Taking time for self-care is always essential to managing mental health. I’m sure we can all attest to feeling like there isn’t enough time during the day. It is so easy for us to get wrapped up into our daily lives, that we forget to be mindful of our mental health. Finding quick easy ways to care for myself is so important because I would rather care for myself a little at a time than to have to repair completely after a breakdown. It took some time to get to this point, and I am still learning to love myself everyday. Here are three ways I practice mindfulness daily:
1. Practice gratitude.
Instead of complaining about uncontrollable circumstances, I take back control when I replace complaints with things I am grateful for. This doesn’t always come naturally, but like any exercise, it gets easier over time.
When I first started practicing gratitude, I would wake up and say “ I hate getting up to go to this job”, but I would immediately replace that thought with “ I’m just a little sleepy, but at least I have a job to pay my bills.” Whenever I wanted to complain, I would replace the complaint with something I was grateful for. I found that by the end of the day I felt lighter, happier and had less to complain about.
2. Dump your thoughts.
If you have the privilege of working a job where you can dump your thoughts, I highly suggest giving it a try! I work a desk job, but I am always worrying about the next thing I have to get done. By the end of my day, I feel completely overwhelmed.
I get some relief when I am able to write down my thoughts, whether they are ideas for new content, homework assignments, or household chores. If I begin to feel myself getting overwhelmed, I write down what I’m thinking or make a quick to-do list. I find that it feels like dumping my brain and makes me productive at work because I am not distracted by my own thoughts and I don’t feel as bogged down at the end of the day.
3. Breath deeply and often.
When we become stressed , we tense up and don’t breathe as freely as when we’re relaxed. To combat this, it is important try to remember to take three deep breaths, lower your shoulders and unclench your jaw. Personally, I try to use a few moments of quiet time throughout the day to really focus on my breathing which in turn, clears my mind. I practice this technique in order to center myself when I’m feeling really anxious or overwhelmed. It has saved me from many episodes of anxiety and allowed me to release stress and tension quickly with little to no effort.
*Bonus* Take a personality test!
I recommend finding your personality type through a Myers-Briggs test. How does this help me practice mindfulness, you ask? Allow me to explain.
A personality test helps you better understand who you are and why you perceive the world the way you do. You are able to gain better understanding of your likes/dislikes and people you are most compatible with. My personal favorite is the 16 Personalities Myers-Briggs test. It fun and so detailed, it shows you what celebrity/historical figure shares your personality type. It even tells you what career paths you’d flourish in! The better you understand your own personality, the better you’ll understand yourself, and the easier it will be to to treat yourself with kindness.
Looking back, this journey has not felt long at all. I simply made small daily changes in my life to combat my own negative patterns of thinking. I learned that often times mental health and perception of our environment sometimes play closer roles than we may think.