We’re currently experiencing an extraordinary bout of hot weather in the UK and many of us are beginning to suffer from lack of sleep and symptoms of general fatigue. Dehydration and low energy both lead to feelings of burnout, so it’s important to pay close attention to your body. To ensure your batteries are fully charged in the coming weeks and months, SOL expert Gemma David is sharing some simple habits to help you create a more mindful summer.
Parties, weddings, camping trips and school holidays are about to hit peak flow, a crammed diary can put us in a state of high alert, increasing fatigue which can lead to shallow breathing linked to anxiety and insomnia. Although a regular meditation practice can help us become more mindful, there are also plenty of simple, super-quick tools that can form part of your self-care routine.
1. Take Regular Breath Breaks
To begin with, while you’re reading this, notice your breathing and where your breath begins and ends in your body. Don’t force the breath, simply allow it to come and go naturally, letting it deepen and soften if that feels right.
The simple act of noticing your breath will immediately bring relief to your body. Set a timer on your phone and take regular breath breaks throughout the day. The breath break can be as little as one minute long and can even be incorporated into many of the tasks we perform each day.
I seem to spend a lot of time with my dishwasher! So, as I’m filling and emptying it, I’ll make a conscious effort to bring attention to my breathing. In my head and to the rhythm of my breath, I repeat to myself, ‘I breathe in, I breathe out’. You could try this when folding laundry, walking or even drinking tea.
2. Connect with Nature
If possible, get outside and connect with nature. Studies have shown that our ability to adapt to temperature changes in our environment directly correlates with the amount of time we spend outside.
Take a walk in the park, by a river, or take your shoes off in your garden. Soak up a sunset, watch the sway of long grass or the gentle flow of trees as they move with the wind. Enjoy being in the present moment.
3. Tune into Music
Make a playlist of sounds or music that calms you. Set a timer and take 5-minute music breaks at regular intervals throughout your day. Plug yourself into your tunes, take some slow deep breaths and notice the surface you are sitting on and your feet as they touch the ground.
4. Express Gratitude
Spend a few moments each morning and evening thinking of at least one thing you are grateful for. This positively impacts your mindset and can hugely affect your entire day. This can be as simple as taking a moment to drink your morning tea.
5. Focus on Your Own Needs
Write a list of anything that helps you feel good about yourself or that you enjoy doing. I love warm/tepid salt baths in summer. Not only does the magnesium in the salt help my body replenish any lost through sweat, the tepid water helps me feel cool. Come back to this list whenever you feel wrung out. It will help you return focus to your own needs and allow you to replenish yourself as a priority.
In a few months’ time, the sunshine may feel like a distant memory, so while paying attention to your own energy stores, take a moment to inhale the heat, sunshine and sensations of this sunny time of year. Come back to yourself as often as possible, and know that like your breath, everything ebbs and flows.
Love Lizzie, Gemma and the SOL team x