Taking time for yourself is highly recommended to integrate into your daily routine. These moments help us process our thoughts, emotions and surroundings, allowing our brain to take on the needed break from stress. Whether you spend one hour or 15 minutes, this time will help you recharge, reflect and prevent future burnout.
A misconception is that this is a “waste of time” and that there are many other “more important” tasks you could accomplish instead. However, there is always going to be a lot going on in your life such as academics, work, chores or keeping up with friends. You are allowed to show yourself love, as it is the first step in taking care of your mental health.
A step forward in taking care of yourself is practicing the act of mindfulness. According to an article from Mindful, “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
Studies have shown that mindfulness practices can help relieve stress and reduce anxiety. People who practice mindfulness tend to have an increased ability to relax, a greater enthusiasm for life and more self-esteem.
The real question is how do you actually perform the act of mindfulness?
A basic technique for centering yourself if you are in a hurry is just to take three to four deep breaths. If you have extra time, you can practice mindful yoga. The purpose of yoga is to unite our bodies and mind. When we coordinate movement with our breaths, we can experience the present moment. This is the “mindfulness” part of yoga. When our mind wanders, we must use deep breaths as a way to bring ourselves back.
Over the past three years, we have seen an increase in online yoga classes as the pandemic caused us to turn to working out at home. We can continue to use these YouTube videos as a daily reminder to take time for ourselves.
Lastly, the use of saying the word “om” is one of the most recognizable parts of yoga. Traditionally this is said as you let your breath out as a way to hear only your thoughts instead of the outside world. I encourage you to use these practices as a way to relieve stress.