Sometimes we are just so busy that we forget to stop and appreciate where we are right now, and just be IN the moment. I know I am very guilty of this sometimes.

So how can we make sure we take the time to step back and be more in touch with ourselves?

Well on a personal level, I try to make sure now that I get out early in the morning every day with my two lovely doggies, Skye & Mouse, rain, snow or shine (and yes I definitely prefer the shine, it has to be said!!). It gives me the opportunity to appreciate the beautiful countryside that I live in, and which I often take for granted (or worse, dismiss because of the weather!), and to take stock of what is going on in my life. Getting out early really sets me up for the day, and I feel energised and ready to tackle whatever is in store.

But it wasn’t always that way – I used to find it so hard to get up early and get going in the mornings. I have always been a night owl – feeling quite alert in the evenings – and that was typically the time when I used to get a lot of work done. I still do that from time to time, especially if my husband is away and I have the house to myself. I often tell myself that I will have a bath and an early night, but I end up having the bath – and then getting distracted by all the things I need to do and before I know it it’s nearly midnight! So much for the early night!!

However, after a trip to Australia a couple of years ago where we were getting up at around 5.30am and going to the beach for a workout before “starting” the day, I enjoyed it so much that I vowed to keep it up when we got back home. And lo and behold I actually did! It was a struggle at first because the weather wasn’t as nice (Scotland versus Australia – no contest really!!) and it was still quite dark in the mornings, but I made myself do it, wrapping up warm those first cold mornings, and before long it was a regular habit.

I have done it now for so long that I really miss it when I have a day that I can’t go (such as last Friday morning when I had to take my car to the garage early before going out to teach my kettlebell class). And of course in the winter the dark mornings make it just that bit harder to be quite so early – unless I take a head torch!!

But as we head towards summer, these past few weeks have started to get warmer and it’s lighter earlier and it is such a fantastic feeling to be out when there is no-one about. The peace and quiet is so uplifting – and it’s where I have my most creative thoughts of the day. There are a couple of other regular early birds that I pass from time to time and we all have a beaming smile, clearly enjoying our mindful morning time.

Of course we might not all be living in idyllic surroundings, and being outside in a busy street may not have the same appeal, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some peace and quiet and get ourselves ready for the day ahead. It just takes a little more creativity to find a special place just for you. If you have a garden that is an ideal place to start, or just creating a little area in your house that is clutter free and calm can work wonders. Even just sitting and looking out of the window – daydreaming really.

So as a start, allow yourself at least 5 minutes today to be really mindful. It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning (although there IS something pretty special about that time of day). Just find a quiet spot to sit and breathe. Not trying to actively meditate, but just to sit quietly, noticing what is around you, appreciating the value in just being, just existing. Become aware of sights, smells and sounds around you and drink them in peacefully. Allow yourself to let go of any niggling worries, just for those 5 minutes, and be really in the moment.

When you are able to do this regularly, increase the time you are able to spend doing this. Getting some headspace, however limited, is a proven way to reduce stress levels and to appreciate yourself and your life just a little bit more.

Enjoy your 5 minutes!

Do you find it easy to fit some mindfulness into your day? I would love to hear your comments!