Even though it seems like we should have all the time in the world right now with shops, businesses, cafes and pubs closed, I think everyone seems to be busier than ever. Whether its' looking after others, cleaning, working from home or school work thats been taking up your time, you're probably still shattered at the end of the day. It's still important to find time for yourself, and keep your brain active. I think the best way to do this is set aside a certain time of the day, it doesn't have to be long, to focus on yourself. This can be anything from mediation, to colouring in or reading a book...
Meditation is getting more and more popular, with the number of people realising its benefits ever increasing. Meditation trains your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts, helping to reduce stress and help concentration. These benefits seem extremely helpful at times like this to help us de-stress and concentrate on what's important.
1. Take a deep breath and relax - have your eyes open or closed, whatever you prefer. Keep your breathing regulating, taking slow deep breaths in and out.
2. Make yourself aware of all the sounds around you. I recommend doing this outside where you can notice the sounds of nature surrounding you.
3. Now close your eyes (if they weren't already closed), and picture yourself dropping all your concerns, like you're dropping a bag off your shoulder. This allows you to have time away from the worries and concerns of day-to-day life.
4. Start counting your breaths, from one to ten, then begin again. This helps to keep your mind focused.
5. Really focus on your breathing. Notice the volume of your breaths, the speed of your breaths, and the warmth of them.
6. Let your mind wander and don't control it. Even though you have a new stream of thoughts, let them go through your head, but don't let them distract you from your breathing. Imagine your thoughts moving through your head in bubbles or clouds, floating around in you head.
A great way to relieve stress and anxiety is colouring in. This distracts the mind and makes you focus on using your hands to colour in. I think this helps the most when the picture is quite complex, so you can use a lot of different colours, and when the image looks peaceful.. like a river, or a nature scene. But really you can just colour in whatever you like! Whatever works best for you. Colouring pages are so easy to find on the internet to download and print, and a great cheap activity to do to keep your brain active.
Read a book
Reading benefits your mental health in so many ways, providing you with different perspectives of the world, allowing you to be creative and escape the real world, and literally changes your mind. The benefits are endless! Reading has even been shown to help depression, allowing a temporary escape from the real world. As well as a stress reliever, reading also helps you get a good nights sleep. And it may even help you live longer! With all of these amazing benefits... get reading!
So I guess the overall message of this article is to look after yourself. It's so easy to get swept away in looking after others and doing other things, and we forget you look after our mind. Keep your brain active and your mind healthy.. Let us know if this has been helpful!