Written by Camilla Bazley | @coach_camilla
Mindfulness. What does it mean to you? There is no right or wrong, no specific regime to follow, but if practiced on a daily basis, it can be something that not only changes the way you think, feel, and act, but also can change your life!
So where do we start? How do we practice “mindfulness”. You’ve seen those colouring in books at the airport bookstore... “Mindful Colouring”. Yes. If that’s what be present and zoning out is to you, then get out your pencils and start colouring away. But as I mentioned, the act of mindfulness is different to everyone. The best way to set up a system to follow is to look at your lifestyle, and what correlates specifically to you and how you can perform at your best everyday.
Here are five ways to practice Mindfulness in 2020!
1. Set up a morning ritual
Who can relate to the old saying “I love my routine”. Well, your morning one is maybe the most important of all! How you start your day sets you up for how you perform physically and mentally until you hit the pillow again that night. For me, it’s as simple as waking up, having a lemon tea, sitting down and looking at my day, writing a simple “to-do” list, and then enjoying 10 minutes of stillness. I start my day at 4.30am Monday to Friday, so the ability to sit in peace before the rest of the world is stirring is priceless. I’m in the zone, I’m relaxed, and then I’m ready to hit the road running. Literally. A 5am training session is a non-negotiable for me. Training gives me clarity, energy, and is the best form of stress management. If you have the ability to give yourself a natural daily high, then why wouldn’t you?!
Yes, meditate. It’s no secret now that meditation has swept across the globe being one of the biggest game-changing trends from people who are high flying corporates to fitness enthusiasts and athletes, and the busy run around Mum. The ability to be present and for a moment, take control of your mental state is priceless. In a world that is so “busy” we have no time to sit still, it makes it even more important as to why we NEED to sit still. But how? I love to use Yoga as my form of meditation. A “moving mediation”. I am for this at least twice per week, and also add a 10 minute guided meditation using apps like Head Space. It’s a great way to learn the practice of mediation. The clearer your head, the more space you have for the things you want and need in your life. Aim for 10 minutes 3 times a week to start. You won’t regret it!
Need I say more? Exercise. We all know the benefits of what even 30 minutes of dedicated physical activity can do for us. I start every day with my exercise regime apart of my morning ritual. But the benefits don’t stop at just “feeling good”. Mental focus and presence are heightened when the body has been moving. Endorphins are a thing! When you exercise, these endorphins interact with receptors in your brain that may reduce your perception of pain and give you a euphoric feeling like that of morphine. It’s a natural drug and a natural high!
Maybe one of the most underrated physical acts… SLEEP! Selfishly prioritise your sleep. Set a non-negotiable standard with yourself to get the required hours of sleep you need every night. You know those days when you wake up on fire and nothing can get you down and no project is too hard? You probably had quality sleep right? It has so many significant impacts on health. Mental health being a major one. If you experience anxiety and spend much of your time being sleep deprived, you will find that your anxiety related symptoms may be increased, and your coping mechanisms are much lower. The way you think, act, and feel are all hugely influenced by the time on the pillow every night. So set a goal to be in bed by a certain time Monday to Friday. If you need, have an alarm go off 15 minutes before you need to be in bed as a reminder. Once the habit is created, you’ll find it much easier, and you will feel a million bucks!
5. Tech free zone
Technology in 2020… It truly is one of the greatest decades to be living in for access, having information readily available, and also monitoring your own health and “mindfulness”, but as contradicting as it seems, it’s also one of the leading causes of why we don’t practice mindfulness. I am to have at least an hour at night before I go to bed where I don’t touch my phone, social media, or emails. Take an hour to just be with yourself, and your mind. I never look at my phone once I’m in bed at night. Alarm on, sleep mode on, and out of reach. It’s a time to unclutter the head, not fill it! Your quality of sleep will be significantly impacted by this… a simple 15 minute tech free zone before bed, and then even place your phone out of reach when you are asleep.
For me to perform at my best day in and day out with such a physically and mentally demanding job, I prioritise mindfulness above everything, for everything else is ultimately influenced by the way I prime myself day in and day out. Make 2020 the year you take a mindful step in to each and every day, and you’ll be surprised at what you might be capable of!