As we enter this new year of fresh possibilities sometimes our expectations of ourselves and what we want to achieve or change can be too high or too demanding, and often lead to a sense of failure when we don’t manage to do those things. Rather than setting the bar so high, instead try being kinder to yourself and just make some simple changes that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine and will have a very positive impact on how you feel.
- Each morning on waking take five long, deep, calming breaths and bring your attention to your body. Take a few minutes to move your attention through each part of your body, thanking each part. Be grateful for this body and your health.
- Take a moment to be thankful for another day. Remember each new day really is a gift, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
- As you shower or get dressed think of a positive mantra or affirmation for your day. And then keep this with you as you go about your day. A few examples of positive affirmations are:
- I know that there is a deep peace within me and I can connect to it at any time.
- I notice the beauty in all things.
- I am free of worry and am at peace with who I am.
- I appreciate the power of stillness.
- I am grateful for all that I have.
- Rather than rushing your breakfast whilst checking your emails, instead really focus on what you are eating and drinking, the taste and smells of your food, and appreciate this moment to nourish your body and to pause before your day gets going.
- Try to change your route to work whenever possible, at least the part that you do on foot. Even walking on the opposite side of the street allows us to see the world around us with fresh eyes and a new appreciation. Look up rather down, be aware of the vastness of the sky above you. Walk mindfully, really feeling the connection of your feet to the ground, and be aware of the world around you rather than just being caught up in your thoughts.
- Punctuate your day with a few deep calming breaths and take a moment to refocus your awareness in your body, noticing what sensations and emotions you are feeling right now. You can do this anywhere, at your desk, on the tube, walking outside. Soften the tension in your face and jaw and stay present with the rhythm of the breath for a few moments.
- Be kind to yourself and to others. Smile as you go about your day. Notice how this makes you feel, and how small acts of kindness make others respond more positively.
- Nourish yourself in some small way each day: a quiet walk in nature, a walk in the park or by the river, a meal eaten slowly and mindfully, buy yourself some flowers, take a long, relaxing bath. Notice how it feels to take care of and nurture yourself.
- Take time to relax when you arrive home – just 10 minutes, lying on a bolster, or with the legs up the wall or simply flat on the floor, using an eye pillow to relax the eyes. Practice calming breathing in this pose. Allow yourself 10 minutes just ‘to be’. And notice how refreshed you feel afterwards.
- Keep a small journal by your bed. At the end of each day before going to sleep, write down 2 or 3 things that you are grateful for today. It can be anything: a delicious meal you ate, a beautiful sunset you saw, a good book you read, a kind gesture that someone made, your health, the comfortable bed you are in, your friends, your partner. A regular appreciation of the things that went well in our day can really start to bring about a shift in how we see and feel about our life.
Just give these simple things a try and notice the different they will make to your quality of life.
Sarah teaches regular Sunday afternoon workshops focusing on slowing down and finding more inner space and tranquility through the practice of restorative yoga, yin yoga, pranayama, yoga nidra and meditation.
The next one is on Sunday 11th March.
To find out more and to book a place: www.yogacreation.co.uk/workshops.php
She is also available to teach 1-2-1 restorative sessions.