Five Activities That Will Help You Be Mindful

Posted by Deea Deb on May 25, 2021

Mental Health & Wellbeing

Photocollage of plants, zentangle doodles, puzzles, the galaxy and nature.
Here are five activities to help you be mindful!

Hey Lions! With vaccinations in full swing and the end to the pandemic seemingly closer, staying healthy has never been more important.  Here where I am in Ontario, most businesses are still shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Regardless of what the situation is like where you are in the world, it’s always good to stay mindful of your mental health. If you are blanking on how to be more mindful of your health, fear not! This #YUBlog is here with five activities that will help you be more mindful.

Puzzles

Illustration of piles of puzzle pieces in several shades of green.
Make that picture come to life!

Have you ever tried one of those huge 3000-piece puzzles? They may look intimidating, but once you get into it, your mind lets go of all other things and helps you focus your energies on one thing—the puzzle. If you live with family or roommates, include them too! It is a great way to cut down distractions and spend time being still.

If ginormous puzzles are not your thing, and you want to hone your critical thinking or vocabulary skills, try your hand at Sudoku, crosswords, word searches or even a good old game of Scrabble.

Talking about crosswords, what is an eight-letter word for the place we live in?  The Universe, of course! Our next recommendation will bring out the astronomer in you.

Stargazing

Illustration of a person lying on the ground at night and stargazing.
Can you spot the Big Dipper in this illustration?

I’m taking an Astronomy course right now, and I’ve realized that stargazing isn’t just for the hopeless romantics that we see in movies. Don’t worry, you don’t have to take a class or own a telescope to stargaze! You can just look up.

Looking up at the night sky to see all the sparkling stars, constellations, and planets can have a calming effect on our mind. Grab your favourite cup of herbal tea, get outside, and discover what the sky has to offer. May is one of the best months to spot some of the brightest objects in the sky—the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Polaris, the Big Dipper, Arcturus, and more! 

Walking/Hiking

A girl hiking in the woods
Get some fresh air!

Nature hikes are a great way to de-stress. Head out to a park (make sure you practice social distancing) and explore winding trails among trees, flowers, and woodland animals. Take advantage of the summer weather, a cool drink, and find yourself in nature.

If you are not much of a hiker, carry a book, find a nice grassy, shady spot, and lose yourself in your favourite story. If you want to connect with nature but cannot step outside, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Gardening

Illustration of 4 stages of plant growth, from bud to bloom.
Plants bring so much joy to a space. Are you a plant parent?

Whether you have a fully landscaped garden or a tiny plant on your desk, taking care of plants is a great way to connect with the Earth.

Turn off your cellphone, feel the soil, smell the air and take a slow, deep breath. Water lightly and listen to the sound of the water hitting the earth. Silently state your intentions—”May you grow and may you be healthy.” Connect with the nature around you.

Just thinking about this is making me zen!

Speaking of zen, here’s our next recommendation…

Zentangle

Photo of a Zentangle doodle and two Pigma Micron pens
You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to start!

If you haven’t caught on to this trend, Zentangle is a self-help art therapy practice to enhance relaxation and focus. It is not a mere doodling tactic. Zentangle itself is relatively new, but the basic principles of design involved are from ancient cultures like the Mayan, Maori, Celtic. It is based on a human behavior in which one refrains from planning and allows lines and shapes to unintentionally emerge.

While the traditional practice of Zentangling uses three-and-a-half-inch square tiles made of a special paper, you can completely break the rules and doodle on whatever type of paper you want to. This repetitive creative work, in and of itself, can be calming and self-soothing. Google Zentangle to find some doodling inspiration.

Let us know in the comments below, what you are doing to be mindful this year.

To stay up to date on campus life and events, connect with York on social media. You can follow us on Facebook @YorkUStudents, Twitter @YorkUStudents, Instagram @studentlifeyu and with our weekly This Week @ York emails.

Illustrations and photos by Michelle Tieu.

Deea Deb
Deea Deb

Deea Deb is a second-year English and Professional Writing double major at York University. She loves reading, travelling, being organized, and hoarding unnecessary quantities of planners and stationery. She hopes to help York students succeed at university.

See other posts by Deea Deb

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