When my balance rehabilitation consultant said to me in 2013 that I had to do mindfulness, I thought to myself what a load of baloney! She said it would help me, help my anxiety, help with my balance issues etc! Being someone who tries to help myself I thought I would give it a go, she advised that I go on mindfulness training to learn the art, but soon discovered that my local ones were rather expensive!
So I decided to do my own research and go on the internet and get mindfulness books, buy some essential oils and candles and sit in a cross legged position with my fingers in a pinched position – zing! I thought it would magically work, but nothing happened! Where was the magic mindfulness feeling? All I could think of is how much washing I had to do at home and what food I needed to put on my online Tesco delivery. So needless to say I soon gave up that type of mindfulness as I simply just did not know how to do it!
I started with my CBT (Cognitive Behavoural Therapist) in 2014 for my GAD (General Anxiety Disorder), one of the main things that came out of it was mindfulness and that I really needed to get into it, properly this time! So once again I did some research but came up with numerous sites and offerings, I was so confused as to which one to go for! Then a friend of mine recommended a APP on your phone called Headspace. Again, like always, I was a bit dubious about this APP, how can an APP on my phone help me!!? Surely I need a proper training course or book or something!
I signed up and did the first few sessions and it was amazing from the word go. It helped instantly to clear my mind down, which I find incredibly hard to do, as I have a very busy life. Andy who is the guy who started the APP, is amazing, his voice is calming, he explains things in simple language and the animations they use to described things are genius.
I have used it ever since (although stupidly had a break from it for a few months as I felt ok!) Even if you feel ok in yourself, I have now learnt you should still practice mindful weekly, I do Headspace about 3 times a week if I possibly can, it only takes 10 minutes! I would highly recommend it to anyone who suffers from any form of mental illness, such as anxiety, stress, depression etc or even great if you are not suffering from these things, just to get some time to yourself is great!
I have used other mindfulness activities that have helped me through my vestibular migraine disorder. One main one is my work, (shameless plug coming up!) I run a baby gift business called Corporate Baby We create beautiful unique baby gifts for corporate companies and the public. During my dark days of depression and anxiety, the only thing that would really get my mind off things was my work. If I felt incredibly dizzy one day, instead of lying in bed and wallowing in my own self pity I would create a baby bouquet or ladies sock bouquet. It was my mindfulness, my own creative therapy. It was my saviour.
If it had not been for Corporate Baby I would not have got through my hard times. It has been my third child, my baby, my escape. I love my job so much, I could do it every hour of the day (I almost do!) but there is family time to be had and I am very lucky that I can work around things eg school pick ups, clubs etc When the children are with me its mummy time not work time, I sacrifice my evenings for work instead of spending it on my laptop after they come back from school. I think that is what they call a work life balance.
The other thing that has helped is bath time, no not my children’s bath time! MY bath time, the time when the children have gone to bed and I have an hour to chill out with my AC Scent candle, essential oils and hot stone therapy. I massage lavender, peppermint or frankincense oil (100% pure organic) into my temples, helps with my migraines too! My other mindfulness activity are mindful Pilates, which I do every night without fail. I think I have only missed 5 sessions since 10th October. I speak more about my addiction to Pilates here https://mummyseeingdouble.com/pilates/ I also follow Danette Mays Meditations sometimes when I am feeling extra anxious!
Being an artist by trade I also found art therapy to be very effective for mindfulness. When I was in therapy for year we used art therapy every week in my sessions to assess how I was feeling from week to week. The very first week I joined her my drawing was very dark and dingy there was no colour at all apart from a tiny speck of yellowy orange right in the centre of what looks like a tornado. When it came to my very last session with her I did my final drawing and it was of a rainbow full of colour there was hardly any darkness to it at all. The improvement throughout the year was so amazing. I continue to draw with pencil now and again when I get some time. Art therapy is very powerful but if you’re a poet or a writer or whatever floats your boat, you can use certain activities to help you.
There are lots you can do to help settle your mind and practice mindfulness in your weekly routine. Set aside some time for YOU, its so important, I have got into a routine now so easier then it was before. Force yourself to do it and you will reap the benefits.
If you have any tips about other activities that have helped you practice mindfulness or meditation I would love to hear from you, please leave some comments below. I would love to hear how mindfulness has helped you.