When was the last time you took time away from technology? No phone, no computer, just sitting with yourself and breathing. I’m willing to bet it’s been a while, maybe even years!
As an accountability coach for fitness and nutrition, my clients hire me to help them build healthy and sustainable eating habits. And for many, this is goes hand in hand with incorporating a mindfulness practice.
Now, if you’re someone who hears words like “meditation” and you quickly think it’s not really your thing, no worries. You don’t have to get that woo-woo to reap the benefits of mindfulness. But being more mindful IS an important part of making better daily health and wellness choices, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Taking time, even a couple minutes, to reset and reboot your brain (away from the bright screens and work thoughts) is crucial for stress management. Let’s look at some of the facts:
Benefits of Mindfulness
In March of 2017, Science magazine published research showing neurons in our brains connect our breath to our state of mind — to anxiety, relaxation, excitement, and attention. What this shows is that focusing on the breath can help us change our mood and affect our stress levels.
It’s also been shown that when left unchecked, stress can in fact cause your brain to shrink – a scary thought! When you are juggling work and life demands, every bit of brain capacity is precious!
Mindful and mental health expert Dr. Ellen Choi says,
“It’s almost impossible to reach your full potential if you cannot manage your self talk to be motivating when you need a push, gentle when you need support, and discerning enough to know which self to listen to.”
So, just by taking deep breaths, you can help your brain trigger you into relaxation and better focus. With my own nutrition and accountability coaching clients, I see benefits of this for work stress AND also in creating a more sound mind when it comes to making decisions that affect your health — like choosing more nutritious foods or stopping by the gym after work.
Let’s talk about how this can work for you.
How to Start Being More Mindful
To reap these benefits, it doesn’t take a lot, and there are simple ways to incorporate more mindfulness into your everyday.
Here are my top tips:
1. Start small.
Start with taking three full, deep breaths while sitting comfortably. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Do this especially when you’re feeling unfocused or anxious.
You can do this anywhere, including:
- As you enjoy your morning coffee or tea
- On your daily commute
- At your desk
- In the shower
- During a walk
- On a lunch break
After you’re used to three deep breaths, see if you can continue those breaths for longer — two minutes, three minutes, five minutes, etc.
2. Stay consistent.
Give this new practice at least a week before trying anything else. Even if it’s just five minutes a day, you’ll begin notice the benefits over time. Send yourself a daily reminder on your calendar or set a daily alarm reminder.
3. Practice a mini transition ritual.
Even though you walk out the door after work, sometimes it’s hard to really “shake off” your work day. But that mindful downtime is so important for your health. Find a way to create a transition ritual that disconnects you from work and puts you into a more calm mindset each evening. Here are some ideas:
- Turn off your phone (or, at least, put it away for a short period of time)
- Listen to calming music on your commute home
- Turn on classical music or a podcast you love while cooking dinner
- Take a bubble bath or give yourself a facial each night
- Read a book you love
- Join a yoga or workout class you enjoy after work
- Watch a TV show or movie that relaxes you
As a busy working professional with a demanding schedule, it can be hard to unplug and not feel like you’re missing something or potentially dropping the ball. But it’s helpful to recognize and remember that the world isn’t going to fall out underneath you for taking some time to disconnect from work, recharge and be more mindful.
In fact, disconnecting and incorporating more mindfulness is a crucial part of caring for your physical AND mental health — so you can stay healthy in a way that affects your whole life.
Want more help and accountability to make this happen? Book a free, no obligation FaceTime or Skype call with me here!
May you be more mindful and may you be well.