21 Tips to Finding More Zen & Calm in Every Day

With a busy corporate job, family, commuting, rushing, meetings, and lunch breaks, finding a moment for yourself can be hard. How can you bring more zen to your day? 

What do I mean by zen? A moment of quiet, a moment to just sit…just be…and breathe. Sometimes, I hold my breath while reading emails or doing work, then realize I haven’t been breathing properly.

Finding zen in your day can be challenging, but you’ll thank yourself for that quiet moment. It can be a life-changing, helping you to cultivate a sense of calm, balance, and inner peace. 

Finding more zen and calm in your day
Photo by Amy Treasure on Unsplash

Here are 21 ways you can incorporate more zen into your daily routine:

1. Morning Meditation

Start your day with a few minutes of mindful meditation to set a positive tone for the day ahead. One of my favorites includes this one by Boho Beautiful Yoga.

2. Deep Breathing

Take regular breaks throughout the day to focus on your breath, taking slow, deep breaths to center yourself and reduce stress. Count in to 4, hold for 2, then count out to 4.

Bush walking in nature
One of my regular weekend bushwalks along the trail close to my home.

3. Mindful Eating

Slow down and savor each bite of your meals, paying attention to the food’s flavors, textures, and sensations.

4. Nature Walks

Take a stroll in nature, immersing yourself in the beauty of the natural world and allowing it to rejuvenate your senses. From walking holidays to a quick stroll around the block, moving your legs can be a great kickstart or break from your day. Putting in the motion of left, right, left, and right is enough to literally ‘jog’ your brain to reset. Forest bathing has incredible benefits and is gaining momentum around the world.

5. Journaling

I’ve been journaling since I was a kid and have tried all kinds of different techniques. Depending on what I’m going through, I like it mix it up and try different prompts to get started. Have a look through our detailed guide to journaling to find something that works for you.

Spend a few minutes each day writing down your thoughts, feelings, and reflections to gain clarity and perspective. Daily journaling can improve your mental health and help you ‘download’ all of the mental load of tasks or worries that might be holding you back or clouding your mind.

Journaling to find more zen
Image via Notely Stationery

I’m an avid journaler, and if I’m going through a period of feeling ‘stuck,’ I will kick start my Morning Pages, coined by writer Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way.

6. Yoga Practice

Engage in a yoga session, stretching and flowing through poses to promote physical and mental well-being. Hatha yoga is a great all-around yoga style for energy, increasing flexibility, and adding more zen to your life. Or, for complete relaxation, try yin yoga or restorative yoga.

7. Decluttering

Clear out physical and mental clutter to create a more peaceful and organized environment. It’s time to channel your best Marie Kondo and sort through every room or cupboard with clutter. All of this clutter around you could be adding to your anxiety, and there’s nothing like the fresh, light feeling of a good cleanout!

8. Digital Detox

Disconnect from technology for a designated period each day, allowing yourself to be fully present in the moment. I recently read Stolen Focus, and the author, Johann Hari, discusses the benefits of doing a digital detox away from the erratic connections of social media, email, and notifications.

9. Gratitude Practice

Take time to express gratitude for the blessings in your life, whether through journaling, affirmations, or sharing with others. In his book The Resilience Project, Hugh van Culenburg encourages writing down 3 things you are grateful for daily.

I was so inspired by this book and how gratitude journaling can change your mindset that I did this daily for a year. Before bed each night, I’d grab my notebook and jot down those three things from the day. Some days it was quite hard, others I felt there was so much to be grateful for.

It really makes you appreciate the little things in your day… sometimes it was a smile and a hug from my partner or playing with my dog in the backyard. There were little moments of joy that I could re-read over and remember down the track. And on a day when it felt like I couldn’t think of ANYTHING, it would make me smile reading back through so many months of gratitude moments.

10. Mindful Movement

Engage in Tai Chi or Qigong, focusing on slow, intentional movements to cultivate mindfulness and balance.

