By Sarah Romotsky, Director, Healthcare Partnerships at Headspace
1. Navigating change and managing challenging thoughts & emotions
During all of this uncertainty, feeling overwhelmed, anxious and helpless is completely normal. This is an unprecedented time for all of us and as the world collectively takes steps to safeguard our physical health, it’s also vital to take care of our minds as well.
So, this week, Headspace has launched a free, specially-curated “Weathering the storm” collection of meditation and mindfulness content to help people find some space and kindness for themselves, and those around them.
Mindfulness is proven to help people better manage difficult emotions and control anxiety and worry. Through mindfulness, we can become more aware of how this anxiety manifests in our minds and bodies and we learn to observe these feelings from afar, understanding them as normal and expected experiences.
When worry sets in, use your breath as an anchor to feel connected to the present moment, distancing yourself from unnerving thoughts about the uncertain future. By focussing on the physicality of your rising and sinking breath, you ground yourself in the present.
2. Invest in you
When times like this arise, it’s understandable to instantly prioritise the wellbeing of others around us; however, it’s really important to ensure you’re carving out time to prioritise your own mental wellbeing by doing the things that make you happy.
Practice self-compassion by being honest about how you’re truly feeling, and remember that if you’re not feeling well, you’re not only being kind to yourself by staying home, but you’re protecting those who might be vulnerable as well.
3. Keep physical
Many people use exercise as a self-care tool within their daily routines, but during this period it may prove harder to keep active. Whilst we are confined to smaller living spaces, our bodies will still require daily movement and it’s important to ensure you build out time in your day to get moving.
There are many ways to overcome this obstacle, even if you’re living in close quarters with others or small spaces. A daily stretching routine is an excellent way to stay fit and healthy, while maintaining a balanced mind and body connection. If you’re able to get outside, try incorporating mindfulness into exercises such as walking or running, where you can ground the mind and manage the connection between our body and thoughts.
Within Headspace’s “Weathering the storm” collection, there are two at-home workouts to help you implement this approach to exercise.
4. Prioritise restful sleep
Sleep plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy mindset as well a healthy immune system. Mindfulness helps you create the inner conditions for truly restful sleep, which is especially important when we could be exposed to illness and are experiencing heightened levels of stress.
Although it may seem all normality has gone out the window, try to implement a consistent bed-time routine which allows your mind to switch off and let go of the day. Make sure you’re not stimulating the mind late at night by scrolling through social media or answering emails. You could also try using Sleep by Headspace, which has content designed to help you disengage with the busy day and drift off into a slumber.
Restful sleep largely depends on having a rested mind and so preparation for this can begin in the daytime. More often than not, our troubles with sleeping are rooted in our thinking mind, so by practicing mindfulness throughout the day, you are training your mind to create a healthy mental environment for good rest.
Download Headspace from the App Store or Google Play to access the Weathering the Storm collection, or visit www.headspace.com for more info