Mindfulness tips

When do you ever just rest, take time out in nature, or read a book in bed? In Australia, we have a culture that values being busy and sees rest as unproductive and lazy. But it is important to take time out for ourselves, especially if we want to look after our mental health and do the things that are most important to us. This is called self-care.

Self-care refers to the activities we do that enhance our energy, restore our health, and reduce our stress. It is not just about ensuring we drink enough water, eat healthy meals and get enough sleep, even though those things are very important. It is also being able to process emotional reactions to situations that have happened in our life or doing things that might be difficult, like asking for help.

The benefits include:  

  • Greater capacity to manage stress;
  • Increased resilience; and
  • Reducing symptoms of mental health problems.
Tasmanian mental health charity SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY has come up with a self-help menu to assist people in creating a solid foundation of activities and habits that benefit our health and wellbeing. Alternatively, you can check out their video that explores a number of activities we can weave in and around our busy lives.

Our top five tips for self-care are:
 
  1. MINDFUL MOMENTS: How can you be more present today? Use your senses and come back to the present moment, says Healthy Business.
    1. Breathe – take three deep breaths, focusing on feeling the air fall in and out of your nose, or the rise and fall of your chest.
    2. Feel – feel your feet on the ground, your legs against the chair or the cup in your hand and the temperature against your skin.
    3. Taste – pay attention to the tastes and textures of your food and how it feels on your lips, tongue, in your mouth and as you swallow.
    4. See – walk outside and notice the colours, patterns and shapes of the trees, the clouds or whatever you can see.
    5. Smell – Breathe through your nose and notice the smell of your coffee, lunch or perfume just for a moment. 
  2. MOVE IT: How you feel impacts the way you move. When we feel tired and unmotivated, we move slowly, just like when we feel anxious, we may move fast and may feel rushed. We can also use movement to influence how we feel. It is scientifically proven that anxiety and depression can be improved just by going for a run, bike ride or even a walk. Why not spice it up and try dancing, a bushwalk or even yoga.

  3. COMMUNICATE YOUR NEEDS: Reflecting on what you need and sharing this with your loved ones is an important part of self-care. It is important to check in with yourself regularly, especially during times of stress. You may need a hug, time alone or even just someone to listen to you without giving advice.

  4. TRY SOMETHING NEW: There is something fun and exhilarating in trying something new whether it is a new recipe or hobby, discovering a new author or even running or cycling a different route. Trying something new requires courage, keeps you from getting bored and enables you to grow. It stimulates your creativity and uses your brain in a different way, giving you a natural high.

  5. DOWNLOAD A MINDFULNESS APP: Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and being aware of where we are and what we are doing. In other words, it is being engaged in the moment. There are a number of apps that you can download on your phone to help you, including:
    1. Calm
    2. Headspace
    3. Insight Timer
    4. Bloom: Meditation and Sleep
    5. Smiling Minds     
 - Information sourced from SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY,
Healthy Business Performance Group,
smilingmind.com.au and everymind.com.au
 
 

 

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