Our lives are continually changing; new relationships are forged, existing ones let go, our children grow, and people move home. As much as time ebbs and flows, we need time and space to adjust, recover, heal and eventually move on. Lockdown may have been a wonderful time for you, or you could have felt isolated or stressed with little time for yourself - or a combination of all three. One thing is for sure, transitioning back into old routines is not to be taken lightly. However, it can be easier if you give yourself a break. Remember to be kind to yourself; find things every day that bring you joy and peace.
You may be tempted to throw yourself back into old ways, or have new goals and ideas of how you want your life to be; there is no ‘new normal’ there is only your journey and the attitude you choose to take. Finding time to pause and give your mind and body time to catch up can make this journey easier, and we have put together several simple exercises to help you find a little calm, time to let your mind quieten and give you space to ease into your new life.
1. Have a cup of Mindfulness.
Instead of rushing around and finding jobs to do in every moment, you can take this opportunity to pause, have a cup of relaxing herbal tea and sit down somewhere quiet and free of distractions to enjoy it.
Pour freshly boiled water over the teabag or infuser and leave to steep for at least 5 mins. While you are waiting for your tea to be ready, notice how the water causes the herbs to swell, breath in the aroma and watch how the colour of the water begins to change. Keep concentrating on the mug, feel the warmth in your hands and continue with nice deep, even breaths. Concentrate on the changing colour and aroma. The scent alone can help you relax and take a moment to consider the benefits this tea will bring to your body and mental wellbeing.
If other thoughts enter your head, let them disappear, this time is for you to be in this moment, everything can wait until you are finished. You need this time to give yourself a break - the benefits are; you will feel more relaxed, be better able to concentrate and be more efficient and in control for the rest of the day.
2. A good nights sleep.
Change can cause chaos for your sleeping routine, just when a good nights sleep can help the most. Thoughts running through your head, to-do lists and worried can all stop you drifting off, so we have this program to help you drift off.
When you've done everything you can for the day, and before you start watching TV or checking social media, go and pour yourself a bath. Add some bath salts, essential oils or whatever else makes you happy and light a scented candle - bring a notebook and pen if you are overwhelmed with things you need to remember.
As you lie back in the water, think about your body, where there are areas of tension take a deep breath in and as you exhale imagine the area softening and letting go in the warm water. Keep going around your whole body, breathing deeply and allowing all your muscles soften and relax. Focus on areas where tension is stored such as your shoulders, temples and jaw and use the out-breath to let go. Breath in the aroma from the oils or the candle and see how that makes you feel. Feel the water on your skin how it supports and warms you.
Let your mind slow down and if any thoughts come in, let them go and bring your attention back to your breath. If you find your mind is fixed on any particular idea or can't let go, write it on the piece of paper to deal with later. This your time to relax, you need this in order to do the many things you have to deal with in your life, so enjoy this time of calm and quiet.
When you get out of the bath, keep the feeling of peace and relaxation and put yourself to bed. Before you try to go to sleep, there are three simple yoga positions to try in bed all of which help to get a good nights sleep.
First of all, we have Child's pose:
On the bed, get onto all fours with your knees comfortably together and sit back onto your feet. Relax your head down onto the bed and reach your hands round towards your feet. If your hips or spine are too stiff for you to relax in this position put some pillows under your head or on your knees. Let your spine soften, shoulders relax and breath deeply. This position should be comfortable and comforting so use pillows wherever needed to ensure this happens.
Next is Butterfly pose:
Sitting up, bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees open and relax, if your hips are tight put pillows underneath your knees so your muscles can relax. Using your hands and elbows for support lie back onto the bed, your arms comfortably beside you with your palms facing the ceiling. Making sure the pillows are positioned, so there is no tension in your body and relax.
Lastly, legs up the wall:
You need to get in a position where you are lying on your bed with your body next to the headboard or wall, and your legs are up leaning against the wall. If the muscles in the back of your legs are tight, then bring your body slightly away from the wall, or elevate your hips with a cushion.
Stay in each position for as long as you wish, a few minutes in each is ideal. Make sure you are entirely comfortable and relaxed. This type of yoga is called Restorative and works by letting the body relax, and when the muscles are in this state, they gradually let go and bring increased flexibility and relief.
Now hopefully your body and mind are relaxed, and you should drift off to a night of deliciously deep sleep. Try not to get caught up with TV or on your phone but give yourself this opportunity to wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated - you deserve it! Good night and sweet dreams
3. Get outdoors.
Take yourself somewhere green; a park, a hill or a wood. Just take a blanket and a bottle of water, to merely sit and notice what is going on around you. It doesn't matter if you take your children, your dog or just yourself but don't look at your phone, book or magazine, spend 20 minutes sitting and absorbing the moment.
Look at how the grass grows, look at the trees, the branches, the leaves and how they move in the breeze. How the colours vary, the suns rays of light, and the shadows that fall. Insects, birds and little creatures find homes in the trees. Bathe your eyes in the beautiful array of greens.
We know that being outside is good for us, providing our vitamin D requirement, but sunlight on your skin can also increase the brain's release of the hormone serotonin. The same one that is triggered when we think about a winning moment. Great for raising your mood and helping you feel calm and focused.
You may well find yourself outside fairly regularly but how often are you not thinking about ten different things?! This is a time to simply be - not to do anything but sit and notice – it’s a beautiful world, let your soul soak it in.
Make sure you are dressed appropriately 😉