There is no way for me to stress just how much I believe in all three of these things to help manage anxiety. And as individuals, those things will mean different things to each one of us.
For me, living a mindful life is about shutting out the anxious chatter in my brain. I immerse myself in the task at hand, focus on the sounds of my breathing and the sensation of the water when swimming, stop and breathe mindfully when overwhelmed and practice yoga to name a few techniques. Constantly living mindfully can be difficult with the stressful lives we lead which is why it is so important to plan for it and make it a priority. If you are finding yourself under pressure, without time to stop and be mindful at work, try these quick and easy sensory awareness techniques.
This truly is the most individual one on the list. But what is common, especially to women, is that we put off doing things that we like and make us happy in favour of doing what we should do or taking care of other people’s needs. You know we do it, there’s not need for me to go into a self-indulgent rant on societal conditioning and gender roles.
Suffice to say – prioritise yourself. You are important. Put time aside to do whatever it is that feeds your soul and makes you happy. Spend time in the garden, sit and read, swim or go to Bungee Fitness class (that’s actually a thing). Self care isn’t all bubble baths and facials. It is you time. Relax, sweat, learn or create. Just take time to care for you.
Surprisingly, self kindness is different to self care. It is about the attitude we have towards ourselves and the standards to which we hold ourselves. Often we are overly critical of our own behaviour and hold ourselves to higher standards than we would other people. My favourite way of making sure I’m not being too hard on myself is to ask myself “what would I say if I were my own best friend?” Would you be so harsh if you were speaking to your best friend about the exact same situation?
It doesn’t necessarily come easily to start with, so plan to be kind to yourself, to take care of yourself and to make time for mindfulness.