Take in a deep breath. Unclench your jaw and relax your shoulders. Breathe out slowly.
Did you feel a release there? A little relief?
With our daily routines so altered this year, it’s important to make little moments like this for ourselves throughout the day. But working from home, where it can feel like there’s no separation between work life and home life, it can be difficult to make the effort to experience these moments. We end up becoming balls of stress, eyes red from the computer screen, neck and back in bits from hunching over a laptop and finding it difficult to wind down after transforming from ‘Work Me’ to ‘Home Me’.
There are ways to combat this tension that can build up during the day. By trying out just a few of these mindful moments throughout the day, we can actually increase our productivity, find it easier to relax after a day’s work and feel more motivated throughout our workday. Here are ten little mindful practices that only take a few minutes to reset your head.
De-clutter your space
Taking a little time each morning or evening to clear up your space can make the world of difference. Making your bed and putting away pyjamas, opening your curtains and picking just 5 things off of your bedroom floor makes it a more soothing place to return to after a long day. Alternatively, put away things on your desk and organise it in a way that is conducive to a smoother workday. Instead of head-melting piles of paper, just taking ten minutes at the end of each day to file away documents in their proper place to save on stress the next day. It could make the world of difference, and make you feel that little bit more on top of things.
Do a ten-minute yoga or exercise routine in the morning before breakfast
Taking just ten minutes to wake your body up can change how you view the rest of your day. Shaking off the sleepiness and getting your blood flowing will give you a burst of energy that you can ride through the morning on, making you more productive and focused. It will also give you a chance to connect with yourself and take a little time to reflect and check in with yourself before the day begins.
Do a quick meditation at some point in your day
We all hit a point in our day when we slump. Our heads become fried, overloaded with tasks or information. This file is missing or that email never came through. It can be easy to lose perspective. Taking just a few minutes to switch off and disconnect from the demands of the world can get you right back on track. There are plenty of short meditations on YouTube that can give you whatever you need in that moment; energy, calm, positivity or relaxation.
Visualise your daily goals in the morning
Going in to work with a cluttered head is almost as bad as a cluttered desk. We stumble our way through the day, going from this to that, finding it difficult to settle and accomplish tasks. But starting your day with a quick self-check list about what you want to achieve with this day can bring order and direction. However, it is important to be realistic. Allow for the limits of your body and mind. Over-scheduling can just bring on more stress, rather than reducing it. Be kind to yourself.
Experience the outside world
Whether you’re on your lunch break, or up early to catch the sunrise, make sure to stop and check in with nature for a few minutes every day. Not only does being outside have the benefit of waking us up with fresh air, but it can regulate our sleeping pattern also.
Do a body scan
Our body can give us lots of indicators as to how we’re really feeling, even if our brain hasn’t caught up yet. Whether we actually listen to it or not, however, is up to us. Body scans throughout the day can put us back in touch with our bodies and are a quick and easy way to take a moment for yourself at your desk. Pay close attention to the areas where there is tension or unease in the body. Breathe into those spaces, slowly and gently releasing them. Move up and down your body, giving each specific part the time it needs to relax.
Cook yourself a nice meal
This may seem like standard self-care, but it’s all in the way that you approach the task. For some, coming home to cook after a long day of work is the absolute last thing they want to do. But if we shift our attitude just slightly from ‘I have to do this’ to ‘I get to do this’, we can change the whole practice. You get to nurture yourself with good food. You get to prepare a home-cooked meal for yourself and really take care of your body by what you put into it. Transform a mundane task into something relaxing, with a little music, some good food and a mindset change.
Do something creative
Whether that’s doing a full face of makeup, reading a book, making a new Pinterest board or even just a little mindless doodling, give your brain an outlet to disconnect from the demands made of it during your work hours. Allowing you brain to move away from the analytical side that is usually engaged during the day to the creative side can be a release for the stresses that can surround you in work.
Keep a journal
Often, it can be difficult to express why we are feeling certain ways. Keeping a journal for no one’s eyes but your own, allows you to release your thoughts as they are – disordered, messy and contradictory – on to the page. They no longer clog up your brain waiting for you to make sense of them. Whether you burn the pages or keep it to see your mindfulness journey, this is a great exercise for release of worries. Some prefer a more guided method than just outpouring onto the page and there are plenty of prompts online to write about for a few minutes each day to centre yourself, like; How can I add positivity to my life today? What do I need to forgive myself for? What am I in control of right now?
Make a morning and night routine
By setting aside time in the mornings and evenings that are just for you – even if it’s only five or ten minutes each, we consciously focus on how we’re feeling. It can take stress out of the mornings, by having a focal point around which the start your day and also help you to wind down at night. Whether these routines revolve around your morning coffee and evening herbal tea or even just your morning and night time skincare routines, they allow you to have a sense of structure, help you to slow down and give stability at the start and end of day.
Mindfulness helps us to change destructive habits, builds our resilience and improves our daily lives. Now that you have ten easy little ways to do it, there’s no excuse!