The path to becoming holistic and wholesome is often a path of stopping bad habits and activities and starting new ones. However, this can often feel overwhelming when trying to figure out what fits in with our new values and how we should be spending our time rather than, for example, watching Netflix for hours, smoking weed constantly, playing video games all day, or eating junk food all the time. For instance, when I started to restructure how I spend my time I was looking for activities that fit in with my minimalistic, wholesome, growth, creativity, and holistically health-centered values. As I started to narrow down my long-term goals I broke activities down in categories that fit under each of those goals. After doing this, though, I realized this still left out a lot of activities I still felt were wholesome and fun. So I created a secondary list of activities that I still felt fit in with my values and that I would feel okay spending my time on but that didn’t necessarily help me work towards my specific goals. While it’s great to spend a large part of our time on our goals it’s also nice to still have time to relax and do things we enjoy that can still be good for us.
Here I’m going to lay out all of the activities I found that fit under these values that you can do anywhere you are at any time with little to no materials:
Practicing mindfulness is something that you can literally do at any moment. Even if you have a simple lull during work of a couple of minutes this is a great thing to fill that gap with. Practice noticing whatever may be happening in your experience without engaging with it or thinking about it. This may be as simple as hearing whatever noises are going on, focusing on emotions or stress that may have been going unnoticed, or even smells in the room. This simple pause can be a great way to start to get in the habit of being mindful throughout the day, opening up more space in your mind, and teaching you more about your experience.
Meditation has been getting more and more recognized in the west. Sadly it’s been put in the context of being something that can help productivity and stress. While not untrue this is like saying drinking water can wet your tongue. Yes, it can wet your tongue but it can also nourish your entire body, make every cell happy and work better, and keep you healthy in myriad ways. Meditation is a practice of learning about your experience and the power of your mind down to the most fundamental levels. It is the formal practice of awakening in the most practical sense. Meditation, while including mindfulness, is something that you can intentionally sit down and practice really learning what your mind can do and what experience is really about. You can do this literally anywhere from 5 minutes to however long you may like. For a great resource on meditation check out The Mind Illuminated by Culudasa (John Yates Ph.D.). This book combines Neuroscience and traditions in mediation for an overall spectacular resource for this practice in the west.
Smile, breathe, straighten your back, and smell the roses
Never underestimate the simple effects of smiling, taking some deep calming breaths, fixing your posture, and appreciating whatever you can at any given moment. These are things you can do at literally any time that will help in subtle ways to help you be happier, more content, and less stressed. This helps create positive mental states throughout your day and the more you make this a habit the more it can do for your overall perspective.
Yoga and Qigong
These ancient practices focusing on flexibility, strength, stamina, positive mental health, and holistic health in general, have been proven through time to be effective and great ways to spend your time to help yourself throughout your entire life. Yoga comes from the general region of what is modern-day India and Qigong comes from China, two of the oldest civilizations in history. These traditions have made their way into Western culture more recently, yoga for a little longer than Qigong. Like meditation, the focus the west has put on them has barely scratched the surface of their benefits. It’s not just about stress and physical postures but connecting your experience, your mind, and your body to be one process that works together to create holistic health. The mind and the body are intimately connected and these practices not only help you realize that but help you work towards using this fact to increase your overall positive experience in life.
Educate Yourself on the Effects of What You Do and Buy
Assuming you have a phone and access to the internet this is something you can easily do. Research the products you buy and the effects they have on the environment, the people that are making them, and if you’re buying from companies that are large corporations or local companies; essentially what your money is going towards.
This is something better during the warm months but you can always go outside and find some free hiking trails, find a nice spot in nature to just relax, plant some flowers or trees, or go on a walk or bike ride. Never underestimate the power of the sun and the pretty much limitless fractals available in nature. Fractals have been shows to help the mind recover from stress and restore cognitive abilities. The pure fractals of nature are the most powerful of all. Additionally, the sun gives you a nutrient you can’t really get anywhere else as effectively, Vitamin D, which helps boost your mood incredibly. Research has been done at the University of Utah and other universities across the US on Attention Restoration Theory (ART), originally posited by Stephen and Rachel Kaplan, which shows that being in nature helps restore attentional capacities after even short times. Even looking at pictures of nature can help so imagine what a good amount of time in the real thing can do!
Hopefully, you’ve found some good ideas of what you can spend your time on now that you’re shifting how you spend it and changing your values. Thanks for reading!