Two minutes of self care – by Rasha Barrage

Work deadlines, family and social commitments, the constant influx of emails and social media posts, incessant negative news and, of course, the looming presence of Covid-19 in everything we say and do this year.

Take a deep breathe

Let’s stop. Take a deep breath in . . . 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, slowly exhale out and then try these tips to nourish your mind. You’ll be surprised how effective these quick exercises can be if you allow yourself a couple of minutes to soothe your mind without any distractions.

Write down negative thoughts, then scrunch up the paper

Write down a negative thought that keeps playing on your mind.  Now rip or scrunch the paper up and throw it away. Studies have found that this simple technique helps you to mentally discard the negative thought.

Close your eyes

Close your eyes and think of a happy time in your life for a few seconds. The memory will give your mind a boost and optimise your mental outlook for the day.

Write down positive thoughts and tuck them in your pocket

Write down a positive thought about yourself. It may be a memory, a personality trait you value, a friend you trust, anything really. Just make sure it is something that makes you smile inside and gives you a sense of calm. Now tuck this paper into your pocket. This effectively protects that thought and reinforces it in your mind.

Sit up straight with your shoulders back

Sit or stand up straight with your shoulders back and head facing forward. This should have an immediate positive impact on your self-confidence. The alternative stance of curling towards your stomach is a classic defence posture; you are subconsciously telling your mind that you are in an unsafe environment. This has a knock on effect on your thoughts and feelings. Instead, protect your posture as much as you can and notice any difference it makes to your outlook.

Count branches on a tree

Look out of the window and search for a bird flying in the sky. Notice the beauty, grace and joy with which it flies. Alternatively, look for a tree and start counting its branches. Notice the multiple autumnal tones and intricate details. Thousands of studies have shown nature’s positive impact on our mental health. By doing this exercise you are bringing a level of attention and mindfulness that may have eluded you previously when glancing outside.

Take time to nurture your mind

We are all living through a unique event in the history of the world and the toll it is taking on our mental health is undeniable. The busier and more overwhelmed you feel, the more important it is to look after your mental health and prioritise your wellbeing. Take as much time as you can to nurture your mind, even two minutes a day can make a profound difference.

Follow Rasha on Twitter @rashabarrage

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