In terms of stress relief, the one phrase you’ll hear over and over is “mindfulness.” When you’re stressed out, though, how do you make time for one more thing in your busy schedule? Adding a new habit can definitely suck up a lot of personal energy, which feels counterproductive to stress relief. Here’s a quick-start guide for incorporating mindfulness into your day without taking any time out of your already busy schedule!
What is mindfulness? At the basic level, mindfulness means taking time to slow down and be aware of yourself and your surroundings. So many things demand attention and focus during the day that it’s easy to lose touch with your own basic feelings, thoughts, and senses.
When you envision mindfulness, what do you imagine? Although mindfulness can take the form of meditation in a quiet room, it can mean many other things as well. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere at any time by turning focus inward and slowing down to breathe, reflect, and listen to your mind and body. Below are a few ways you can practice mindfulness throughout the day.
Check in with yourself at the start and end of the day
No matter how busy you are, you have to sleep sometime. This means that you already have time built into each day where you can take a few moments to rest quietly and perform a mindfulness check. In the morning, before you jump up to start your day (and before you check your phone!) pause for a few moments to check in with yourself. This is a great time to do a full body scan, paying close attention to how your body feels from head to toe. Notice without judgment any discomfort or pain you are experiencing, and let yourself be aware of anything that you’re feeling particularly stressed about for the day.
Once you have a good grasp on what your mind and body are telling you, you’ll be able to take a mindful approach to your day’s activities. You may realize that you need to reschedule your lunch appointment so that you can fit in some time for yoga or other exercise. You may feel an ache that reminds you to schedule an appointment with a doctor or massage therapist. Whatever your body tells you, you’ll be able to focus on making mindful choices through the rest of the day.
The same thing can happen right before bed. As you turn out the lights to try to sleep, focus on deep breathing. Check in with yourself again. If there are things that are causing anxiety but can’t be resolved until morning, you may want to make a note of them so they don’t keep you awake at night worrying. You may be also able to process some of the frustrations of the day in a healthy way so that your mind and body can fully relax and rest.
Make self-care into a mindful practice
Setting self-care routines is a great way to let go of stress and make sure you’re recharging your batteries. Adding mindfulness to your self-care routines is a simple way to recenter your thoughts and emotions during the day. You can achieve this in several different ways, such as by focusing on deep breathing, repeating simple affirmations and mantras, or by listening to how your body says it is feeling.
One way you can incorporate some mindfulness into your daily routine is by stopping to be fully in the moment while you apply your TriLASTIN cream to your growing belly each day. As you apply the cream, think through the many ways you are already caring for your unborn child. Taking time to care for yourself is the best way you can take care of your baby right now.
If you decide to focus on some type of affirmation or mantra, you may want to choose something that is relevant and empowering to you in the moment. You may also choose to focus on some core principles or values such as “I am creating value through my interactions with those around me” and imagining the faces of the people you will see during the day. You can simply say, “May they be healthy. May they be happy.” This type of mantra can help focus your energy in a more compassionate and loving way, bringing peace to a demanding schedule.
Take advantage of walking meditation
Although traditional meditation often takes the form of sitting in a comfortable position in a quiet room, this is only one of many forms of meditation. Another popular form is called “walking meditation” and can be practiced by focusing inward on your breath and being aware of the movement in your body as you slowly walk. To fully practice a walking meditation, the joy of healthy movement can promote a peaceful state of mind to work through various stresses or complications.
Feed your senses
Another way to incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life is to simply scan all five of your senses when stress starts to creep in. The first step, of course, is being aware that something seems off balance in some way. Instead of immediately reaching for another cup of coffee or giving in to anxious rumination, try this instead: go through your senses one by one, focusing on what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling.
As you scan your senses, you may become aware of a physical ailment that needs attention. You may, however, also realize that tension has built up overall and you need something to help you feel grounded again. When tension is at its highest, give yourself permission to feed your senses and feel fully alive again. Take a moment to breathe in a favorite smell, stare at a beautiful photograph, listen to a favorite song, run your fingers across some soft fabric, and enjoy the flavor of a favorite snack on your tongue.
You can plan ahead of time for ways to do this. Some people even prepare a box full of sensory items to help during times of stress. This could include small pieces of silk or flannel to rub between your fingers, small chocolates or mints that can melt on your tongue, photographs of loved ones, or essential oils that promote a positive feeling. Preparing to listen to--and feed--all five of your senses during times of stress can be a simple way to find more joy in the mundane moments of life.
Whether you incorporate mindfulness into your morning routine or during a daily walk around your neighborhood, stopping to check in on yourself is a vital way to maintain positive mental health.