Any woman worth her salt will be so riddled with anxiety – are you thin enough? Are you fun enough? Are you having enough sex? Are you a slag? – that she’ll have seriously considered, or even attended, an extortionate mindfulness retreat. And while six weeks in a secluded Alpine village, being taught by kaftan-wearing coaches how to curb your inane and constant chatter and chew a grape properly, may help you for a while, believe us when we say: it won’t last. As soon as you get back, you’ll be straight on WhatsApp obsessively checking that the ticks have gone blue and weighing single lentils to make sure you don’t overdo your calories for the day (good for you!).
If you’re actually going to be mindful, you need to be constantly mindful. It’s not enough just to consider the feeling of the pavement beneath your new heels when you’re worried about the bus being late; you’ve got to stop being worried about the bus in the first place. Fail to do this, and you fail yourself. We should also say that fear of failure and the associated stress are not the friends of mindfulness, so try to relax. Otherwise you’ll fail. Eek! Complicated, I know.
The team here at Glamourless are a pretty calm and well-adjusted bunch, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to put together a set of guidelines that will allow you to weave mindfulness into every second of your life. It’ll take some getting used to, but it’ll set you up for a more robust future.
Of course you can be mindful when you sleep. Allow your subconscious to control you, and you may as well be acting out your night terrors in real life: tap-dancing naked in the senior management meeting, for example, or existing as a human-sized block of poisoned Cheddar whose sole aim is to eradicate the 10-foot mice that now inhabit post-apocalypse Britain.
Perfect your pre-sleep routine with these easy steps:
- Remove and intricately fold and iron the clothes you were wearing all day
- Stand next to your bed and ritualistically don your pyjamas, taking at least five minutes to do up each button, really enjoying the satisfaction of being securely fastened into your clothing
- Move slowly into the bathroom, appreciating the different textures underfoot – wood, carpet, tile, stone, moss – and prepare to melt off your make-up mask
- Heat a flannel and drape it over your face for 30-45 minutes, breathing in the steam and have a good long think about any stupid shit you said at work today
- Wipe off your make-up and stare at your bare skin for as long as it takes for you to feel either okay with or prohibitively nauseated by your reflection
- Ask yourself ‘Why?’ aloud for a few minutes, and absorb the answers into your very being
- Clean your teeth mindfully: spend around 10 minutes on each tooth, carefully brushing and stroking every last bit of its surface area (this isn’t BDA-approved, but whatever)
- Dab lavender oil over your eye bags and hands, watch it absorb into your skin, smell that piney, floral scent and ask yourself why you don’t live out in the open
- Quickly drink as much water as you can manage
- Get into bed and fill out your mindfulness diary
- Count to 30 at whatever pace feels right to you, and brief your subconscious on what you’d like to dream about
- Set your alarm for work in the morning – if you’ve actually done all of the above properly, it should have taken around five hours, so treat yourself to two or three hours’ well-earned kip
- If you feel tired the next day, you probably did something wrong
Think you can’t be mindful at work? You’re insane! Here are some key ways you can bring mindfulness into everyday professional moments.
Don’t be rushed into saying anything, even if you’ve called the meeting or are required to present something to a large group of people. Formulate every phrase you utter well in advance, and don’t be afraid to say everything very slowly, too – that is, if you choose to say anything at all.
It’s worth poring over every word you write in an email. Take the time to feel the power in your fingers as they connect with the keyboard. Close your eyes and take long, deep breaths in between every sentence you write. Don’t be afraid to look up synonyms online if a particular word doesn’t sit right with you. To be truly mindful, it’s wise to think of every email you write as part of your wider oeuvre. So what if you’ve got a deadline? So what if people are sending you ‘high priority’ messages and calling you asking why you haven’t responded? So what if they’re threatening you with a performance review? They’re not being mindful, and that’s their problem.
If you want a coffee, have a coffee, but make sure it’s the right one. At the machine, carefully scrutinise every option available to you. Breathing deeply in and out, run your fingers gently over each button and feel the energy: what’s the right choice? It’s normal for this decision-making process to last at least 15 minutes, but just let it happen. Ignore the queue of people forming behind you, and pay no attention to their increasingly violent comments and threats.
It’s hard to date mindfully, but it is possible. Eschew the furious swiping left and right (mostly right: beggars can’t be choosers, am I right, gals?!) that has typified your dating app experience so far: interrogate every profile while breathing deeply in and out. We really can’t overemphasise this breathing thing. Zoom in on every photo. Enjoy the weight of your phone in your hands. You’re in control, but this isn’t about control.
When on your date, be sure to feel deeply thankful for every moment. Take the menu in your hands and trace its corners with your index finger, remembering the trees that died to make it. Treasure the presence of your date sitting opposite you by gently running your hand over his face, cupping his chin with your palm and pulling thoughtfully at his hair. Absorb with wonder the very experience of this first date: the banal small talk beaming its way to you from his mouth, the incessant banging of the soundtrack, the vinegar-like wine in your hand. This is what life is all about.
Let us know how you’re being more mindful every day in the comments below! And remember, it’s never going to be enough!