re not into meditation.
Set Your Alarm for a Half Hour Earlier
I know, I know…you are already dog tired, but trust me on this one. If you get out of bed and hit the ground running each day, give yourself a little quiet time before the rest of the house gets up. Set your coffee pot timer to have the coffee done before you get up and savor a cup while reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle or anything you like to do. I urge you to NOT turn on your phone and scroll through social media or emails. How you start your day sets the tone for the day and starting off with this little Zen may just make your day a little less stressed. If a half hour seems too daunting, try 15 minutes first. Again, give yourself just a few minutes in the morning to mentally prepare for the day.
Go For a Walk or Run
I know what you’re thinking; you don’t have time for a two mile walk. Guess what? You don’t have to go for two miles! Take 15 minutes on your lunch break, lace up a pair of tennis shoes and go, especially in the summer. Living in interior Alaska the sunshine and warm weather are fleeting and spending 8+ hours inside an office is more than enough reason to get some fresh air and move! No matter where you live, most of us are nature-deprived and sit most of the day.
You don’t have to power walk to get the most out of this time, quite the opposite, make this a stroll to stretch your legs, breathe in the fresh air and soak up the sunshine. Better yet, bring along your best four-legged friend and stop and enjoy the scenery along the way. Remember, we are creating a little Zen, and slowing down and moving our bodies at the same time are the perfect Yin/Yang. When you get back to your desk, you will be refreshed, renewed and ready to take on the day!
Start An Art Practice
You’re not an artist…who says? A year ago, I attended a women’s workshop where mandala drawing was part of the event. The artist, who hand-draws incredibly balanced mandalas, shared how to create the Zen-like drawings. As she guided us through making a few creations of our own, I found something I loved to do! While mine are not even close to being balanced, it’s OK! It is MY art and I found a way to create a little Zen when I need to slow down my brain. Every once in a while I grab a marker and paper and begin with a little dot on the center of the page adding scribbles and scrolls, top and bottom, side to side. Sometimes I have a finished product in a short time, others, I start a design and finish it a few days or weeks later. Mandalas not your thing? That’s OK, doodle! Doodling is a great way to slow down our brain and letting it express itself through the pen and paper. Not into doodling? Go to your local store and pick up a coloring book. I was at Barnes and Noble this week and there are so many adult books to choose from. However, sometimes it’s fun to pick up a kids coloring book. You can be Zen and Aging Youthful at the same time! Way to multi-task!
Start a New Hobby
You know that thing you’ve always wanted to do, go do it! Learn how to play the piano or guitar to get lost in the music…do something with your hands. In the early 2000’s, thanks to HGTV and a five minute segment “Trash To Treasure” in the old Design on a Dime show, I found a love for making something old new again.
There is something Zen about taking someone’s trash, giving it a fresh coat of paint (or not) and giving it new life again. I’ve taken old doors and made them into coffee or end tables, gave an old dresser a fresh coat of paint and updated hardware, and more. Most of my creations are back at my cabin in Minnesota, but I recently picked up the practice again. The garage at our rental isn’t heated, so I have to do my Zenning in the summer months. I’m currently working on this end table. It’s taking more coats of paint than I planned, but that means the Universe is telling me I need more Zen!
Plant a Garden For More Zen
What could be more Zen than working in nature??? Ever since I was a kid, I loved playing in the dirt and as an adult it led me to creating in the dirt. Our current yard situation isn’t the best for creating rock gardens like the ones I had at my cabin, but I can container garden! Much like turning trash into treasure, there is something about turning a plain piece of earth into a beautiful bountiful garden. Whether it’s a flower/perennial garden or a vegetable garden, both are Zen. I have a tomato and basil plant on my deck, along with a couple of Viola/pansy hanging baskets to fill my need to play in the dirt and not require too much attention. As mentioned earlier, we are living in a nature-deprived society and what a better way to get in some nature time than digging IN it!
There you have it, five easy ways to add a little Zen to your day. These are just five of my favorites, there are literally thousands of other options, check out my post 50 Easy Ways To Nourish Your Soul if you are needing inspiration. My advice, find something YOU love that allows your brain to slow down and just “be”. We are human BEings not human DOings, so BEcome a little more human. I love hearing from you! Comment below or on our Facebook or Instagram pages with your favorite way to create a little Zen in your day to share with our readers so they may find something to help them slow down in this crazy busy world we live.