During stressful days and hectic times, it is necessary for the good of one’s mental and emotional well-being to be in touch with one’s own feelings.
Even more so, being in tune with the every-day will decrease feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, and will aid in coping with the stresses of daily life. It is with this “tuning” that we must learn to focus our energies on the present moment, our present feelings and emotions, and our present actions. Being aware of those aspects to our day and of ourselves is what keeps us at peace and focused throughout the busyness. But how can you do this? Below are some tips on how to practice mindfulness – even when your spare time is close to nothing.
- Wake up earlier in the morning to read, journal, do breathing exercises, yoga, or exercise.
- Accept that you don’t have to “do too much” – Doing something small is better than doing nothing at all. Don’t stress yourself out about wanting to be mindful, create a routine over time.
- Have a strict time at night when you are done with studying, work, and technology. Use that time to be mindful in whatever way works for your mental health. I prefer to have my quiet time then, and dive into my Bible and prayer. I also enjoy journaling, reading something that is not social work related, and exercising and doing some yoga. It is also during this time, I find it is best for me (at this stage of my life) to shower and have a shortened nightly pamper routine as well.
- Utilize your commute time to think, listen to mindfulness podcasts or audio books, or practice deep breathing.
- Do the same during your lunch break. While eating, also make it a happen to not eat distracted, and really focus on the bites you are consuming. What does it taste like? How does it feel? What is the texture? Do you truly enjoy what you are eating?
- Shut off your phone, close your office door, and do whatever you need to do to become peaceful, relaxed, and centered. Again, you don’t have to do this for a long period of time. Simply five minutes a day will aid in decreasing those stress levels and give you the impression of a break in between the chaos.
- Go for a walk during your lunch break – after mindfully eating of course! Enjoy the scenery. Don’t listen to music, but listen the world around you. You may see and hear things you never noticed before.
- Decrease your time on social media in exchange for time elsewhere. If you’re serious about mindfulness, temporarily disable or delete social media accounts.
- Prioritize peace of mind. Similar to having a strict time at night, understand that you cannot help others if you are struggling and breaking from the stress. Mental health is just as important as anything else, so treat yourself with the respect and dignity you would treat your clients with!
Be kind to yourself today. Use these helpful suggestions to unwind and realize that life is worth living, especially when you are actively do so. Don’t miss out on experiencing there here and now when tomorrow is not promised. Best wishes in your endeavor to becoming a mindful and stress-free social worker.