You know that Monday morning question, “Where did the weekend go?” It’s easy to miss stuff when you spend most of the weekend on autopilot. Research shows that humans spend nearly 47% of their day thinking about something other than what they’re doing. Whoa. We need to find more ways to be present.
If you want to get the most out of your weekend, you need to first practice being where you are. Be present in the moment, engaged in what you’re doing. Luckily, these super simple ways to be more present make it much easier than you might think.
1. Practice mindfulness before you’re even out of bed. We can bring our attention to nearly anything, so why not start the morning out right, practicing mindfulness before you’re even out of bed? Sit on the edge of your bed, feet flat on the floor. Feel each part of your body making contact with a surface. Pay attention to your breath. Notice how your body feels in this moment. See a more detailed description of this easy exercise here.
2. Go outside. Several studies have documented a link between mindfulness and nature. Nature has an incredible way of prompting you to pay attention to the here and now. It has sights and sounds that are too precious to ignore. If a hike or jog isn’t your thing, consider taking your morning cup of coffee to the porch. Play fetch with your dog, or grab a blanket and sit by a campfire. It doesn’t have to be major, just get outside!
3. Do an emotional check-in. I swear by emotional check-ins. I do them all throughout my day, particularly on weekends when time feels slightly more precious. Check out this post for a step-by-step guide on how to do an emotional check-in.
4. Perform a mindless task mindfully. Almost any task can be done mindfully, bringing your attention back to the present moment. Try washing the dishes mindfully. Turn the faucet on slowly. Notice the feel of the soap as it bubbles up. Feel the water splash across your hands. By slowing down, even for a few moments, you’re bringing your attention back to the here and now.
5. Put your phone away. Did you know that the average American checks their phone 46 times a day? It’s hard to be present with your partner when your phone is lighting up next to you. It’s tough to enjoy a movie with your kids when you keep unconsciously checking Facebook. Remember, just having a phone out and visible impacts the quality of connection. So when you decide you’re going to do something, put your phone away and out of sight. It makes a difference.
6. Drink your coffee mindfully. This is one of my favorite mindfulness exercises, particularly on the weekends when I have a little more time. For a fun take on this practice, see this post.
7. Turn off the TV. How often are you doing something with the TV on in the background? You’re washing dishes, but the TV is on. Your kids are playing with the TV on. You’re reading a book with the TV on. This “TV as background noise” habit is terrible, because our attention is continuously drawn back to the screen, away from what we’re doing. If you’re not watching the TV, turn it off.
8. Eat your breakfast without doing anything else. I tried this experiment a while ago, and it was awesome. Try eating your breakfast without music, TV, or social media to keep you company. Let your mind notice and observe what happens when you eat and do nothing else.
9. Snuggle up. These days, houses seem to be getting bigger and sectionals seem to be expanding. You may be in the same room as your loved one, yet you’re miles apart. Try sitting closer and physically connecting. It’s much easier to be present when you have a physical prompt. And of course, snuggling has a ton of benefits on its own.
10. Stop multi-tasking. The long held belief that combining tasks leads to greater efficiency has been debunked. Turns out, multi-tasking isn’t so helpful after all. This weekend, do one thing at a time. Eat. Talk. Cuddle. Finger paint with your kids. Call a friend. Just don’t do them all together. Do one thing at a time, and retrain your brain to solo-task.
Finding ways to be more present isn’t all that hard. It just takes some diligence to put them into action. Remember, practice how you want to feel. So if you want to get the most out of your weekend, practice being present.
Which tip are you going to try this weekend?
PS: If you liked this post, you’ll probaby like this one as well! The Top 10 Myths of Mindfulness.