Escape could escape the festive chaos for a calming retreat? If the pace of life is tiring you out but there’s no chance to get away, it’s time to step off the treadmill for a day of gentle RRR. Whether you want to simply take things at a slower pace or work on a specific issue such as easing anxiety or repairing a relationship, taking time out from your busy schedule for a mindful day of reflection and self care gives you the opportunity to recalibrate your system and reconnect with a deeper sense of relaxation. Here’s how to do it.
Before you start, ideally, choose a day over the weekend when you’re not busy with chores or social engagements. Set the scene the night before so there’s nothing to distract you. Clear any clutter to help create a calming atmosphere. Change your bed linen and take a bath or shower to help you wake with a sense of optimism, ready to get going.
07:30 Be wakeful
Before you get out of bed, check in with how you’re feeling. Lie on your back and bring your attention to the area below your navel. From there, tune in to how your body is feeling on a physical level. Do you notice any areas of stiffness or tension? Next, move your awareness to your heart area how are you are feeling emotionally? Finally, rest your attention on a point midway between your eyebrows and spend a couple of moments observing your thoughts. When you’re ready, take a few deep breaths into your belly, have a stretch and begin your day, accepting everything you are feeling in a non-judgemenfal way, and knowing that you’re always enough.
Soothe Your Mind And Boost Your Body With A Restorative Day Of Mindful Rest And Relaxation Photo Gallery
Let the light in
As soon as you’re up, walk around your home opening curtains and blinds and letting in as much natural light as you can. Experts say this helps dispel ‘sleep inertia’ grogginess and re-energises you tor the day ahead. It it’s still dark outside, aim to get out in the daylight as soon as it dawns. The bright early morning light will help top up your vitamin D and aid your sleep tonight.
Create a morning ritual
Establishing a calming morning routine helps set the tone tor a happier day ahead. You don’t have to do anything special – it’s more about creating space before you let— the day in. Perhaps, after a refreshing shower, you fake 10 minutes to sip hot water and lemon by the window as the sun rises, do a few yoga sun salutations or read a quote from an inspiring book. This may also become a good time for some meditation. But for today, simply aim to start having a short, morning ritual.
Nourish your body
It’s hard to maintain a fresh and mindful state if your system is sluggish from too many high-fat, or sugar-rich foods. Today, make a conscious decision to eat in a way that feeds your body and your soul. Try making a delicious breakfast bowl -perhaps porridge with your favourite healthy topping, a pretty fruit salad or poached eggs with wilted greens. meditation app to help support your journey. Try insighttimer.com or calm.com.
Set an intention
Setting an intention is a powerful way to tune in to what really matters to you. Gently close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths, releasing any tension as you exhale. Spend some time reflecting on what you most need today. Perhaps it’s to rest deeply, or maybe you need to calm an overactive mind. When it becomes clear what will most support your mindful day, write it down in a positive way. For example, ‘When I find myself overwhelmed by thinking, I will acknowledge my thoughts, thank them for trying to help me, then tell them, ‘Today I need to rest, I will attend to you tomorrow’.
Try a mini meditation
Anxiety can be a big cause of sleeplessness, and there’s lots of evidence that suggests regular meditation can help to ease it. Rather than wait until the end of the day when you’re tired or frazzled, aim for a few minutes’ meditation first thing, and you’ll set yourself up for a calmer, easier day. Today is a great chance to learn the basics. Here’s how to do it.
♦ Find a comfy seated position – it doesn need to be lotus; sitting in a straight backed chair is fine.
♦ Now simply focus on your breathing.
Don’t try to change it; just become aware of the inhale, the exhale and the pause between the two.
♦ Breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth, letting go of any tension in your body. Repeat.
♦ Put your hand on your belly, feel if rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale.
♦ Your mind will want to wander. Simply notice when it does and bring back to your breath.
♦ Continue in this way for five to 10 minutes, bring yourself back to the room^ and sit for a while with your eyes closed to absorb the experience.
Take a mindful walk .
