We would be lying if we said 2020 hasn’t been a challenging year. Between the ongoing global pandemic, the vital and necessary work of the Black Lives Matter movement in the fight against systemic racism, and the highly tense atmosphere of the current political climate – 2020 has brought with it a general sense of unrest. It becomes easier and easier to succumb to the negative energies that surround us, after all, there’s genuine reasoning behind these feelings of unease.
While we know that we are all susceptible to the effect of our environmental stressors, we also know just how important self-care has become in combatting these stressful reactions. Stress has been proven to wear down the body over time, resulting in headaches, insomnia, inflammation, high blood pressure – just to name a few. Prioritizing your own mental well-being during this time is important and valuable work that will allow you to show up more presently and positively for the situations that need you in your life.
We’ve broken down a few of our top tips and tricks for pursuing mindfulness and self-care amidst a state of unrest. So sit back and relax – we hope you find some methods that work for you –
Meditation – It seems like the oldest trick in the book, but meditation has proven benefits. Studies at Harvard University have shown that meditative practice can sharpen focus and concentration, improve self-esteem, reduce stress, and it has even been shown to reduce pain in the body due to the relaxation of the muscles. The ability to calm your mind when the world is constantly sweeping you up into its chaos is a powerful skill. With current technology, making meditation a priority in your daily life has never been more accessible; apps like Headspace, Calm, and Aura are great places to start a meditation practice from a beginner’s level.
Move your body – and do it for you. Find an activity that you love to do, whether it be walking, riding a bike, swimming, or playing a sport – seek out a way to move your body that feels like a break rather than a chore. Studies have shown that just thirty minutes of physical activity per day can decrease anxiety. Try whenever possible to be in nature, the correlations between sunlight’s vitamin D and an increase in both energy and happiness are well researched in the medical community. Enlist the help of a friend that shares the same interests as you to hold you accountable – it can be helpful to have a support system to mutually benefit each others goals!
Digital detox – give yourself permission to take a break from the news; unplug for a few hours or a few days whenever possible. We’ve all become accustomed to the constant influx of information which flies at us consistently and rapidly, all day, everyday. However, the reality is that living our lives in the digital world can take a toll on our well-being – studies have shown that there is a distinct correlation between levels of stress and screen time, as well as the well-known issue of blue light affecting sleep cycles. Take a break to read a book, cook a new recipe, or spend some time in nature – your body and mind will both thank you for it.
Journal – putting our thoughts into words is a great way to unpack the built up emotional baggage we all carry with us. Journaling gives us the opportunity to unload stress, as well as forces us to actively recall the events of the day in a factual way that allows us to see things for how they actually are, rather than simply how we feel about them. This doesn’t have to be a hard practice to pick up – even typing your thoughts into the notes app on your phone is a great start. If you’re more of a visual person, consider drawing or painting a piece that represents your day.
Slow down – make a commitment to slow the rush of your everyday life. The aforementioned reality of living in a digital age means that we’ve become accustomed to instantaneous gratification; we’ve become increasingly impatient with our time. Rather than rushing through your morning routine, take a few minutes to appreciate the warmth of the shower, the simple pleasure of making a cup of coffee, or to appreciate your breakfast without anxiously scrolling through your phone. Mindfulness is about organizing your time every day in a way that prioritizes that needs of your physical and mental well-being – follow through on these commitments.
Maintaining a healthy state of mind is more important than ever as we face the challenges of this year, and it’s okay if you’re struggling to find your footing in the uncertainty of it all. Hold the same compassion for yourself that you do for those around you – we’re all experiencing a range of stressors that can have a variety of emotional effects.
Head over to our Instagram @kclifestyling for wellness templates to help keep you accountable – tag us to share your self care journey! Take care of yourself.