There has been a change in pace in the past weeks, with the easing of Lockdown restrictions and Christmas shopping and socialising back on the menu, and for some, this has brought an increase in anxiety levels as we struggle to adjust and keep up.
This week, give yourself the gift of a little self-care by making some time to do one of your favourite practices. It might be a little yoga (Yoga with Adriene is my go-to), a guided meditation (Tara Brach has some nice offerings), or take a 20 minute walk by the sea or in the forest.
When life is busy, we may feel more squeezed for time, but making space to calm the mind saves us time in the long run, so consider it an investment.
“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” - Lucille Ball
In times of uncertainty, instability, and change, it's really important to ground ourselves, and connect with the inner stability we are all capable of.
This short meditation is excellent for tapping into our inner stillness and strength, see if you can manage to do it every day this week.
(It may take a few seconds to start after you press play, thanks for your patience!)
Stay safe and well.
“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.”
The effects of the Covid-19 situation are being felt by all, and there's not much we can be sure of at the moment. That in itself is a challenge, we humans tend to feel uncomfortable in the face of uncertainty.
It would seem that things will be this way for a while, and our best bet is to take good care of ourselves until life returns to 'normal'. Instead of fighting against what is, or getting stressed, we can learn to accept, and turn toward the difficult, and not allow an already challenging time to defeat us.
This week's Weekly Minute is a meditation which teaches us to be with difficult thoughts, emotions, and sensations in an easier and more calm way.
As with all mindfulness practices, it's the doing that helps, so see if you can challenge yourself to revise this meditation daily, knowing that each day, you're building your tolerance to be with the uncomfortable.
The Guest House
In the movies change is often depicted as happening in a big transformative event, where someone has a revelation that changes their life forever, and they live happily ever after.
The reality is quite different. Change is more likely to be a collection of small decisions, made over and over again.
What change will you make today?
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” - Karen Lamb
This week in The Weekly Minute, two guided grounding practices, so the winds of life (and outside!!) don't blow us away.
It's important to have a grounding practice so we feel stable and rooted within ourselves. As we know, life can be full of surprises, and change is inevitable, but if you feel grounded, you'll be more able to face challenges without falling.
Think of a tree, they grow so tall and sturdy because they have strong roots under the earth.
Practice these a few times this week, so you get familiar with them, and they are in your toolbox, ready for when you reach for them.
“Flying starts from the ground. The more grounded you are, the higher you fly.”
Imagine the difference it would make if we took care of our mental health in the same way as we take care of our physical health. We know that brushing our teeth is important to keep them healthy and avoid fillings. We know that eating our 5 a day is going to encourage better health. We know that taking exercise will contribute to our overall health and fitness levels.
Can we apply this same thinking to our mental health? Can we apply the 'An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away' principle, to our heads?
Here are a couple of suggestions for practices that are easily integrated into a day, and have a huge impact on your mental health. Choose one, or perhaps you have your own favorite practice?
Do a gratitude practice.
Do some relaxing breathing.
Exercise in the morning.
Watch your thoughts pass by.
Ground using your body.
"Change your life today. Don't gamble on the future, act now, without delay." - Simone de Beauvoir
This week's Weekly Minute is one you may have seen before, but in light of the weather forecast for the West Coast of Ireland, I thought it was time for a re-run.
If you find yourself feeling flustered by the gusts, or your mood is dampened with the rain, "Be The Mountain", stand firm against the weather of life.
"The sun'll come out tomorrow" - Annie
Instructions for "Life is Made of Hours and Minutes":
I just spent a little time with my parents who are 75 and (soon to be) 80, and they often comment on how fast time goes the older you get. It made me think a lot about how I spend my time, and what a valuable commodity time really is. When I am facing my 80th birthday, I want to be able to say that I spent time doing the things that I loved. At the end of the day, a life is made of hours and minutes, and what we do with those hours and minutes is up to us.
"How did it get so late so soon?" - Dr. Seuss
Instructions for "Finding the Breath":
This is the last in the Weekly Minute Guided Meditation Series. The first exercise was a short introduction to mindfulness practice called "Being Present". Then, over the subsequent weeks we looked at various 'anchoring' practices. An 'anchoring' practice is one that restores you to calm when you need it.
One size does not fit all in mindfulness however, and what works for one person may not work for another. For example, you may find a breath practice calms you down, while your friend may find it makes them more anxious. We are all different, so I have presented a few 'anchoring' options using the senses, the body, and the breath, so you can try them out and see what works for you. (Explore the previous practices on the Weekly Minute Blog page.)
*Practice adapted from Pollak, Pedulla, & Siegel
I've really enjoyed putting this series together, and I hope you've found it helpful. I plan to record some more in the near future, so if there's anything you'd like to see please leave a comment below, message me, or email me.
I've already had a request for a meditation to aid sleep, so expect to hear that soon!
"At any time, it can be extremely comforting to return to the anchor point and it's extremely simple to do once you have located it." - Padraig O'Morain
Instructions for "Being the Mountain":
This is the second of the three 'anchoring' practices that we are currently exploring in the Weekly Minute. An 'anchoring' practice is a technique that you find restores your balance when life is turbulent. Remember that each person is different, and what works for you will be different from what works for someone else. "Being the Mountain" is an excellent practice for those with anxiety, or anyone who is in a period of change. Try it and see how it works for you!
I'd love to hear how you're getting on, so leave a comment below. :)
*Practice adapted from Pollak, Pedulla, & Siegel
"It only takes a few basic steps to transition from being on automatic pilot to becoming awakened to present-moment experience." - Daniel J. Siegel MD.
The Weekly Minute is a blog I write each week with the aim of providing proven tools to help promote positive mental health.
The collection of short, practical mindfulness and therapy tools for self-reflection and self-improvement, can equip people to take their mental well-being into their own hands, and improve their quality of life.
The Weekly Minute is posted here every Monday, or you can sign up to get it delivered to your inbox via the link below.
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