Self care tip #1:
Don't forget to breathe
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed sometimes. Whether it’s because you have so many things to do or maybe you’re just in a tough spot right now with work, school, family, or whatever it may be. We’ve all had the feeling of a million thoughts racing through our heads, not letting us deal with what’s causing us stress or be productive. It’s not letting us be present with ourselves.
An important way to quiet down those racing thoughts is to focus on something, just one thing. I know you’re probably like, really? That’s the exact problem I have when my head’s all over the place. By problem, I mean focussing on doing one task (for example, breathing). Breathing is the most natural thing to us. We do it 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. But do we ever really stop and focus on it? Breathing is one thing, but breathing properly is a totally different thing. So many of us today just breathe from our chest because that’s how we’ve done it since forever. But you need to be breathing deep into and out from your stomach. This is a very yoga-ish approach, but it’s not wrong. Our breathing is a link between our body and our mind. So, we need to do it well.
Deep breathing is also an approach used for people with anxiety. You’re taught to practice deep breathing whenever you can and as often as you can because when you have a panic attack or an anxiety attack, your body is completely out of your control. It takes over, and all of a sudden your breathing too fast or you might have trouble breathing at all. So when you practice breathing deeply, the hope is when you’re in that state you’ll react by fighting through by breathing. Something as simple as breathing can help us with so many of our emotions, and it sucks that not many people know that.
If your breathing is short and erratic, then your mind will likely be disturbed and anxious. But, if your breathing is deep and slow, then your mind will be tranquil.
So, if you’re feeling like you’re all over the place and your brain won’t shut up, then take a second, close your eyes and really focus on your breathing. In, out, and slow. It helps to count four seconds of breathing in through your nose and four seconds of breathing out. Practice breathing deeply, and slowly - I know this sounds weird but trust me, once you start breathing properly your life changes.
Practice deep and slow breathing, It will change your life.
Here is a self-care tip for when deep breathing just doesn’t cut it.
The 5 Thinking Hats Trick
1. Name five things you can see. (Helps to close your eyes after step 1)
- Be specific with what you see. Is it a chair? What colour is it? How does it look?
2. Name four things you can feel
- Take a moment with your eyes closed and just be in your body. Feel your fingers at your side or feel your toes rub against the insides of your shoes.
3. Name three things you can hear.
- Again with your eyes closed, try to be present and listen to the sounds in your surroundings.
4. Name two things you can smell
- This one’s fun. You never know what you might smell when you focus on it.
5. Name one thing you love about yourself.
- This one’s important.
When you're done, open your eyes and take a deep breath (we just learned how) and it should be as if all those racing thoughts in your head have been wiped away and your mind is clear. Zen.
This trick is super helpful if you're feeling overwhelmed and/or if you’re having an anxiety or panic attack. The whole point is that you’ll be focused on completing the steps. So by the time you're done, everything else in your head is gone. This trick has helped me out so many times, and it’s such a relief when you’re done and your head is quiet. When you feel as if you’re about to have a panic attack, try this and hopefully you’ll have distracted your brain from the situation at hand. The best part is this trick is so easy. You can do it anywhere, literally anywhere.
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