By the time you’ve completed that presentation for work, thought about dinner, planned the kids’ activities for the weekend and remembered to pick the cat up from the vet, at what point do you have time to sit down for five minutes and think about yourself?
This week is Women’s Health Week, and women across Australia are being encouraged to take time to put themselves first. Importantly, this includes looking after your mental wellbeing as well as physical. While it’s easy to get engulfed in the everyday rush of life, taking time to nourish yourself mentally really is a key foundation for overall good health. Think you don’t have time to do this? Here’s five easy ways you can incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life:
Ok, so we get that you do this all day, every day. What we actually mean is to breath consciously and with purpose. Take a minute to sit quietly and focus on your breath. Inhale deeply through your nose and out through your mouth, focusing all your attention on the movement and flow of air. Let go of all your thoughts and be at one with your breath. Do this for a couple of minutes a day to steady and centre yourself.
It’s easy to eat on the run, inhaling your food without even thinking about it. Well, stop and [taste] the roses. Sit down and eat slowly, truly savouring your food. Don’t read or watch TV while eating, focus on the delicious task at hand. Really appreciate your food and listen for your body’s cues that you’re full. You’ll consume less and digest better.
Set yourself a task every day to notice three things that you’re grateful for. Even better if they’re things that normally get taken for granted, such as having a home to live in, heating to keep you warm, green parkland near your work for lunchtime strolls. Really notice how they improve and enrich your life, and give thanks for them. The point is, we spend so much time aspiring to bigger and better things, that we can often miss the great things we already have.
Practise mindful movement, such as yoga, to keep your body active, flexible and strong. It also has the benefit of helping your mind relax and may help reduce stress. If you’re a beginner, it’s recommended you practice with a qualified instructor. Classes also have the benefit of providing a social environment with like-minded people, which can be positive for emotional wellbeing.
The emotional and physical benefits of a good night’s sleep are uncontested, however, many of us are not getting enough sleep or sleep that is poor quality. Make sure you set a regular bedtime and reduce screen-use before you settle down. Create a warm, relaxing environment and use a mask if you need to block out light. The optimum sleep duration is seven hours a night. Then you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to put all your mindfulness practices in place for the day ahead.