With winter around the corner + a new lockdown for some countries, many of us are not only facing those winter blues, but now there’s also a thing as lockdown blues. Days become shorter and nights become longer. Being separated from our loved ones and having limited time to spend outdoors takes its toll on our overall wellbeing.
To keep it short: there are many reasons for why this time can be challenging for you. On top of that, your work life probably keeps going on, and maybe you’ve got even more work on your hands.
Here are 4 mindfulness practises that can come in handy during a season of low energy and feeling like the fire, that candle within you, is almost burn out. Let’s keep it lightened up!
1. Practising awareness
Becoming aware of you doing something is step one. And it’s a big step. We live on auto-pilot most of the time – recent studies tell us mor ethan hal of the things we do happens without us realizing it. Mindfulness is all about shifting that auto-pilot mode and taking the wheel in our own hands. Become aware of what you do. Next time you brush your teeth, watch Netflix or start scrolling on Instagram, try to become aware of it.
Maybe you recognize this: you end up scrolling endelssly on social media without even realizing it, afterwards wishing you hadn’t spend that much time on it. That is what happens when we stay on auto-pilot mode and are not really present.
When we shift our attention to this moment, we become aware of what we are doing. The auto-pilot mode gets disrupted, and we can take control again. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying you should never again scroll on social media or watch Netflix for hours. Mindfulness simply asks us to bring our attention to what we are doing, without any judgment, instead bringing in kindess + curiosity. When you are bingewatching Netflix or scrolling through social media, notice how that feels like for you and what effect it has on you, try to be curious.
2. Recharging check-ins
When our phone is low on battery, we plug it in. When our computer is having issues, we restart it.
You deserve a recharge or a restart as much as your devices.
Mindfulness is all about focusing our attention on the present moment. To notice our breath, how our bodies feel and the environment arround us.
And it all beings with your attention. Redirect your attention to your breath. How are you breathing right now? When we are focused, we tend to hold our breath. This causes our brains to receive less oxygen – and our brains desperately need oxygen to function properly.
If you’re a person who tends to push through work and hop on that treadmill everyday, regardless of how full your battery is, one thing you can start with is setting an alarm to take a break from a project every 2 hours. Go for a walk, do a meditation, take a nap, drink some water, eat a snack, do some stretches,…. taking a small moment for yourself will allow you to return to your day with a fresh mind and body.
3. Holding onto Purpose
Something I have heard clients struggle with the last few weeks, is a lack of motivation + purpose. What gets you up in the morning? What is your reason to own the day and shine brightly?
Setting an intention on a daily basis can help you navigate through the day. Whenever you feel lost, you can remind yourself of the intention you set for the day and take action. This intention can change on the daily, depending on the foucs of the day.
When you focus on this one intention, this purpose, you can see the impact and importance of the actions that you take.
Let’s say you have a big presentation coming up today, and you just woke up, and to be honest you already feel a bit anxious + stressed about it. Setting an intention to remain present + grounded and do your best can help you tackle the day. When you feel stressed, use your intention to come back to and say to yourself: I am present, grounded and I am doing my best. This will put you in the right mindspace but also lead you to take action on the next best thing you can do.
Remember to stay kind to yourself – as I’ve said, mindfulnesss focuses on non-judgment, curiosity and kindness.
4. Purposeful Breathing
You’ll notice that when you take 3 deep breahts (maybe now would be a good time, go on) instantly relaxes you and releases some pressure of your kettle.
Our breath gives us life. It gives us energy. The fact that you are reading this right now and breahting without even knowing it, is a miracle.
What’s even better is that we can play with our breath and allow it to influence our state of being.
When you are tired, try to do an energising breathing exercise: the 6-2 method. Breathe in for 6 seconds, fully exhale for 2 seconds. Repeat until you feel energised + recharged again.
When you are feeling foggy in your mind, and in need of concentration and focus, try the box breathing method, used by many athletes to improve performance and attention. Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, hold for 4. Repeat until you feed more focused + relaxed.
When you are feeling energised and you want to relax and slow down, try the 4-7-8- method: breathe in for 4, hold for 7 and exhale for 8. The long exhales send signals to your brain to relax your nervous system and slow down.
Burnout, as one of my favourite mentors Jay Shetty says, is continuously running, instead of walking. It’s like you’re living life on a threadmill, without stopping, and pushing through (mostly) work. I hope these mindfulness practices and tips help you to check in more often with yourself and be mindful of the things you do, so you can stop running, and start walking at your own pace, in peace and with purpose.
If you want to start living a more mindful life, grab your free copy of my e-book, a guide to Mindful Living! Why for free? Because I deserve everyone deserves peace. And this year has been challenging enough. It’s a little gift to you, from me.
Another resource on Black Friday promotion right now is my 10-day mindfulness & self-growth course Flow. You’ll learn all about meditation, mindfulness, overcoming limiting beliefs, shifting your mindset, practising gratitude, developing healthy habits and so much more! Claim your 50% off before the price goes up again. ⏰