The first month of the year is traditionally set aside to make resolutions and set out our intentions for the year ahead. Many of our objectives are around losing weight, doing more exercise, getting healthy, changing jobs, etc. Sometimes we’re so busy thinking about our future selves that we forget to enjoy the present.
Buddha said to live in the here and now. He said, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” But when we have busy lives, bills to pay, resolutions to keep, and families to look after, how can we live for the day 2017?
You don’t need lots of spare cash to enjoy life and have a good time. Sometimes some of the best experiences are those that cost little or no money at all. There are lots of ways to free up money from bills and household expenses by shopping around to find the best deal or obtaining coupons. Websites such as forum.dontpayfull.com offer lots of advice and ideas.
There are lots of fun things to do that cost no money at all. For example:
- Reading and listening to audiobooks from the library
- Going for a walk
- Inviting friends round for a cup of tea and chat
- Saving your favorite programs and watching them all together on a cozy night in with your partner
- Remember when you were a teenager and you danced in your bedroom? What’s to stop you doing that now?
- Visiting a local gallery or exhibition
These activities don’t take much planning or organization. These are things you can do whenever you have some free time.
- Something To Look Forward To
There are going to be busy days. And there are going to be days when everything seems to go wrong, and things fall apart. To get through, try planning one small thing to look forward to at the end of the day. This could be half an hour reading your book, a long hot soak in the tub, time to read to your kids before bed, etc. Having one thing each day to look forward to won’t miraculously solve all your problems but it will make it a tiny bit easier to get through them. And at least you’ll go to bed having done one thing that you enjoyed.
Setting up something to look forward to each day, is a great way to keep you in the present, or at least in that day. If some things in your life are fun and enjoyable, you won’t be tempted to wish your life away, constantly waiting for things to change.
Just as you would schedule time for exercise, it’s important to schedule time for relaxation as I shared in a previous post. And sleeping doesn’t count. Going through a process of winding down after a busy day will help your physical and mental health. It will allow you to feel happier and calmer. Sites like mindful.org offer tips on practicing mindfulness, which helps you relax and keeps you grounded in the present.
- Switch Off Your Phone
The next time you’re out with your friends or family, try switching off your phone. Wordsworth described his writing process as ‘emotion recollected in tranquility’. The key word here is recollected. He appreciated and enjoyed being in nature but didn’t stop what he was doing to agonize over recording it right there and then.
The next time you’re out enjoying your surroundings, make the most of that time. Don’t spoil the moment by stopping to record it on Facebook or Instagram. Switch off your cell and immerse yourself fully in that moment.