By , YMCA Registered Dietitian

The weekend has passed, and now, it’s time to start another busy week. It can be so easy to slip back into the chaos of busyness or get lost in a monotonous routine. But never fear! Practicing mindfulness can be a wonderful way to shake things up and be more present in the moment.

The idea is to fully immerse yourself in your immediate surroundings and connect mind and body as one. This allows you to slow down the world around you and control the noise. Even if it’s just for a minute or two, a bit of calm can chip away at your stress and help you refocus on priorities.

So, this week, instead of succumbing to a case of the Mondays, try practicing the following tips to put your mind at ease and set yourself up for a successful week.

1. Create a positive affirmation and repeat it throughout the day.

Negative thoughts can easily creep into your day and slowly begin to take over your entire mood. What started as a frustration with a dirty pile of laundry is now causing you to tell yourself you are worthless because you can’t keep a clean house. It may sound extreme, but we’ve all been there in some form or fashion.

The idea behind a positive affirmation is that it’s a simple word or phrase that you can repeat to yourself whenever you feel the negativity taking over. Something like “Everything will work out,” “Just let it go” or even “Breathe” can be helpful to repeat throughout the day.

Repetition is key because, pretty soon, it will be positive thoughts that are flooding your brainwaves, and you’ll begin to feel like you can tackle any challenges the week throws your way.

2. Don’t work through your lunch break.

How many times have you muted a conference call so you could take a bite of a sandwich? When was the last time you made it through an entire meal without checking an email? We live in a go-go-go society, where too often, our worth is defined by how much we can get done in a short amount of time. This leads us to rushing through our lunch break, scarfing down whatever is quickest and most convenient, and then barreling right back through the work day.

Today, try instead to focus your attention on the food in front of you and really work on enjoying the smells and flavors. Name them. Not only will you bring peace to the middle of your day, but you’ll also allow your brain enough time to process your meal and achieve satiety (the feeling of being full) before you overeat.

3. Practice waiting with patience.

Each day comes with elevators to wait for, lines to stand in and traffic to suffer through. Our first instinct while we’re stuck waiting is to grab our phones and start scrolling to distract ourselves. These are precious minutes when we could be practicing mindfulness!

Instead of burying your attention in your device today, try looking at your surroundings, noticing the people nearby, the artwork on the walls, the sounds of the busy world around you. By taking just a moment to really align your body, mind and spirit into your immediate place, you can find a sense of calm and peace.

Ultimately, mindfulness takes practice and determination to allow it to become a daily habit. Once you start incorporating these small, mindful tips into your routine, you’ll quickly realize the profound effect they can have on a Monday and all the days following.

Establish healthy habits with the Y

Need more motivation this week? Here are 3 reasons you need to work out on a Monday and printable motivating mantras to provide inspiration. If you're looking for more personal support, get information on nutrition counseling and wellness services offered at your Y. Let us partner with you in reaching your healthy living goals!