Mindfulness: Checking In With Yourself

2020 has been quite the year, and just when you think it can’t get any more hectic, it does. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed during times like this, and while it’s important to be knowledgeable about the events that are going on right now, your mental health comes first. Thankfully, people are becoming more open to talking about mental health.

By being mindful, we allow ourselves to take a step back and observe the present moment without judgment. Mental health is important to me, and I wanted to share the tips and tricks I have learned with you. The Team SAK wants you to know that we are here for you and are rooting for your well-being. Here are some of the things you can do to check in with yourself throughout the day.

Meditate

If you’re anything like me, your mind feels like it’s going 100 miles per hour at all times. When I am meditating, I often find myself thinking about what I need to do today, insecurities, worries, and especially “umm.. am I even doing this right… how long has it been? Is it almost over?” The moment we start saying, “I have so much to do, why am I even taking time to meditate?” we are no longer practicing meditation, we are practicing judgment. We have to learn to welcome our thoughts but not let them consume or distract us from the present moment. If you think about it, the only time we ever truly have is NOW.

Meditating is just like anything else you want to become good at; you have to be consistent with your practice if you’re going to see the benefits. If it seems impossible to focus, try meditating for just 5 minutes a day. Once you get used to 5 minutes, try 10 minutes, then 15 minutes! You can focus on your breath and imagine that you’re inhaling all the good and exhaling all the bad. Guided meditations are perfect for beginners, I like to use the app Calm, but I know many people love Headspace; you could even type “guided meditation” on YouTube.

Think of it as a time set aside to restore your mind. You’ll realize that if you’re feeling good about yourself, you’ll project that energy into everything you do life.

Practice Gratitude

When we do not feel our best, we tend to get into these negative thought cycles; we forget to count our blessings. There is always something to be grateful for, even on your worst days, when you have to look a little harder. When we learn to be thankful for both the positive and negative experiences, we put positive energy into the universe.

Being grateful helps you become a better person and allows you to help others. You can practice gratitude by writing in a journal or simply saying statements like “I am grateful for…” throughout the day. I find it best to journal right when you wake up or before you go to bed. Here’s a list of 10 gratitude prompts:

Being Kind To Yourself

I would tell you to look at yourself in the mirror and say positive affirmations, but if you don’t honestly believe what you’re saying, you will not benefit from affirmations. Instead, try coming up with one thing you like/love about yourself and focus on it. After you’ve found one thing, look for another. This helps you realize that you are so much more than your negative thoughts. Whatever you’re going through is only a small part of you, what else are you?

For example, I think I am courageous. Why? Because for the most part, I follow my heart, and even though I am scared to do something, I do not let fear hold me back. If you can’t find a why that’s okay too, you don’t need to have a reason for everything. By explaining to yourself why you love this characteristic/feature, you make the statement more powerful. Take some time to reflect on how far you’ve come, be proud! Life is not easy, but it’s so worth it.

Spend Some Time Outside

I’m outside in 109° weather as I’m typing this. Regardless of where you live, taking a few minutes to go out and breathe some fresh air can improve your mood. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or alone when you’re in your room/house all day. Going for a walk can help clear your mind while getting some exercise; it can also help you reflect on your feelings. You can even take a day trip to nature. Next time you go outside, try this grounding technique:

These are all things I am continuously working on. If I miss a day or even a week, I do not beat myself up about it. I just remind myself that these are things I need to keep working on; it’s good to take accountability and start again. Never give up on yourself because you’re all you’ve got!

So remember, your feelings are valid, and you are never alone. Don’t be so hard on yourself, we’re going through tough times right now, and it’s important to be compassionate with yourself.

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