You can fit this in any time, whether it’s part of your regular weekend stroll in the park or a new experience. For five minutes, take out your earphones, look around you and be fully present. Notice the sounds -everything from birdsong to traffic noised and people talking. Pay attention to smells – coffee as you pass an open window and mulched up leaves on the ground – and to the feeling of the breeze against your skin, or light rain falling against your face. Try to bring your attention to what’s going on around you, letting thoughts come and go like clouds.
Eat with awareness
Do you normally wolf down lunch at your desk? Today, try some mindful eating. It’s a great way to practise being fully present and will make your food even more enjoyable.
♦ Pause before you start eating and take two deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
♦ Look at the food in front of you. Consider where it’s come from, what’s gone into producing it, who might have grown it.
♦ Now really explore the food with your senses. How does it feel? How does it smell?
Notice how you’re feeling too, as you anticipate eating.
♦ Take a small bite of food and pay attention to how it feels in your mouth. Let yourself become aware of the flavour.
♦ Slowly move the food around with your tongue, start chewing it you need to, then swallow. Notice how much more pleasure you took from eating in this way.
Be a child again
Set aside an hour or so and indulge your inner child. Not only is it tun; research shows the more playful we are, the more creative and adaptable we become. So take your inner child to a local art gallery or an afternoon movie, dance round the kitchen to your favourite music, sing or run barefoot on the grass with no fitness agenda whatsoever! Ask her what she would really like to do if everything was allowed, and then let her – with no judgements and no limitations. See how you feel afterwards.
Clear your clutter
Consider having a therapeutic tidy. Choose one shelf or drawer in your home and clear everything from it. Clean the shelf or drawer carefully. Then decide what you want to put back in by picking up each object you removed, looking at it and feeling it – notice everything about it before you put it back or decide to leave it out. Notice how it feels to completely absorb yourself in an activity from the beginning right through to the end. It’s the simplest form of meditation, bringing your mind to the present moment.
17:00 Sing to yourself
Softly singing or chanting opens up a world of healing potential. It comes from the devotional yoga tradition known as kirtan, and uses centuries’ old Sanskrit words which carry a unique power that can calm, rebalance and transform your emotions, bringing you to a sense of peace with yourself. Rather than thinking of if as chanting to a specific deify or god, kirtan singer Krishna Das describes ‘god’ as an ‘endless ocean of love, truth and presence’, adding that when we see our own beauty, we understand that we are all connected. If you haven’t tried chanting before, Invocation, with Ty Burhoe and Krishna Das (tyburhoe.com, $10 to download), is a beautiful compilation of chants using the mantra ‘Om Namah Shivaya Gurave’, which translates as ‘I bow to the goodness within myself’. If includes the words in Sanskrit and English, so you can easily join in.
Every hour, take a moment to notice how vl you are. Is your body tense? Is your mind scattered? Return \jo the present momentII and relax.
Be a conscious cook
Cooking and preparing food can be a great mindful activity. This evening, choose a favourite recipe or something new you’d like to try. Give yourself plenty of time and make sure you won’t be disturbed so you don’t have to rush anything. Ensure the kitchen is clean and quiet – turn off the radio or TV. Prepare the ingredients, then read through the recipe. Now follow each step slowly and carefully. Really pay attention to what you’re doing. By the time your food is in the oven, you should feel relaxed and refreshed because you’ve given your thoughts a break, and you’ll enjoy your supper even more.
Forget doing three things at once; choose a single activity and complete it before moving onto the next.
Relax your routine
Rather than watching TV, then flopping info bed, spend an hour unwinding. Have a relaxing bath with some soothing lavender oil and take your time washing, noticing the feeling of your hands on your skin and the warm water against your body. Make yourself a cup of calming valerian tea and sip it slowly with your eyes closed, savouring the flavour and feeling the heat of the tea as it passes your mouth and throat. Put the tech away and listen to some calming classical music in your bedroom or read a novel as you prepare to fall asleep.
Count your blessings
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of writing gratitude lists. But do they really work? The short answer is yes. Scientific research shows that practising gratitude can increase optimism and contentment, it can lower depression and anxiety, strengthen relationships and, incredibly, improve physical health. As your restful retreat comes to an end, try writing down three things you’ve appreciated. Alternatively, send positive thoughts to people you care about, share some affection with your partner or write a thank-you letter to a friend. Then bathe in the warmth of that good karma.
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