What does practicing mindfulness mean to you? Do you do it? Or is it something that you’ve never given much thought to.
I definitely used to be in the latter category.
But at times like these, it’s so easy to feel bogged down by everything.
The state of the world is chaotic. And — as a result — we’re all trying to do a million and one different jobs at the same time.
Work, home schooling, housework, cooking, cleaning. Too much to do and not enough time.
My lovely friend Leigh, who’s a qualified life-coach, once said:
‘Stepping out of our everyday maelstrom will help us to see what’s what.’
And she’s so right.
A Clearer Perspective
I had a coaching session with Leigh, a few years ago, and we discussed so many things. As my time with her came to a close, my head felt much clearer.
It was like mentally trying to unravel a knotted and tangled ball of string. Initially, I had no idea where to even start.
But throughout the session, everything started to become a little clearer and I could see that making small changes would make the world of difference to my work/life balance.
I made promises to be a little kinder to myself — cut myself some slack — and take time-out of my working week to occasionally s.t.o.p.
At the time, we were talking about my work/life balance but — at the moment — during the Corona-Virus outbreak, practicing mindfulness seems more relevant than ever.
There are so many simple things we can do to keep our mental health strong and healthy:
Take a walk.
Do some exercise.
Read a book.
Paint a picture.
Just putting aside half an hour, a couple of times a week, will ease the burden and give the brain a break; a little more clarity.
Time to Breathe and Take Stock.
I picked some Forget-Me-Nots a few days ago — put them in a little bottle of water and popped them on a shelf.
They’re so pretty. Papery thin; sky blue and lilac petals. Some of them tinged with blush pink or mauve. A golden eye in the centre of each flower, almost like a little star.
I decided to paint them.
I’ll never be a good painter but I love the process.
So nice to focus the mind and concentrate on the brush strokes. Lovely to watch how the paint merges with the water and settles into the paper.
Taking a Breather
Painting is a great way of pushing out unwanted thoughts and giving your mind a little breather.
And as I sat there, concentrating on the little flowers and their spindly stems, I thought about the last few weeks.
The world is in chaos.
But my family and friends are safe and well.
We’ve been self isolating and not able to get out.
But I’ve been able to spend time with my three favourite people.
I can’t see my family.
Not in person, but we’re lucky enough to live in an age where we can Facetime/Skype/Zoom and see and speak to our loved ones, face to face.
Granted — we have no physical contact but something is better than nothing.
In tumultuous times like these, it’s so easy to catastrophise and spiral off into a vortex of worry and anxiety. But if we remember to take a few minutes out each day, to concentrate on something simple to soothe our minds.
We’ll get through this.