Mindfulness practices can make your most dreaded daily chores into meditations

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With the limited time we have here on Earth, it really stinks that so much of it has to be spent doing boring, pointless chores like cleaning the bathroom and paying the bills.

But while these tasks may seem like the furthest possible thing from a restorative meditation session, mindfulness experts say they are actually ripe opportunities to be present in the moment, and enjoy life more. A simple shift in perspective can help you to find joy even in these mundane experiences. And isn’t joy so much better than dread?

Here are the tangible steps mindfulness and meditation experts…


And no, it isn’t meditation, though that helps too!

Photo by Lidya Nada on Unsplash

I was feeling down yesterday. Just that usual sadness we all have: questioning where I am, where I’m going, and feeling like I’m not doing enough to bridge those two places.

I’ve read about the scientifically-backed ways to get us out of a funk: looking for the upside, exercise, meditation/deep breathing, writing down what you’re grateful for. And they all work beautifully. But for me, it’s an item on my “gratefulness list” that truly turns my mood around, and pretty quickly at that:

FOOD.

Okay, not just food as in: “I…


You can still do good, even if you can’t donate

Photo by Kat Yukawa on Unsplash

No matter your political affiliation, we can all probably agree there is an abundance of worthy causes to support right now. From immigration to health rights to environmental concerns, news is dropping daily with stories of efforts that need our help.

In general, it’s easy to feel helpless in the face of these dire situations. And, it’s even easier to feel this way if you don’t have much extra cash. Many of the “action taking” suggestions I see involve donating money to organizations that are fighting on the front lines…


What to pack and how to cook it — Part I

Now that it’s officially fall, it’s full-blown camping season for many people — including me! I only started going camping last year, but now it’s something I prioritize in my summer/fall plans. I love delving into nature, not having any service so I can truly disconnect, and honestly, being kind of dirty. Ok, obviously not in a super gross way (if that’s you, no judgment!), but not feeling the pressure to shower every time I get sweaty or to look presentable all the time, and simply having a little…


Just in time for Halloween!

I LOVE throwing parties, but since I live in a tiny apartment on a limited budget, I reserve it for only once or twice a year. Mostly, my birthday. And what would a party be without a good theme?

Four years ago I started with a typical BOO!zy Halloween Brunch (complete with apple cider mimosas, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, and scary movies), and have stepped it up a notch each year since. The following year I did a Childhood “Throwback” Party with chicken nuggets, PB&J’s, spiked Capri Sun and Yoo Hoo, and board games. And…


Starting your day like a spa visit, instead of a race to the finish line

Lots of articles about morning routines focus on jump-starting the day with productivity. From the way business leaders and celebs do it, to what studies prove is most effective— we are clearly a culture obsessed with the start of our day.

But lately, I’ve been taking a different approach. In fact, it’s more of the opposite approach. I’ve been taking my mornings slow and chill, and instead of invoking laziness into the rest of my day (which is what I guess the fear is), it…


As I’ve written in different ways before, there’s nothing I love more than coming home, opening the refrigerator door and seeing a quarter jar of vodka sauce, three carrots, two handfuls of spinach, and half a can of black beans. AKA: random leftover ingredients. It’s my own personal version of Food Network’s “Chopped” at dinner each night, except there are no harsh culinary judges. (I made a quick vegetarian chili, btw).

The other day this was especially true because I was leaving for a two-week trip. …


In the summer, I follow my own “1/3 Rule” for cooking ingredients…in this meal, it was the shrimp.

When you’re on a budget, cooking at home doesn’t stop in the summer — even if blaring sunshine and high temps make it insufferable to be in the kitchen.

Especially if you’re in a tiny space, turning the oven on can act like a heating system, and standing over the stove feels like you‘re in your own personal sauna (at least you’re sweating out toxins?). So, in the summer, when I try not to eat out any more than usual, I make it a point to find satisfying, delicious meals that do not involve heat. …


I adore a good meal “hack” — aka half the work, double the reward (the reward being delicious food that didn’t take much time or energy). I even wrote all about pasta meal hacks here!

One place I love to do this — and many other people do too — is at Trader Joe’s. I get why people are obsessed with the grocery store chain: it has a lot of healthier snack options, is affordable, and one thing that’s perhaps most people’s favorite part: the prepared food/meal section is truly unrivaled.


(And Aren’t Smoothies!)

French “Tartines” make an excellent upgraded version of toast.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day — or is it? Despite conflicting research, it’s still an integral part of the morning for most of us: at best, it kick-starts our systems and sets the tone for the rest of the day, and at worst, it’s just another boring part of our daily routine.

When I was working a typical 9 to 5 (technically, 6) office job, I ended up eating a granola bar on the subway for breakfast, or if I had time to make something fresh, would pack it up and eat it at my desk…

Claire Leaden

NYC food and culture journalist with bylines in NPR The Salt, The Everygirl, AM New York and others. Read more of my work at www.claireleaden.com.

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