It's Wellbeing Wednesday again! And this week want to talk about stealing a little me time, and why taking a just few minutes out of your day to focus your mind can help you be the best version of yourself.
For thousands of years, meditation has been a key element of many eastern religions as a means of quietening the mind and awakening the soul. Some use it to seek god, while others use it to plug themselves into the present. Whether you're a spiritual person or not, meditation can be a great practice to help relieve unwanted stress and anxiety. Now we're not just talking about the traditional kind of meditation (sitting legs crossed in an idyllic Buddhist temple in Bali a la Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love - although we wish that could be us!), let's talk about every day meditation and the practice of mindfulness.
According to the British Medical Journal, mindfulness is 'the process of paying attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental manner' and has convincing evidence for its ability to treat depression and anxiety. The act itself is simple enough. All you need to do is disconnect yourself from your worries and all those things spinning around your head and focus on just the present. Sounds simple at least, right? But in reality, we're so wrapped up in the worries and stresses of everyday life, we just can't seem to switch off. We're constantly hammering our minds with worries about the future, our children, what to make for dinner, are we drinking enough water.
So we wanted to share 5 easy ways of introducing 5 minutes of meditation into your day. They're all designed to fit in with our busy every day lives - and don't worry if you don't manage a full 5 minutes. Any amount of time letting yourself be focused on the present moment is better than nothing!
1. Focus on your breathing
One of the biggest challenges when starting to practice meditation is being able to successfully quieten your mind. Most of us are always thinking a million thoughts at once. One of the simplest ways of bringing yourself into the present, is to focus on the breath. Try to visualise each breath entering your body, filling your belly and expanding your chest, then imagine it leaving again slowly. And repeat. If you find your mind wandering, keep bringing it back to visualising the breath. Tell those other thoughts you'll deal with them later!
2. Change your waking-up routine
An easy was of introducing meditation into your daily routine is when you first wake. Set your alarm for 5 minutes earlier, or when it goes off let it snooze for 5 minutes (but don't go back to sleep!) Instead of reaching for your phone, as most of us usually do, spend the 5 minutes either sitting crosslegged or lying on your back (with palms facing upwards) and try to clear your mind. You'll start your day feeling fresh, focused and ready for the challenges ahead.
3. Visualise a place you love
If you're still finding meditation and mindfulness difficult, and your head is still noisy, then try visualising a beautiful place. It can be somewhere you love or a place you'd love to visit. Imagine how the weather feels. It is sharp and cold? Or is the sun melting into your skin? How does the air smell? What can you hear? Building up this picture in your mind, focuses you on the present and brings you back into the moment. Although may leave you with terrible wanderlust!
4. Give yourself a little break from work
We're all guilty of trying to cram too much into our day. So the idea of trying to incorporate a little mindfulness into your work schedule might sound completely impossible. But think of it as a way of refreshing yourself for the rest of the day. Most of us will grab a coffee or a tea midmorning, so while the kettle is brewing, why not steal a few minutes to focus on your breathing or imagining that magical place. Or if the weather is nice, try to escape the office and spend a little time sitting in a park, reflecting on the present moment. Focus on how you're feeling, how the sun feels on your skin and just notice your surroundings. You'll soon feel your stresses melting away.
5. Indulge yourself in a long bath
With our range of bath and body products, it's no secret that we're big advocates of long soaks in the tub. Plus it's one of our favourite places to enjoy a little me time. Fill up your bath with hot water, add a few drops or sprinkles of your favourite product and let your worries just melt away. Enjoying meditation in the bath is even more effective because the hot water will naturally help to soothe aching and tired muscles. Plus adding products with natural essential oils, allows you to incorporate the benefits of aromatherapy while you're enjoying your soak.