Through COVID lockdowns, I started practicing Qigong and loved the friendly, warm voice of Qigong with Kseny’s channel. On a day when you don’t feel up to a workout, the gentle movement brings a lightness and helps refresh your energy.

Mindful walking in the bush
In my happy place, out on my weekend bushwalk.

11. Mindful Walking

Take a mindful walk in your neighborhood, a park, or any peaceful outdoor setting. Pay attention to each step you take, the sensation of your feet touching the ground, and the rhythmic movement of your body.

Take a moment to engage your senses by noticing the sights, sounds, and smells around you. Allow yourself to be fully present in the moment and appreciate walking as a form of meditation and connection with the world around you.

12. Tea Meditation

I had the most incredible tea ceremony with Ourania Karydis at her beautiful yoga and wellness studio.

More regularly at home, I brew a cup of tea or ceremonial cacao and mindfully sip it, savoring the warmth and flavors while fully present. If time permits, I’ll sit in the garden and listen to the birds chirping in the trees.

Tea Ceremony via Ourano Yoga

13. Creative Expression

Engage in a creative activity that brings you joy, such as painting, writing, playing an instrument, or crafting. Through COVID, I found joy and moments of zen in playing with clay and paints at home. I bought one of the Crockd pottery kits to escape the screen and have fun making with a friend.

14. Digital Mindfulness

Set boundaries for your digital interactions, limit screen time, and consciously choose how and when to engage with technology. Close down your tabs! Focus on one project at a time.

If you turn off your computer and phone notifications during work and focus times, you’ll get more done in less time as your brain can work deeper. Cal Newport’s latest book, Slow Productivity goes deep into this discussion. He does fewer things at a slower pace and is mindful of what apps and platforms he puts his energy into.

15. Mindful Listening

Practice active listening in your conversations, giving your full attention to the person speaking without judgment or distraction. We’re all guilty of thinking about something else while someone’s speaking to us.

It is time to slow down, listen, and be in the moment.

16. Mindful Stretching

Take short breaks throughout the day to stretch your body, releasing tension and promoting relaxation. Go Chlo’s everyday stretch class is one of my all-time go-to’s at the end of the day. After a long day of sitting or running around, it’s just 15 minutes to stretch out your back, hips, and neck—and your body will thank you for it!

17. Self-Compassion

Treat yourself with kindness and compassion, acknowledging your strengths and accepting your imperfections.

18. Aromatherapy

Use essential oils or scented candles to create a soothing atmosphere and promote relaxation. Finding more zen might not be an active task; if you have your diffuser on while cleaning the home, you’re adding more zen without doing anything extra – what a bonus! Some of my preferred blends for more zen in the home include the home sanctuary kit from Perfect Potion and Woolzies self-care essential oil kit.

PerfectPotion ChakraEssentialOils 1
Chakra Essential Oil Blends Kit by Perfect Potion

19. Mindful Commuting

Transform your commute into a zen experience by listening to calming music or podcasts or practicing mindfulness. One of my favorite clips is the commuting meditation on the Balance app. It encourages you to be present, observe what’s around you, and have a moment of zen on the way to work.

20. Digital Boundaries

Establish specific times for checking emails and social media, allowing yourself dedicated periods of uninterrupted focus and relaxation. Read more about the benefits of doing a digital detox.

21. Bedtime Ritual

Create a calming bedtime routine that includes reading, a warm bath, or practicing gentle stretches to prepare your body and mind for restful sleep. Listen to rain sounds or a bedtime meditation to help you wind down.

In Summary

Remember, finding space to breathe amongst a busy day can be hard. Finding more zen and calm, is a personal (and lifelong!) journey.

Experiment! See what works for you. I’ve tried many combinations of these self-care tactics to fit over the years. Adapt them to fit your lifestyle. And I hope you’ll see more zen and calm in your daily life.

As Marie Kondo says, “Does it bring you joy?” I hope this list of my experiences has inspired you to find more zen in your day!

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