We are all pretty much feeling anxious right now on some level. If you’re like me, you probably have good days and bad days, and that’s OK. Meditation is known to have positive effects on our mood, but it’s not always practical to stop and meditate, so I when in search of some alternatives.
I want more good days than bad ones, so of course, daily meditation comes to mind. You might feel like it’s a weird subject for a blog that talks mostly about decluttering, but I would argue that getting rid of mental clutter is a big part of simplifying your life.
The thing is though, the only time I feel like I should be meditating is when I feel overwhelmed or anxious, which is unfortunately too often for my taste lately and probably not the best time to start the practice.
Until recently, I found meditation to be hard work. I envied people that can do it consistently. For me, it felt like another chore to check off my To-Do List and I wanted to find some alternatives to meditation.
Sitting still, while my monkey mind goes berserk is not something I was looking forward to. I know practice would make it easier, but most times, it really brought me no pleasure or relief AT ALL. Actually, it kind of made me more anxious at times. Obviously, I’m was doing it wrong!
Along the way, I’ve learned that some activities are just like meditating and bring me comfort and help break the spiraling out of control in my head.
I’ve had this post drafted for almost a year, and I think now is the perfect time for it.
Can’t meditate? Here Are Some Alternatives To Meditation
1. Move Your Body
Stretch – Just play some meditation soundtrack or your favourite chill tunes, close your eyes and stretch on the floor – This is my personal favourite.
You could also « go for a brisk walk » as a therapist once told me. I was skeptical at first, but it works. Every. Single. Time! When I walk, I suddenly stop looking in and start noticing things around me. Like the feel of sunshine on my face, the screams of children playing somewhere in the distance, or the smell of a backyard fire.
And then, often enough, solutions to challenges that eluded me before, suddenly pop up.
2. Immerse Yourself In A Hobby
One that requires concentration and making something with your hands; like playing a musical instrument, knitting, baking, colouring, building something … anything that will put you in that zone and focus your mind.
Repetitive physical actions are great meditation alternatives since they require your mind to focus on one task and be somewhat aware of what you’re doing.
3. Put Some Music On
When I feel blue or agitated and can’t concentrate, I put on an upbeat playlist. It doesn’t solve everything, but it helps pull me up.
Here are three playlists for you. They may not be your style and feel free to create your own and share:
4. Watch Life Go By … From Afar
I know right now we may not be able to sit in a cafe and just watch life go by. That would be option one for a regular day. But these or not normal times thanks to COVID-19.
Instead, may I suggest some nature watching playlists on Youtube. These were created to make you relax and provide background noise to your day. Pick a playlist that is soothing. I particularly like train rides:
- Slow TV
- Nature Relaxation Films
- A few road trips from Alberta:
5. Write It Down
Journaling is also a good activity to clear your mind. Get the stuff that’s bothering you, out of your head and onto paper.
Clearing out, making space, tidying up, YES it can be a form of meditation and help bring some peace to your life.
I have a few posts to get you started:
- 7 Tips to Start Decluttering
- 7 Decluttering Rules
- Should You Try the KonMari Method
- 20 Things to Declutter
7. Meditate Anyway
Haha! Did you see that one coming?
Can’t meditate? Try it anyway, even just for 2 minutes a day. But don’t take it so seriously, you are just trying to meditate. If your mind wanders, it’s normal, just come back to your breath. Even if you think you’re doing it wrong, like I was, just try it.
Here are some programs and app suggestions I’ve used in the past:
- Calm – My personal favourite
- Insight Timer – Recent recommendation that I really like (you can set up your timer with sound markers or reminders, that will bring your mind back to awareness)
- Deepak Chopra & Oprah – I’ve joined in these free 21-Day Challenges and found it helpful
- Headspace – This one is also really popular
I hope you are staying safe and well during these times.
If you have any other suggestions for meditative activities, I would love to hear about them in the comments.