As we all know, our last trip around the sun hasn’t exactly been a tranquil walk in the park. I’m not going to explain why because unless you’ve been living under a rock – or literally on another planet in the last twelve months -, you know what I’m talking about, and you’re probably bored of hearing about our current situation.
If anything, this was the year when we all discovered how important mental-health and self-care truly are. The year when we all found our personal way to create a safe space inside our head, to block out our anxiety and focus on the good. For some it might be baking an industrial amount of banana-bread, for others transforming into Marie Kondo for a day, or even creating an insanely long self-care routine. For others, it might be taking a step towards Mindfulness and Meditation.
Sounds too complicated? Then this beginner’s guide is dedicated to you. Here’s at-home mindfulness 101.
Let’s start with the basics: time to deck your self-care hub
Look around you and find a safe space. It can be your bathroom, your bedroom, your at-home desk studio situation (you know, apocalypse), and even a quiet spot on your balcony if your local climate allows. Once you find it, it’s time to unveil its full potential. Cosy-ness factor is the most important one to evaluate. A great way to increase comfort levels is playing with textiles – cushions (many), blankets, throws, fluffy rugs, the lot. Once you’ve created a comfortable seat with some sort of sturdy surface nearby, it’s time to focus on lighting. You’ll need soft, warm toned, dimmed lights. Some would even suggest lighting candles, fairy light or salt lamps. We suggest: do your thing and work with what you’ve already got. And please, don’t cave into the toxic spiral of wishing for something you don’t have – instead, focus on what you can work with, and make the most of it.
By now, you’re pretty much sorted – however if you’ve got some more time and €€€ to spend, I suggest getting a few extras like candles or a room diffuser, inspiring posters and quotes to hang up, house plants and whatever your heart desires.
And now, breathe.
There is always a tendence to overcomplicate things to make them sound even cooler. I promise, I’m not going full Buddha on you. Not yet.
I know Mindfulness and Meditation can be tricky subjects for many, especially at first. The problem with them is that they feel so distant, so complicated, and ultimately so difficult – when actually they’re the simplest activity ever. Basically, Mindfulness is the practice of being in the present moment. It’s the ongoing process of learning to cultivate awareness. It’s all about taking a deep breath and tapping into the role of the observer. No judging, just listening and learning and appreciating. The possibility of mindfulness and meditation is already within us, however it becomes readily available when we practice it on a daily basis.
Sounds amazing? It is. It’s the ideal practice to let go of the disheartening sensation of feeling overwhelmed, powerless, at mercy of times and events (ringing some bells?). It’s learning to let go, to accept the things we can’t change. And learning to embrace the feeling of utter peace and tranquillity that comes from the knowledge that everything is as it should be.
Sounds cool, eh? But I know what some of you, – stubborn, concrete, cerebral, possibly an earth sign? – are thinking right now: but what actually is mindfulness? How does one actually practice it?
Nothing easier. Remember that quiet space we’ve discussed earlier? Find a peaceful time of the day and sit there alone. Take deep breaths and focus on the present moment. Embrace where you are today, and bring awareness to what you’re experiencing. Voilà, you’re being mindful.
And now, watch the magic happen.