Winter mindfulness and relaxation ideas
Mindfulness is the ability to be present in the here and now. This can help you be more aware and understanding of your feelings in a non-judgemental way.
Mindfulness can help boost our mental health and wellbeing as it helps us better understand our emotions and actions and lets us enjoy the beauty in the world around us.
Here are some ideas for how you can relax and be mindful:
Try belly breathing
By taking some deep breaths, we can help ourselves to feel more relaxed. If you do try one of these breathing exercises, pay attention to how you respond and stop if you feel uncomfortable or strange in any way.
Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly (a few inches about the belly button) – try to breathe into the hand that is resting on your stomach. Place your hands on your lower ribs with middle fingers touching – if you are using your diaphragm, when you breathe in, the middle fingers draw away (just a few inches) from each other, and when we exhale, they touch again. Hug yourself with your hands on opposite shoulders (to stabilise the upper chest muscles and make it more difficult for them to be involved, which can help send the breath down). Three-part inhalation (you can imagine taking three sips of air in) and long steady exhalation. If you feel that the third sip strains your shoulders, feel free to do two instead.
Find a seat somewhere that is quiet and where you won’t be disturbed. You don’t need to meditate for too long – 5 or 10 minutes can be enough.
Find a seated position that you feel comfortable in for the set time you have decided to meditate. Close your eyes and start to notice your breath going in and going out. Try and keep your focus on your breathing. If you catch your mind drifting off and thinking about something else (which it most likely will so don’t worry if it does!), return your attention to back your breathing.
When the time is up, open your eyes gently, take in your surroundings. Try and recognise how your body feels, what you are thinking and what emotions are coming up.
Mindful colouring and drawing
Take 5 minutes each day to try some mindful colouring and/or drawing. You don’t need to be an artist to feel the positive effects of art on your wellbeing.
Instead of focusing on the end result, concentrate on the sensation of moving a pen or pencil across a piece of paper. You can also try mindful colouring-in books, which can help distract you from difficult emotions and the repetition can help soothe you. Check out our page on mindful drawing: how to draw a mandala here: LINK