Self-care practices like exercise, meditation, mindful breathing and even pampering beauty treatments like massages, blowouts and face masques add value to your life, but you may often think, “Oh, I don’t have time for that!” Our busy lifestyles can make self-care seem out of reach, but it doesn’t have to be. If you shift your mindset from “I don’t have time for that” to “I’m willing to make time,” the time will show up!
There’s a handful of self-care tools that take 30 seconds to a few minutes to do and they are available to you at any moment — and the more you practice them, the easier it is to make them a habit. All these little self-care practices add up to a greater sense of well-being and enjoyment of your daily activities. Here’s what meditation and mindfulness can do for you and how to get started.
Meditation can help you feel more calm, present, joyful and self-aware. However, it’s easy to shy away from beginning a meditation practice; the idea of quieting the mind or sitting in stillness can be intimidating. Meditation comes in all forms - it’s not just sitting in silence for a long time hoping for a profound experience. Let’s bust through the limiting beliefs that keep us away from meditation:
1. I can’t meditate because I can’t quiet my mind.
2. I’m too busy to meditate.
3. When my mind slows down, I’ll begin meditating.
4. I tried it and it didn’t work for me.
Where to begin:
1. Don’t overthink it or put it off, just begin. We walk before we run. A minute or two here and there adds up to a meditation practice. There are many apps or guided meditations you can try — and if you have a Google Home, you can say, “Google, talk to Aveda” and do one along with us!
3. Try a few different forms. You can try everything from guided to walking to creative visualization to singing meditations. You’ll find one that works for you.
4. Have fun with it. Don’t judge yourself if you think it’s hard or you are doing it wrong. You’re not.
5. Find a spot that works for you. The bath is a great place to relax. Maybe your bed or the parking lot outside your office is your happy place, or perhaps nature soothes your mind.
Beyond meditation there’s mindfulness, the practice of focusing your awareness on what’s going on right now and consciously trying to be in the present moment.
There are situations where our minds run wild and project negative outcomes on situations that haven’t even happened. Worrying about things you can’t predict robs you of the moment you’re living in. Let’s get you back down to Earth!
Where to begin:
1. Become aware of when you’re not fully present. Are you at work waiting for a text from the person you had a first date with last night? Are you at dinner with your family wondering if your boss thinks you’re not doing a good job? Are you scrolling social media feeling FOMO and wondering if there are parties you aren’t invited to? These are things we obsess about, but don’t have clear answers to. What are these negative thoughts and projections costing you? How do they make you feel? Chances are, if these thoughts make you feel bad, you’re willing to release them.
2. Name the fears and projections that keep you from living in the present moment. When you name it, you know it, and then you can change it. Find out where you’re projecting, so that when you slip into those thought patterns you can think to yourself, “I’m at dinner with my family, and whether or not my boss thinks I’m doing a good job doesn’t matter right now.” It’s this tiny mad idea that robs us of the present moment, so call it out and laugh at it.
3. Change your environment. If you’re spinning out at work, get up and take a walk or check in on a coworker you enjoy spending time with. Get out of your head and out of your way!
4. Are you rushing around with your head buried in your phone? Look up! Take a few seconds to stop, look at the sky and take a breath. That’s a form of a mindfulness meditation.
Benefits of practicing mindfulness
Sometimes the biggest benefit is a shift in perception. Things that may have sparked anger or fear in you don’t feel so bad; you can easily shift back to the present moment and be aware of your surroundings. You see that you have a choice in how to react and move forward.
When you’re not projecting disasters, you can be present and more helpful to others around you. You will feel calmer and connected. You can’t always control the outcomes to things, but when you practice mindfulness, you care less about the outcomes. It’s like having faith that you are enough and everything is as it should be in the moment.
Keep it going
Self-care isn’t a one and done thing. It’s an ongoing journey. Consider this: How well do you take care of yourself throughout the day? Maybe you exercise in the morning or meditate to set up your day for success. What happens past that point? As you go through your day, do you turn to self-care tools to reboot your energy and shake things off when they go wrong? Or do you hold on to things that upset you, like staying angry after someone cut you off on your way to work?
Your mindfulness and meditation tools are available to you at any point during the day. Once you know them and see how they can work for you, they will always work for you! What are some of your favorite self-care practices?