Wellness & Mindfulness at Home: Mindful Moments
What exactly is mindfulness? It is the act of consciously focusing your mind in the present moment without judgement and without attachment to the moment (Linehan, 2015). It can help us become more aware of what is going on for us internally and externally.
At the center of mindfulness is knowing that you are not your thoughts or emotions – you experience them. You are the witness to all these passing experiences. Mindfulness helps us step back so that we are less pushed around by our thoughts and feelings; and in that pause we have greater ability to choose how we respond.
There are many mindfulness techniques, but like exercising, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Different things resonate for different people, so enjoy experimenting with these tips and tools and see what works best for you.
For starters, build a daily routine. Routines give a sense of rhythm to our day which is deeply comforting. It also helps to promote the chance of better-quality sleep, which we all know is central to feeling good. As best as possible, keep regularity to the time you wake up. Kick off your morning with a healthy breakfast so you can think with clarity and get dressed in an outfit that helps you feel put together. Set some loose boundaries to your working day, with a time that you clock on, taking breaks to refresh, and a time when you wind down in the evening. Set aside time for relaxation in combination to work and activity so you’re ready to hit the ground running the following day.
Next, create a restful and mindful environment. Design a space around your house that encourages the ability to free your mind, be creative, and recharge. That space may be inside or outside but it’s somewhere that allows you to disconnect, even for a few minutes, to focus on a mindfulness practice such as reading, journaling, drawing, reviewing your calendar, texting or calling a friend.
Focus your mind. When your mind feels overwhelmed, full of worry or anxiety, bring it back to something constructive by thinking about what lies within your control. We can get caught in an endless spiral of ‘what ifs’, but ‘what can I do’ puts you back in the driver’s seat. If your mind keeps flitting to things beyond your control, go gently on yourself and use healthy distractions. Maybe this is an indication that you need a change.
Enjoy micro moments. Fit in soothing practices to help you feel a sense of wellbeing. It can be as simple as massaging in some hand balm with a scent you love, music, or a minute of meditation to calm you. If you stop for a snack, take time to think about what you’re eating. Why you like to eat it and how it makes you feel. This is a great exercise to tune in to your senses and emotions.
Just breathe. This is so important. Simply slowing down your breath can calm your mind and body. Breathing Exercise: If focusing on the breath alone feels difficult, move with the breath instead: find a comfortable place to rest your hands, palms facing upwards. As you breathe in, open your hands fully and as you breathe out, make a gentle fist. Keep focusing on the movement of your hands and notice how this relaxes your breathing – a great distraction from negative or unhelpful thoughts.
Make time to connect with others. Connection is like heart & soul food. Make the time to talk on the phone, send a text to check in and just communicate with others. It is good for you and others.
The final thing is, “reboot yourself.” You are no different from your devices, so switch off and nourish yourself with downtime. Mindful choices include podcasts/audiobooks, guided relaxation like ‘yoga’, jog or walk outdoors, or try journaling and reflection time.
I hope between all of these different mindfulness practices that you find one or many that work well for you. Take a step towards a better you today.