Before I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) I used the relaxation time at the end of a yoga class to think about what I had to do next. I would fill every waking minute of every day with activities because I hated sitting still, feeling like I was doing nothing or the sound of silence. I never gave my body or my brain time to fully switch-off and recharge.
I would feel stressed because I was trying to achieve more in a day than was possible. I believed I was a master of multi-tasking and could achieve more by doing two or three things at once. But now I know that multi-tasking is a myth all you end up doing is half of two or three jobs badly!
How I learnt to be mindful
Over the past few years, I’ve learnt that everything we do, even merely thinking or worrying uses energy. Allowing yourself to stop, to be present in the moment and to switch off from worrying, even for just a few minutes a day, helps to recharge the body and the mind.
For many the term mindfulness counters up images of sitting cross-legged in silence, the associate being mindful with meditation and for some people, this feels too overwhelming to even try.
Initially, I thought this too, I thought to be mindful I had to be able to sit in silence and think of nothing – something which felt completely impossible for me. But what I’ve learnt is that mindfulness isn’t about silencing the mind, it’s about focusing the mind and being present in the moment.
It’s not about spending an hour in quiet contemplation – well it can be but who really has time for that every day? Instead, it’s about finding moments in your every day where you can be present. From breathing and yoga to drinking tea – I make sure to include a few moments every day where I simply accept where I am and what I’m doing and focus on my breath, rather than over-thinking and worrying. I feel calmer, more in control, less stressed and more relaxed. It recharges me in a way not much else can.
Here are three ways you can be more mindful today:
- Be present in the mundane everyday tasks like brushing your teeth or making a cup of tea. Using your senses is a great way to be more present. What can you hear / taste / smell / see / feel?
- Stop trying to multi-task it’s a myth that our brain can multi-task – even us females! So focus on what you’re doing and try not to worry about other things. I find it helpful to set a timer on my phone for 30 or even just 15-mins and to try and focus on one thing for that time. I have a notepad beside me so I can jot down any thoughts of things I need to remember to do later rather than switching tasks in the moment. Until that timer buzzes, I’m trying my hardest not to get distracted from the task at hand.
- Put your phone away – easily the biggest distraction from being mindful and staying focused are the notification alerts which come from our phones. If you’re trying to take 5-minutes for yourself or just trying to focus on a task put your phone in a drawer or in the other room!
I’m hosting a 5-day mindfulness programme alongside some other fabulous females starting on 15th March, each day we’ll show you a different mindfulness technique including cooking (of course), yoga, dance and crafting. You’ll discover how spending just 15-mins a day doing simple, fun activities can make you calmer, more in control, less stressed and less anxious.
If you’d like to find out more or join us please visit our Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/moments-of-mindfulness-easy-ways-to-reduce-stress-and-anxiety-tickets-142235148157
Early bird tickets are £25 and sale ends Sunday 7th March.