Ways to clear your mind- words by mio ambassador: Tiffany Soi
As we make our way through 2017, many of us will have made our next set of promises to “do better”: We’re getting fit to perform a 10k run, a London to Paris cycle or compete in Ninja Warrior; We’re committing to eating healthily, cutting out the vino (for a time) and maybe even going full raw in our diets; We’re strategising our next promotion and learning to speak an extra language on the side. We can end up going at our goals at quite a hard and ultimately unsustainable pace, meaning we are more likely to give up on all our aims by the time February arrives. The one thing we should all be prioritising this year for more sustainable goal achievement, and overall happier living, is time allocation to our relaxation and self care. By bringing balance to our body and mind, we are much more likely to achieve our big goals.
As a working professional, a climbing athlete and yoga teacher with other business ventures on the side, I know what it means to have a seriously full day. Like everyone, I know what happens when I’ve let that day run far too long into the night, had horrific sleep and woken up experiencing excessive anxiety and feeling like I might poof into oblivion. I also know what a life-changing difference is made by devoting time in my day to relaxing, de-stressing and self care: I have the energy and mental function to get me through all the things I both need and absolutely want to do. So my advice to you this 2017 is to prioritise and create your own relaxation and self-care practices:
Take out technology
The morning should be your time: an active meditation if you will. When the alarm goes most of you will reach for your phone to feed your social media junkie and check your work emails. Before you’ve even left your bed, your brain will be on fire. Leave at least 30 minutes before you get on the tech. Instead: take 5 – 10 minutes to do some basic stretches to wake your whole system up: consume a warm glass of water with a squeeze of lemon to detoxify and revive your digestive system: enjoy having a shower and get dressed and: Notice the flavours of eating your breakfast and indulge in a few pages of a book or glossy. By the time you get to your phone, you’ll be able to have coherent responses to the information you’re taking in. Likewise in the evenings, give up the tech & media for 30 mins – 1 hour before bed. Screen lights and additional information keep the brain alert and stressed whilst also preventing it from producing the melatonin it needs to get you to sleep. Take 10 minutes for an evening meditation to wind down – Check out the very helpful Headspace app. Commit to this and you will notice the difference to your overall mood and function.
Rain or shine, get outside at least once during the daylight hours, especially during the winter period. Mid afternoon around 2/3pm is a good time to take 10 minutes outside to pause, breathe, and just let your mind wander. It will help you with assimilating information and leave you better able to handle the tasks ahead. Preferably, leave your phone at your desk!
Do some yoga
We need to balance intensive physical and mental activity with ease. There are many forms of yoga, some of which can be also be demanding and intensive. Seek out a class, or do some practice at home, of slower paced yoga once or twice a week. Yin classes or restorative labelled classes are great for getting blood to circulate around your whole body gently but also bring the benefits of calmer breathing. Gentle yoga, particularly in the evening, for as little as 30 minutes will calm the nervous system and regulate your production of adrenalin and cortisol, leading to a much calmer, clearer mind. A great pose for you to try for relieving hip, back and leg tension is the pigeon pose using a bolster/cushion under your hips to give you lots of support – try spending 2/3 minutes on each side resting in this pose using your forearms for support or resting your forehead on the ground. If you don’t have a bolster, doing this on your bed is also a great alternative.
Embrace the power of smell
Smell is incredibly powerful for bringing tranquility and focus to the mind. You can rub essential oils on pulse points, spritz into the air, or use an oil burner or diffuser. Key aromas are lavender, geranium, cypress, mint and lemon. Whether tackling work tasks or doing your own home yoga practice, smell can shift you into a much calmer state of being. My favourite for bringing calm and clarity to my mental woes? Several spritzes of Mio’s Liquid Yoga Space Spray
– when I am sat in front of my computer, before I begin my evening yoga practice, and also on my pillows before I go to bed. A few deep breaths of their combination of powerful essential oils instantly transports my mind to a calmer, more focused state.
Be kinder to your tootsies
Your feet and legs take a real hammering, undergoing a huge amount of stress in the day and accumulating a lot of tension that transfers through the body. I highly recommend allocating time to foot reflexology as a more regular fixture in your diary: Reflexology focuses on the pressure points that help trigger the relaxation response in the body. Short sessions of 20-30 minutes are enough to reap the benefits of this practice. Need a quick home solution for the evening? Roll each of your feet over a golf ball to get into the really tight areas. Follow up by filling a large bowl/bucket with very warm water and a good helping of Mio’s Liquid Yoga
and soak your feet for 15 minutes: the combination of essential oils and epsom salts is detoxifying and soothing, with the aroma being restorative and calming for your mind. It’s a great way to give yourself a time out (even if you don’t have a bath tub!)
We all have immense capacity to go hard and play harder – But we can bring in balancing activities that mean we can go the distance not just for a few months, but for the whole year and years to come! I hope you find these practices low in time-consumption but also motivating – who doesn’t want to feel more capable across the board? These changes will bring huge benefits to your overall wellbeing as well as your ability achieve more of what you want this year.
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