I’ll begin with a phrase that accompanies me to most of my work presentations, and that is; ‘You don’t need to spend hours meditating on top of a mountain to experience the proven benefits of mindfulness! Simply a few micro moments within your day, can have a huge impact on your wellbeing.’  We may think of the spa or a sumptuous bubble bath when the phrase ‘Self care’ comes in to mind, and whilst these ideas can often do the trick, they aren't always readily accessible in our moment of need! Mindful self care can bridge the gap between the everyday and the extravagant for enhancing wellbeing whenever we create the opportunity!

So what really is mindfulness? 

In essence, mindfulness is achieving a state of awareness, tuning into the senses to be present in the moment, in the here and the now. The beauty of mindfulness means that when we embody this practice and explore sensations within the brain and body- we can do so with compassion and curiosity- leaving judgement at the door! Mindfulness can be viewed as a ‘pause’ button within our day, with today’s busy, modern lifestyles and somewhat toxic hustle culture- we may find ourselves neglecting our needs or feeling a pressure to be ‘always on the go.’ Micro moments of mindfulness can support our mental and physical health by being able to tune in what our bodies are truly telling us. 

Where does self care fit in?

The beauty of using mindfulness for self care, means that we compassionately respond to the signals our brain and body are sending us. For example, on days where my children have woken me many times in the night, and I’ve emerged from my bed feeling more like a grumpy ogre than a nurturing mother, I’ll consciously take a mindful pause to try and reset my mood. I’ll identify that what sits behind the grumpiness is actually tiredness, that I'm only human, and take a decision to do something supportive rather than berate myself or let the bad mood spiral. Sometimes this little act of self care may be brief and look like some deep inhales and exhales as I walk downstairs. It could be tuning into the sense of taste and touch for a mindful cuppa - something to nourish me and really bring me back into the present, away from the to-do list’s or what if's.

As we enter spring, my cherished ritual is to take my morning coffee outdoors for a minute or two and tune into my sense of hearing, as the chorus of morning birdsong soothes my nervous system. My sight tunes into the swaying trees and emerging blooms, and my sense of smell becomes overtaken with the aroma of my coffee and growing herb garden as I feel grounded and restored, to start my day on a more positive note.

Some simple mindful, self care practice idea’s;

  •  Use the sense of smell and the power of scent memory coupled with an empowering phrase of positive affirmation anytime you need a pick me up. This might be a spritz of pillow mist each night before bed, with the words ‘ I honour my need to rest.’ Or an uplifting citrus scent during the day, for added motivation and reassurance- perhaps accompanied with the phrase ‘ I am enough.’ Whether it’s lighting your favourite Willow & Finn candle, mindfully massaging in your daily moisturiser or taking a moment to notice the aroma of your shower gel- don’t underestimate the power of our scent receptors in neuroplasticity (repetition), to create positive new thought patterns, beliefs and neural pathways

  •  Physically ground yourself by stepping outdoors barefoot , The effects of earthing or grounding have now been widely researched, and this nature connection can instantly help us to feel uplifted and less stressed= particularly when accompanied by a mini visualisation.

  •  Complete a body scan to acknowledge how the mind/ body is feeling and try a feel-good or calming activity to soothe this part of you. For example- tired and achy body, could benefit from laying down and listening to a guided meditation or a soak with some bath salts. A whirring and overthinking mind may be relieved with some mindful journaling, or having a small digital detox by curling up with a book to reduce overstimulation.  

  •  Whether we are 2 or 102, Mindful acts of self care can support our everyday emotional health by simply pausing to listen to our senses and creating awareness, from cooking to colouring in , we can turn our usual routines into mindful moments if we immerse ourselves that little bit deeper, write a list of hobbies or activities that help you or your family to feel calm- and refer back to this ‘toolbox’ whenever you need a mindful moment. 

Emma is an accredited mindfulness practitioner based in Woking, Surrey- sharing the magic of mindfulness with all ages and stages of life. From schools to care homes, 1-2-1 coaching to group programmes, Corporate sessions to parent and child workshops and seasonal retreats- Emma aims to offer practical, simple and effective mindfulness techniques to support wellbeing. www.emmamartinmindfulness.com www.instagram.com/emmamartinmindfulness www.facebook.com/emmamartinmindfulness

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