I’m sharing some simple ideas for how to feel better quickly when you’re feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and tired. Read on to discover nine of my favourite easy activities that can help to shift your mood – especially when you’re struggling to find even just a few moments for yourself…
They’re inspired by my experience of hosting a workshop for International Women’s Day at the WOW festival this weekend: Peaceful Parenting in a Burning World.
It was a space for parents to share the challenges they’re facing in life and parenting, and for me to offer them some insights and support.
We discussed some simple strategies to find greater calm, to soothe our nervous systems, and quiet our over-critical minds. Because tending to our own needs is the basis for being able to care calmly for the others in our lives.
Of course you don’t have to be a parent to benefit from these easy self care, self compassion and mindfulness strategies. They can all be undertaken in just a few minutes, (if necessary, with a child on your hip!). They’re relevant to anyone who’d like to take a moment to shift their emotional and physical state.
Tend to your body:
Breathe – take a few deep conscious breaths. Close your eyes, or soften your gaze and bring your attention inwards. With each out breath, notice anywhere that you are holding tension or feeling aches and pain, and allow that part of your body to soften a little more with each breath. If you have time, it’s great to finish this with a stretch:
Stretch your body – stand up and give yourself a whole body yawn. Think of the kind of stretch you make when you get up in the morning – opening your chest and feeling every part of your body expand. Alternative ways to stretch out the tension are a kitchen disco, bopping along to your favourite song. Or you can simply allow your body to guide your movement and ask it what it needs – a walk, a wiggle, a shake?
Drink water – pour yourself a glass of water, or mindfully make yourself a cup of herbal tea – as you do so, give this task your full attention, as if you were preparing a beautiful gift for yourself. When you drink it, take a moment to appreciate the abundance of your access to water, and the delicious sensations and tastes.
Tend to your mind:
Simplify your focus – instead of letting your mind race on to the next thing, or starting to worry about something that’s already happened, bring yourself into the present by drawing a Sea Soul Blessings card. Take a few minutes to think about what this sea quality might mean to you today. If writing is your thing, you might like to write it out in a journal.
Practice self compassion – give yourself a hug. If that feels too strange altogether, you could simply hold your own hand – as if you were supporting a dear friend – becoming aware that you can be both the nurturer and the nurtured. Combine this moment of physical compassion with practicing speaking kindly to yourself – even if that feels very strange at first. Again, Sea Soul Blessings can help – if you’re not used to speaking kindly to yourself, you could try speaking a blessing from the book out loud to yourself every day.
Meditate – you could simply get comfortable and allow yourself a few moments of quiet. If you find silence hard, try listening to a short guided meditation, or focus on repeating a mantra, humming, or delighting in some really big sighs.
Tend to your sea soul:
Head outside – even if you only have time to make it onto your front doorstep to look at the clouds and listen to the birdsong with a cuppa, that counts. If you can head to the sea or another body of water, even better. Being in nature takes us out of ourselves, and reminds us of our place within the beauty and magic of it all.
Bring nature to mind – seek out a favourite photo or film that captures a happy memory of time you’ve spent in nature, (if you don’t have one of those, you could watch a sea film from our instagram collection). Try to imagine yourself there, and tune into all that you are experiencing through every sense – what can you sea, smell, hear, taste, touch?
Have a soak – add some sea salt or natural oils to your bath and delight in a quiet soak – you could even put one of those sea films on in the background so that you can listen to the waves and the seagulls as you feel the water on your skin and really connect to that Blue Mind magic.
Let me know if these help – and if you have some other ideas to add, let me know in the comments below!