Top TIps - 5 ways to be mindful every day
I've told my story many times within these blogs about my journey to where I am today - in my previous role I was a head of department, overtired, overworked and overwhelmed with everything around me.
It's a familiar story I hear all the time and in the end I needed to leave that role and find my new path. Which is where I am now.
But it's not something everyone can or wants to do, but there are many things you can do to help you now.
Stress is now the no.1 reason for people taking time off sick from work. Most businesses don't even know how to tackle it, so you need to find ways to help your self.
When I was in my last role I didn't even realise I was actually practicing mindfulness techniques to help me to cope, and they did for a time, but eventually I knew it was time for me to leave and move on to other things.
In May I was lucky enough to go on a mindfulness retreat in Scotland with Catherine Brannan at Yes your entire self and it was then that I discovered how much mindfulness I was naturally doing as part of my coping mechanisms.
So what is mindfulness? It's being aware of whats happening in the here and now and being OK with it.
For example breathing;
Being mindful is about recognising that you’re breathing, to feel it in your chest, your lungs, your body and being OK with it, whether its fast or its slow, its deep or its shallow, noisy or its quiet. It’s about accepting what is happening right now.
Imagine now a difficult situation, instead of fighting it, accept it for what it is, learn and move forward. By having a more mindful attitude you may develop more creativity, patience, find it easier to make decisions, and respond better to challenging situations.
So here are 5 easy mindful steps for you to try.
1. Be more mindful on the commute into work - I used to when I got into work note down the magical amazing things I saw on my journey, a beautiful sunrise, a kestrel hovering for its prey, a fox in the mist, the turning autumn leaves, the donkeys in the field that always made me smile. Whether you drive, walk, cycle, go by bus, train or tube be more in the moment and see, hear and notice the world around you.
2. Sit quietly at work. In the morning, when you get into work either at your desk or even in the staff room or changing rooms, instead of rushing off to make your coffee or tea or straight into work emails or meetings, try simply sitting on your chair quietly. Listen to the sounds around you, see the colours and notice your surrounding, take in the morning atmosphere and feel the seat beneath you while you breathe and relax.
3. Take a breath. Each time the phone rings or you get a new email, use it as a reminder to pause and take a breath. Before you even check to see who the email is from, take one or maybe three deep breaths, feel the stillness of the moment, then you’re ready to handle whatever comes your way. One deep breath is all it takes to centre yourself and get into an alert, more positive state.
4. Observe your surroundings. Wherever you are, even if it’s just a five-minute walk, try not to look at your phone; instead look up and notice the buildings around you, the colour of the sky, feel the ground beneath you as you take each step and allow the noise to wash over you instead of annoy you, no matter what you hear.
5. Pause before entering. Before you get home, give yourself a few moments before you open the front door - settle into your breath and gently notice how your body feels without judging any aches or pains you may have. I read of one man who would pause and focus on a tree by his front door, rubbing the leaves, leaving his work worries at the door. Take a look at your neighbourhood with fresh eyes, notice the flowers growing on the side of the pathway, listen to the children, the pets or your neighbours next door and as you put the key in the door, take one final deep breath and appreciate being home.