It has been a tough few weeks.
Since Donald Trump’s inauguration, it has felt as if we’ve been waking up to a daily dose of shocking news. Amid the resulting protests and influx of information, it is important to unplug every now and then, and take care of yourself.
Practicing mindfulness is a way to become fully aware of oneself. Often when we are busy or are going about our daily lives, we tend to be doing something and thinking about what we have to do next, and next, and next, and so on. Eventually, we get overwhelmed by our thoughts or just get tired with all the stress we are taking upon ourselves.
So here are three simple ways you can take time out of your day to de-stress and reconnect your mind and body.
This trend got wildly popular, but with good reason! Not only is it a great way to unwind, but it is also fun. According to a CNN article, “Groundbreaking research in 2005 proved anxiety levels dropped when subjects colored mandalas,” which is a form of meditation where you can let yourself focus on the task at hand.
Here are 15 free printable coloring pages to get you started.
Breathing is our key to life, but are we really aware of how we breathe? Sometimes focusing and guiding your breathing is a simple yet effective way to lower your stress and anxiety.
Here’s how to do it:
- Sit on a chair with both feet placed on the ground, sit up reasonably straight, keep your comfort in mind, and don’t tense up.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Keep your hands on your chest and when you inhale, imagine your lungs filling up like a balloon.
- When you exhale, let your breath out slowly and imagine the balloon deflating.
- Repeat this exercise of inflating and deflating the balloon and if your mind wanders refocus it back to the balloon.
You can repeat this exercise daily when you wake up or before you sleep or whenever you find yourself tense.
3. Count Your Blessings
Yes, this may be cliche, but at a time like this when everything seems really dire, take a minute to find things you are grateful for.
Write them down somewhere, maybe in a journal, so that you can physically see all the things in your life that you are grateful for. Think about your day, what was something that made you smile? What were you glad that happened? What are things you can say alhumdulillah for? You can do this before you sleep so that you can go to sleep with a light heart.
Other things you can do:
- Go for a walk or a run, somewhere that calms you, for example, a nice park or somewhere beautiful.
- Dance or exercise to let out all that built in stress, close your eyes and let go.
- Do something creative! Draw or paint or bake a cake, channel your energy into creating something.
- De-clutter or clean, focus your emotions and stress into cleaning.