5 Minutes to Self-Care
Many of us want to be more intentional, present, and less ridden with anxiety, but for some it can be quite daunting knowing how to start an effective mindfulness practice. We try 30 day yoga challenges, attempt to meditate an hour a day, and when that doesn't work; we bust out the wine and go back to square one. Let me just say this, anything and everything you want to accomplish is possible, as long as you're willing to break it down and be patient.
Start with five minutes and be honest with yourself. If you can practice mindfulness for five minutes a day, it'll be less intimidating and easier to set yourself up for success. There are 1440 minutes in a day, so five minutes is definitely achievable!
Below is a powerful exercise and three challenges to build up to; all which help to reset the nervous system, increase mindfulness, and de-stress you.
The 5 Minute Exercise:
One Minute: Notice your breath. Is is shallow, short, deep? Stay with it and just notice how your body feels in this initial moment. Is it tense, relaxed, anxious?
Take a couple deep, cleansing breaths through your nose and out your mouth.
Two Minutes: Do a quick body scan, starting from your feet and steadily moving up toward the crown of your head. Notice any tension, resistance, and aches in each region of the body.
Two Minutes: Begin belly breathing.
A. Find a comfortable position to sit or lay in, relaxing the body as best you can.
B. Place your hand over your abdomen. Inhale slowly through your nose and as far down into your belly as possible. You should feel your belly move your hand upwards toward the sky during the inhale, and your belly should also rise further than your chest.
C. Pause for a short moment as you hold your breath, about a second or two.
D. Take your time slowly exhaling fully and completely through the mouth, making sure your exhale is longer than your inhale as your belly deflates, and sinks in toward your spine, until there is no air left.
After these 5 minutes, take a moment to notice how you're feeling. Are you more relaxed? Is your body less tense? Feel free to repeat this exercise as many times as you need, or continue belly breathing until you feel at ease.
Challenge One: Begin by setting aside five minutes in the morning to practice this exercise.
Challenge Two: Begin by setting aside five minutes in the morning and evening to practice this exercise.
Challenge Three: Set an alarm (silent or loud) on your phone for every hour of your waking life, then set aside 5 minutes to practice this exercise during each hour.
Take a moment to set an intention, give yourself words of validation and tenderness until your next check-in. If you have a hard time coming up with any, here's a list you can borrow from:
I release the anxiety within me and I become more and more calm.
I am a badass and I can do this.
I acknowledge that the only constant in life is change.
I face difficult situations with courage.
I am doing the best I can and everything I do is enough.
I am worthy of peace, love and respect.
Good luck on your journey to a healthier, brighter, and balanced life. I'm rooting for you!