You know the phrase “stop and smell the roses?”
I always thought it sounded a little cheesy. But now that we’re in the seventh month of quarantine (wow!), I’m starting to think that whoever thought of that phrase has the right idea.
I used to be all about bucket lists, but I want to introduce you to the “Thimble List” — AKA “the stop and smell the roses list.”
Bucket lists are where you put your big goals, like publishing a book or visiting a national park. These are great goals and bucket lists are an amazing way to keep track of them.
But now that the COVID-19 pandemic has made our worlds feel smaller and slowed everything down, I’m all about focusing on gratitude — like stopping to smell the roses (through my mask, of course).
Here’s how you can write a “Thimble List” to reduce your stress and start being more mindful.
1) Think about where you already find joy in your life.
Is your morning coffee or tea the highlight of your day? Or walking your dog in the evening? Taking a long bath?
Brainstorm a few things in your routine that are already making you feel happy.
Then think about why those things make you happy. These are things you can add to your Thimble List, such as “notice the trees changing on my walk” and “practice gratitude for the smell of my coffee.”
2) Keep it fresh.
If you’re having trouble thinking about what brings you joy in your current routine, think about the things that you miss from the pre-COVID world. How can you bring elements of those things into your life?
Add something like “start looking for birds whenever I’m outside” to your Thimble List. (I’ve become obsessed with doing this by the way and love the Merlin Bird ID app to help identify my new friends.)
You’ll be surprised by how big and beautiful familiar places feel when you start trying to notice new things.
3) Prioritize what brings you happiness.
Once you know what small, everyday things bring you joy, make sure multitasking isn’t undermining your mindfulness. Give yourself enough time to really enjoy that bath or cup of coffee or tea.
If you try to rush through it, you won’t really enjoy it and you’ll probably be more stressed and less productive that day.
This is similar to the Japanese idea of kotsu-kotsu, which is doing one thing at a time and really focusing on that thing.
Making a Thimble List helps you take advantage of all the opportunities for joy that are already present in your daily routine. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – sometimes you need to look at your day through the eyes of an intern. It will help you gain a new perspective of how awesome it really is.
What’s on your Thimble List? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!