Saturday, 2 May 2020
During these unusual circumstances - while all homes in the UK are under lockdown and there is an air of uncertainty and ambiguity - stress levels are likely to be quite high. You may be having to juggle family life alongside work life, you may be struggling to combat boredom due to lack of routine or you may be a key worker who is unable to switch off after a demanding shift. Whatever situation you find yourself in, practising mindfulness is something that may help to ease this stress and bring you a sense of calm and wellbeing.
Mindfulness can be defined as being centred and living in the present moment. Start by keeping to a routine - create a timetable that involves work, household chores and exercise, but most importantly, make sure you balance it out with something that you love doing too, such as reading a book or relaxing with a cup of coffee.
Practice meditation once a day. Meditation involves finding some quiet time to focus on your breathing, thoughts and sensations in your body. This could be incorporated into daily activities, such as gardening, doing the washing up, partaking in a virtual yoga class - or it could be during a specific time slot where you log into an app such as Calm, which encourages you to take some time for yourself. Even if you only find time to stop for just a few minutes, it can help calm your mind and reduce anxiety levels. Mind UK have more useful advice online on how to meditate.
During daily exercise, whether it’s walking, running or cycling, take time to notice the feeling of your body moving. Sense the breeze of the wind or the warmth of the sun against your skin and take in the different scents around you. By taking time to draw upon your senses, you’ll be able encourage a sense of inner calm that helps you to relax.
Partake in some mindful colouring or drawing. It can be amazing when you sit down and focus on the sensation of your pencil against the paper or absorbing yourself in a detailed image. You could purchase a mindfulness colouring book online or download some printable images.
Finally, create a journal with all the positive things that have happened that day. There are numerous mindfulness journals online, including the Dailygreatness Wellness Journal if you want to treat yourself, but all you really need is a notebook and pen. Writing is a powerful way to slow down and check in with oneself. Every day, make a note of two or three things that made you smile. Sometimes the little things go unobserved, but they are things that can make a big difference to our mental health.