Here’s to 2021, a year in which we will cultivate mental stability and restore balance to our chaotic lives. ((Photo Credit: Chloe Mintz/ Adobe Photoshop/ Achona Online))
Here’s to 2021, a year in which we will cultivate mental stability and restore balance to our chaotic lives.

(Photo Credit: Chloe Mintz/ Adobe Photoshop/ Achona Online)

5 Mindful Habits to Practice this Year

January 26, 2021

One month in and it would appear 2021 is off to as similar a start as the much-loathed 2020. 

So much so that I know I am not the only one experiencing the all too familiar symptoms of anxiety. Queasiness, derailed sleeping patterns, clammy palms? Check, check, and check. 

I often do very little to dissuade the repercussions of poor mental health— I’d much rather wallow in my own self-pity— yet desperate times call for desperate measures. And I suppose it’s about time I care for myself. In consequence, I have curated a list of five practices intended to cultivate mindfulness in these trying times. 

Unplug: put away the phone (laptop, tablet, etc.) and look up— beyond your two-foot radius. Grab a book while you’re at it, perhaps “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle. Or go on a walk— even if only from your bedroom to the kitchen. 

I often prefer fiction to every other genre, yet I have grown to love both memoirs and essays. Glennon Doyle’s “Untamed” is particularly captivating as the narrative is incredibly raw. (Photo Credit: Chloe Mintz)

Recharge: be kind to yourself if (and when) you miss a deadline, forget an assignment, or have to cancel an engagement— there is only so much a single human being can accomplish. So, take a moment (or day) to decompress. I’m a huge proponent of soaking up the sun and moving my body (think running or conditioning) in the midst of anxiety. 

Peloton (an online exercise service) has been my saving grace this past year, offering various workouts to curb my excess adrenaline. (Photo Credit: Chloe Mintz)

Surround yourself with those you love: friends and family, I believe, are the prevailing remedy to disastrous days (or weeks or months). I don’t always wish to surround myself with others, yet no one can quite make me smile like parents. And when I’m on the brink of my third successive breakdown, well, it becomes rather difficult to refuse their company.

My parents (and my brother) are my anchors, and I cannot imagine doing life without them by my side. That’s not to say that we don’t annoy each other, but rather our love for one another is stronger than our differences. (Photo Credit: Eric Mintz/ used with permission)

Be present: perform your daily tasks as if you are completing them for the first time. Appreciate what your body is capable of and appreciate what you have been given. 

I am a stress-baker. When I cannot control the stressful circumstances I often find myself in, I turn to the kitchen as I can control the outcome of a pancake stack. (Photo Credit: Chloe Mintz)

Breathe: inhale, exhale. Allow your heart rate to descend and know you will be alright. I promise you— very few things are a matter of life and death. 

To quote the timeless Ferris Bueller, “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So, just breathe.

I’m certainly no expert in terms of bettering one’s mental health, yet I do hope these rituals offer you partial serenity if you choose to practice them.

Please know there will always be a light at the end of your tunnel (no matter how winding and gloomy) and, if you’re in need of an assuring figure, consult our guidance counselors Oddny Bakke and Mary Beth Adams ([email protected] and [email protected]). You are never alone in your struggles.

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