As we ease into the new year, it is an important time to slow down and to check in with ourselves, wherever you are in the world and whatever you are doing. We’ve come up with a few helpful mental health self-care tips for the month ahead.
Let’s Start by Noticing
As we turn our attention inwards and ask, ‘how am I doing?‘ Let’s begin to notice and to become aware of how we have been speaking to ourselves, to acknowledge if there is a bombardment of ‘to do’s’ that, if we aren’t getting them done quickly enough, our critical part is quick to rear its head to berate us, ‘you have failed…you can’t even go to that class, you aren’t progressing, you haven’t done enough…’. Thoughts circle the mind and if we are feeling low in our body and dive into the thoughts and feelings that are surfacing, it can feel overwhelming and all consuming. We become dysregulated. There is a temptation in the new year to do do do, but, if we stop for a moment and check in, maybe what we actually need is, to just, be. To breathe into this moment. To be kind to ourselves.
Supportive Breathing Exercise
To begin this New Year’s wellbeing article, I invite you to put a hand on your heart area and to take 3 deep breaths to the count of 5, in and out, in and out, in and out.
Notice any sensations in the body, any feelings or thoughts. Perhaps you notice a tiredness, a heaviness in your chest, perhaps you want to let out a cry, or maybe you are feeling light and content. Once you have begun to notice, take a final deep breath in and out to the count of 5, but this time, with a slight smile. Do you notice a difference as you turn towards yourself and how you are feeling with a smile, with kindness? Breathe some compassion into the feelings in your body and, when you’re ready, we can meet again on the page…
Once you’re back, I offer the following statement to be read aloud to yourself,
‘I’m here for you. You are wonderful, as you are, right now.’
It can feel even more impactful if said whilst putting a supportive hand to the back of your neck or on your shoulder. The touch sensation of your hand on your body brings your attention to the present moment and a feeling of being held can arise. I wonder what you notice as you read this, have you let out a sigh of relief? Or, are you feeling emotional/over-whelmed? If the latter, I would always advise to reach out to a friend or a professional for help, as the feeling of connection and support from another might be what you need right now. I think it is important to recognise that you are not alone in how you are feeling.
If you have greeted the new year with energy and have made lots of healthy changes for yourself then that is wonderful. If, however, your body is acknowledging this colder and darker time of year and the want to stay warm and practise self-care, to go more slowly, then take some more time to ease yourself into each day, to each moment. See yourself through a new lens, one that is kind and supportive.
Setting an Intention
I’d like to end this article by offering the following exercise – to begin the new day by focusing on your breathing for a few minutes and setting an intention, for example, ‘today I will practise being kinder to myself.’ This being kind could be in a small gesture like making yourself a cup of tea and having a break for a quiet moment during the day, or maybe it is by taking yourself on a walk in the park, or even a phone call to a best friend for a catch up. Wherever you are and however you are doing, take care and be well.
You are loved.
Team Nonchalant x
Last Updated on 1st February 2023 by Nonchalant Magazine