DIY: Self care can start on the inside

Self care is not only what we are doing for ourselves on the outside, but also on the inside. Mindfulness is a simple, effective practice to decrease stress and improve emotional and mental well-being by creating awareness of what’s happening in and around you: purposeful, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. Creating a daily mindfulness practice is simple. Start with something manageable like 5 minutes. Choose a calm, quiet space. Get a singing bowl, or download a mindfulness bell app.

A mindful body: become still, quiet, gentle. Let your back be straight and rest your hands calmly. Close your eyes and seize all movement.

Mindful listening: Listen from to the singing bowl from beginning to end. Then listen to the sounds around you. Are you quiet enough to hear sounds from inside your body?

Mindful breathing: Notice the sensations as you breathe in and out. Follow your breath traveling through your body. If your mind wanders, return your attention to the next breath.

Practice heartfulness: Heartfulness is anything that develops empathy, kindness and caring though cultivating kind thoughts, generosity and gratitude. Having intentional positive thoughts and state of mind can help overcome an undercurrent of negative thinking that influences how we feel and act in our day. Imagine yourself happy, peaceful and calm. Silently repeat three or four simple thoughts to yourself such as: May I be safe. May I be happy. May I be peaceful. Direct kind thoughts to others. This exercise simply affirms kindness and love you feel for yourself and others.

What does it feel like? “You close your eyes and you use your ears and nose and your other senses to really notice what is going on around you, but you have no thoughts in your head…it calms you down when you’ve had a tough day. It is almost like starting your day fresh.”

Let your self care start on the inside.