As the weeks of lockdown have gone on, we’ve heard from many people that are struggling to feel positive or engaged with daily work and activities. Staying focused during times of facing the unknown is challenging, which is why learning to practice mindfulness is such a beneficial technique for training your mind to focus on the present and being able to let go of things that you cannot control.
Here are some simple, everyday activities that you can incorporate into home life to relieve feelings of anxiety and bring calm.
There are plenty of benefits to be found from gardening, with studies showing that people feel the same levels of happiness when gardening as they would dining out. Furthermore, if you’re fortunate to have outdoor space at home, it’s a great way of getting outside and boosting your Vitamin D levels when the weather is warm. And if you don’t have any outdoor space, you can still take on small gardening projects indoors, growing herbs, chillies and tomatoes.
Being such a hands-on activity, gardening can help you focus on what you’re doing, with the constant stream of news and mobile notifications safely out of the picture. If you’ve got family at home, it can also make a fun project for a group.
Crafting and skill building
As with gardening, taking the time to enjoy an existing hobby, or discovering something new, is a great way of focusing your mind on the activity and not all of the other distractions around you. We’ve heard from members and colleagues who are finding more time in the day to enjoy activities such as cooking or baking, challenging themselves with jigsaw puzzles or rediscovering the joys of needlework, painting or drawing.
Looking for some recipe inspiration? Have a look at this list inspired by London chefs.
Writing and journaling
If you’re struggling with feelings of stress, unable to focus or perhaps feeling unable to really unpick your thoughts, keeping a journal has been shown to help clear your mind, make sense of your emotions and reduce the physical impact that stress can have on your body.
It can seem like a daunting thing to begin for some, but you can use a journal in any way you choose to express yourself, whether that’s in writing an account of your day, doodling and sketching, jotting down notes or creating lists. If you struggle for inspiration, try a quick online search for journal prompts to get you started.
Fitness and meditation
Even whilst at home, it can still be easy to forget to dedicate time to yourself. According to MentalHealth.org.uk, even a 10-minute brisk walk can help us feel more alert, energised and happier. Try to allow yourself at least this break if you haven’t already and see if you notice the difference in your outlook and productivity afterwards.
Yoga, stretching and meditative sessions are beneficial for learning how to be more aware of your body, breathing and posture. Sometimes we might not realise that a certain way of sitting or breathing is creating tension or increasing feels of anxiety if we are breathing shallowly. By taking 15 minutes in the day to refocus and move more mindfully, you’ll learn simple breathing techniques or stretches that you can incorporate into any part of your day. Try this 15-minute video designed to fit into your working day.