Read Time: 5 Minutes
Guest Author: James Gardiner@journey.in.reflection
This is a busy time of year.
We are constantly on the go. Dinners, parties, events, shopping; repeat.
It can be easy to get overwhelmed while attending to and visiting with others during this time of year.
During these times with a chaotic schedule, it is important to take some time for yourself.
We often hear that before we can take care of others, we must take care of ourselves.
But, how often do we actually do this?
I’ve found myself agreeing with the above statement and then getting immediately stuck in how to go about achieving that care...Do I have access to the right tools?
The time to do so?
The answer is YES.
We all have the power to care for ourselves already built into us.
There is no barrier to entry.
We can do this without the reliance on fancy equipment.
It starts with stillness and silence. We find this when we simply take the time to stop and turn within. Call it meditation, call it mindfulness, call it whatever you want to call it, but this is self care in its raw form. There is no need to dress it up and no need to seek external validation for it..the science of it dates back thousands of years, it has stuck around.
This short article will help provide you with strategies to find a state of stillness, anywhere, anytime
Here are a couple of sample exercises that you can try out right away.
Exercise 1: Breathing is the Centre
Start by closing your eyes, acknowledge the thoughts that rush in. Acknowledge that we are not these thoughts and that we have the choice to simply let them go. Don’t get stuck on any particular thought here - allow the thoughts to fade just as they enter and slowly shift your mind’s eye to the breath. Capture your breath cycle by attending to the inhalation: count the seconds to a comfortable and full abdomen, pause for a full two seconds and then attend the exhalation: and ensure it is slow, smooth and intentional, emptying the abdomen.
Complete ten breath cycles (which will take no more than 3 minutes) and check in with yourself.
Almost as if waking from a restful midday nap?
Whatever you feel, note it and slowly and with hesitation, open the eyes and look around you.
Exercise 2 and 3: Absorb and be Absorbed. Walk with Intent.
Once you have taken in the environment around you, close the eyes again.
Situate yourself with the breath and then allow the space around you to absorb you while you absorb it.
Remain still, remain silent, be with the space you occupy, the space you are a part of.
When you feel ready, stand in place, opening the eyes, but not focusing on any object in particular. Firmly engage the feet with the ground below you - Be there. Inhale. Pause. Exhale.
Begin a silent walk, keeping the ground beneath you as the focus. Grip it with the toes and acknowledge the support it provides us as you walk, taking in each individual step.
Shift the mind’s eye to the breath once again and begin to temper your walk:
Inhale for four calm and steady steps,
Pause for two steps and,
Exhale for 6 calm and steady steps.
Repeat the breath cycle ten times.
As needed, re-centre the mind on not going anywhere in particular, not focusing on any object in particular; slowing the walking tempo to suit the breath cycle.
I always encourage journaling for those that wish to do so. With these exercises, journaling is used as a means of acknowledging the power of transformative silence. If you wish to do so, try the following:
Prior to beginning the exercise, note your resting Heart Rate and then take a pen and paper and write three adjectives to describe your current state.
Complete Exercise 1: Breathing is the Centre
Write the three adjectives that describe your current state. Are they the same as the beginning?
Note your resting Heart Rate.
Complete Exercises 2 & 3: Absorb and be Absorbed. Walk with Intent.
Write three things, of any size or origin, that you are grateful for.
Write the three adjectives that describe your current state.
Note your resting Heart Rate.
The regular use of mind state management strategies leads to greater sense of self worth, a calmer state from which to work and greater productivity.
We all have the power to care for ourselves built into us.
It starts with stillness and silence.
Please take the time for you.
Take the time not to worry about what others think ,
Take the time to allow your Self to be the centre of you.