Three easy ways to stay mindful

Avery Wickersham (TheLorian)

Whether in a pandemic or not, mindfulness is an important aspect of everyday-life. As a college student, it’s easy to fall victim to a heavy workload and unnecessary stress. Everyone is privy to it, and there can be consequences: missed classes, late assignments, suffering grades, and anxiety that can cloud up the college experience.

There are many mindfulness tips that can take as little as five minutes to complete. Meditation, walks, and even breaks away from electronics can help. Three different approaches will be explained in more detail below with tips from Ellevate, a community for women, and Insider, a health magazine.

  1. Meditation—Meditation is an easy way to be mindful. I mediate for five to ten minutes a day, either in a guided form or in solo fashion. Insider suggests to “create a designated space to meditate.” I like to sit in a dark room with an essential oil diffuser running with a relaxing scent, like lavender. I turn my phone on silent or on airplane mode: silent, if I’m listening to a guided meditation on YouTube, or airplane mode, if I’m just listening to a meditative playlist. Sit on the floor or in a chair and take deep breaths. If it’s guided, follow the narration. If one is meditating without guidance, explore a happy place, such as the beach or a hiking trail. I usually meditate at night, right before I go to bed for a good night’s sleep.
  • Nature walks—Even if it’s cold, it’s a great idea to get out of one’s room or dorm and spend time outdoors. Ellevate’s article suggests, “Take walks through a park, the woods, mountain trails or by the beach – wherever you can be outside. Getting outdoors is good for body, mind and spirit, and keeps you in the present.” There are many places around Dubuque that have walking paths, such as Mines of Spain, Eagle Point Park, or the Riverwalk. Each of these places are unique in their own way, but can provide a lot of relief.
  • Eating—While it seems simple, it’s important to watch food intake. It’s common for college students to pick up a package of Ramen over fruits and vegetables, but fruits and vegetables are an important part of a balanced diet. Taking time to include them in one’s meals is an easy and pertinent step in being mindful, and in putting good things into one’s body. The Ellevate article takes it a step further, and says, “Eating your meal without the TV, computer or paper in front of you, where you can truly taste and enjoy what you’re eating, is good, not only for your body, but for your soul as well.” Taking a break from electronics can provide relief from blue light, which is harmful to the eyes, and from the busy noise and expectations from media. Try a book instead!

These are really simple steps that can be incorporated in a day-to-day schedule. Once they become habitual, being mindful won’t seem like such a chore, and can help alleviate stress and fatigue.

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