We hear the words mindfulness and self-care often – at least it seems so. But what does it really mean for you? Let’s take a moment to answer a few questions:
- How do you practice being mindful in your daily living?
- What do you do to take care of yourself?
- How do you cope with stressful situations?
- What are the signs that you are becoming either overwhelmed or experiencing burnout?
- When you get up on mornings, what motivates you to begin your day?
- What do you think about just before bed?
Living a mindful life is so much more than sitting down to meditate or going to a yoga class. It’s about active awareness of what’s happening at the moment, and being able to fully experience what is happening. For example, if someone is talking to you and you are on your phone or laptop at the same time but say you are listening – you’re not being mindful. In this case, being mindful would mean that you put your phone down or turn away from the computer to give that person your undivided attention. While listening to the person, you are aware of what they are saying, how they are feeling, and how you respond to what you hear.
Self-care somewhat speaks for itself – it’s about taking care of your needs in several areas. Here are some examples:
- physical body: eg., getting your yearly check-up, exercise, nutrition, sleep, medication as prescribed.
- emotional and mental: eg., taking medication as prescribed, meditation
- financial: eg., managing debt, keeping a budget, having some savings.
- spiritual: eg., prayer, meditation, support groups, place of worship.
- environment/social: eg., safe housing/community, job, community groups, clean environment, social connections/friends.
There are several ways to practice self-care (some are even free!) and the most important thing is to do what works for you. We all have different needs, therefore, our self-care activities may vary. Here are some examples:
- getting enough sleep
- going to the beach/lake
- hanging out with friends/loved ones
- get yourself a treat
- have someone you can trust to share when you feel stressed or overwhelmed
- get some exercise (outdoor walking, gym membership, etc.)
- listen to your favorite music and you can even make fun playlists!
- social support
One of the ways I practice self-care and mindfulness at the same time is when I read. I like being fully absorbed in the book and diving into the words. I like the imagery that my brain creates as I read the stories! Another way I practice mindfulness is when I drink tea. I sip slowly and try to savor the taste of the tea. I try to drink the tea in silence and sometimes I read or watch tv while doing it (oops! ha!).
Mindfulness and self-care are connected as they both represent a way of life. I refer to both as a practice because they require intention, consistency, determination, and the belief that you deserve all good things.
How can you practice mindfulness? What are some things you can do for your self-care?
“Be you, love you. All ways, always.”
― Alexandra Elle