For those amazing women working in healthcare, it can be easy to forget about caring for yourself. Every now and again, we all need to take a breath, recalibrate and refocus so we can be our best. So, how do we do that? Practicing mindfulness is one of the greatest tools in your arsenal for managing stress and helping to reassess your priorities.
One of the key benefits of practicing mindfulness is giving yourself the time and space to de-fog your mind and see the bigger picture. A short moment, as little as a few minutes a day, can help to identify areas for growth, change or what to let go of in the busy cycle of life.
We’ve put together a quick guide on easy, and achievable ways to add a dash of mindfulness to your day.
Here are 4 ways to practice mindfulness
Add Meditation to Your Mornings
The thing that most often comes to mind when we think of mindfulness. Meditation provides a moment to quiet your mind to improve focus, concentration and self-awareness.
How to Start: For complete newbies, a guided mediation app is an easy introduction to the world of meditation. Headspace or Calm are two of the most popular meditation apps, but for a fee-free pick, Insight Timer is also a great option.
Level Up: If you’re looking to move on from app-led guided meditations to something a little extra, add a mantra to your practice. Repeating a mantra to yourself as you meditate is a proven way to help you get into the zone and elevate your practice. For extra feel-good vibes, make your mantra a positive affirmation to set yourself up for a great day.
Walk Off Your Worries
Hit the pavement and melt the stress away. For those that struggle to sit still, walking is the perfect solution. We’re all about using walking in our mindfulness practice because of the happiness hormones effect. Exercise, yes even light exercise, increases serotonin and dopamine which improves our moods.
How to Start: Let’s skip the treadmill for this one. It’s less about breaking a sweat and more about clearing your mind. Soak in the sunshine and take your walk outside for the biggest mood boost.
Level Up: Grab your air pods and get a double dose of mindfulness by listening to a mediation on the go. There are plenty of walking mediations available - check out the apps listed above – that let you meditate without the risk of dozing off.
Flex and Stretch
Like walking, stretching and yoga are examples of gentle movement with mood boosting effects.
How to Start: Start with some simple stretching like these 12 beginner yoga poses. Or - for the ultra-time poor - there’s no need to put on your gym gear, do some quick stretches in bed to start your day off on the right foot.
Level Up: Join a regular yoga class. Hatha yoga is gentle, restorative and meditative, perfect for beginners and those wanting to focus on mindfulness.
Jot It Down In a Journal
Last, but not least, journaling is the ideal mindfulness practice for those wanting to put pen to paper and make clear their thoughts, feelings and priorities.
How to Start: Write a line, or paragraph, a day that recaps wins, challenges and any interesting thoughts or worries you’ve had. Start small so it is easy to fall into a routine. Once you’ve built up a collection of entries it will be easy to read back to better clarify what’s fun, stressful or rewarding in your life.
Level Up: Create a vision board. It could be a 5 year plan, or just an assortment of images and text you find inspiring. A vision board can help you understand what you value and where to focus your energy most, so you can put time into what you value most.
Do as few or as many of these things as you feel you need. Think of it as a wellness pick n’ mix. Try out a few different methods until you find what works for you because, at the end of the day, mindfulness will look different to each and every one of us.