So how’s your mindfulness practice treating you these days? Do all the voices in the wellness industry telling you exactly what to do to improve your health and happiness make you feel a lil overwhelmed perhaps? Yeah, me too.
It’s easy to feel the pressure to follow someone else’s plan to the letter, because you want the same amazing results they claim.
Even when it’s uncomfortable or you’re just not feelin’ it!
Yet the whole point of a mindfulness practice is to help you feel less stress, anxiety and discomfort, so what’s a mindfulness loving person to do?
Like I often say, no one body is the same. So your self-care and mindfulness practices should align with your unique health situation, schedule and goals. You’ll never be able to duplicate someone else’s success but you can create a flexible mindfulness practice that can adapt to your body’s changing needs. One that works for you and your body!
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind.
HAVE A FLEXIBLE PLAN
OK, let’s just say it: nothing in life is one-size-fits-all! Especially not when it comes to taking care of your health—and that means developing a mindfulness practice that is YOURS. What works for you, may not work for me, and vice versa.
So when it comes to creating a mindfulness practice that works for you, the key is variety. You’re not always going to want to journal every day or practice yoga. Some days, you may start your morning with a blissful cup of herbal tea and an omelet from scratch, and then the next, you’re scrambling for the java.
The problem is that stress doesn’t care what your plans look like; it’s going to creep up on its own schedule. Having a mindfulness plan that can squeeze into the cracks of your busy schedule is essential. And to stay consistent, you need a personal playlist of activities to keep you from getting bored and turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms and habits (like sugar, junk food, alcohol, avoidance, negative self talk, etc.).
BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING
Just like you’d create an emergency kit to handle lots of different scenarios, you might want to create a greatest hits mindfulness practice so you are prepared for all the ways you may be feeling or different schedules you may have to keep. Here are a few things that should be included on your list.
Exercise is a great mindfulness activity because it forces you to be in the present moment with your physical body. Include activities in your practice that you can do when you don’t have a lot of energy or time, like stretching. Also find a few options to help you shake off extra energy, like a dance party break or a high-energy online workout.
Keep a list of people you can text or chat with when you’re feeling down. Be mindful of the time of day too; find someone who is up for a morning chat and someone who is available at night.
Which of your friends are up for an online game night or Zoom ladies night? Who would you like to catch up with that you haven’t talked to in awhile? Laughter and conversation are wonderful for your mental health.
We often think of hobbies as an extravagance, but stimulating your mind and adopting the beginner’s mindset is excellent for your gray matter. If you’re worried about cost though, just think of a few hobbies you can test out that don’t cost a lot of money such as journaling, drawing, singing, taking photos on your smartphone, puzzles (the Dollar Store has tons). You also want to make sure you have options you won’t feel guilty if you start and stop them on a whim.
OLD SCHOOL WORKS TOO!
When people think of mindfulness practices, the first ones that come to mind are probably meditation and breathwork. They sort of feel like old standards and get mislabeled as dull or difficult to master.
However, I love these options (obviously, if you’ve read my blog before), and I know that there are many different forms these practices can take on.
For example, you don’t just have to sit still to meditate. There are walking meditations that get you out in nature to savor all the ways you can connect to Mother Earth. And yoga is also a form of moving meditation, with lots of different levels and time frames to try.
If you have trouble clearing your mind of thoughts when you meditate, try a body scan meditation. Lie on your back with your legs out and your arms by your sides, palms facing up. Focus your attention on each part of your body, slowly moving in order, from toe to head or head to toe. Notice the sensations and thoughts that emerge as your pass through each space.
You can even practice meditation lying down with yoga nidra.
The same wide variety is also available in breathwork exercises. You can find quick exercises for when you’re short on time and longer ones for a deeper experience. So even if you decide to incorporate more traditional self-care activities, you can still find ways to mix things up a little.
Make your mindfulness practice easy to do! Have you ever wanted to take a spontaneous walk, but then you can’t find your sneakers? Then you need to put on sunscreen before you head out and locate your baseball cap. You’re about to head out the door but suddenly you remember, you might need a mask too, so you go back inside. By the time you’re finally on your walk, it’s been 30 minutes, and you’re feeling 20% more stressed.
Flexibility thrives better with a little organization and preparation. So start grouping your equipment together so that when you want to use it, it’s easy to set up.
Put a bag of things you may need on a walk – like sunscreen, a hat, water, and extra mask – by the door with your shoes, ready to go. If you like to workout at home, store all your equipment together in one spot, and set out your workout clothes the night before. Bookmark your favorite online workouts, so they’re easy to find.
If you use music in your self-care, create a playlist of tunes that make you happy. Or find some soothing ambient sounds for your meditations. Set up an altar and a cozy cushion where you can center yourself before you begin.
When your mindfulness practice is flexible and works for you, you will stay more consistent with it, and it will feel effortless
What does your self-care look like right now? And how will you make changes so it can adapt better to busy or blah days? Let me know in the comments below or in The Badass Beauty Club.
LOVE + peace of mind!