Join the conversation as we blend the hues of a vibrant lifestyle. Embrace the art of living well!
It is already February now, and I believe a lot of us have already given up on our New Year’s resolutions. I knew I would, so I decided to pick something that would be easily attainable. I would not really call it a resolution as it resembles more to a healthy choice. My aim was to avoid any form of caffeine intake post 5 PM. Now I drink almost 10 cups of coffee before 5. However, this editorial is not about New Year resolutions. I will discuss mindfulness, fitness and self-care, topics a lot of us include as a fragment of our yearly resolutions, when it should rather be introduced as a routine in our lifestyle.
Oftentimes I make sure that my articles and blogs regarding business, technology, banking and finance are not idiosyncratic, but lifestyle is a topic I cannot stop myself from being personal. It is not because I am an expert preaching through this platform, but because I am learning and exploring, and there is no better way than connecting with like-minded people who are on similar journeys.
I am sure that the topic of mindfulness has popped up on our social media feeds every once in a while the last couple of years. When I was pursuing my undergraduate degree in psychology, I initially perceived mindfulness as an overrated topic. That perception did not last long when I learnt that I had been following some of the mindfulness techniques in my daily life. The American Psychological Association has defined mindfulness as – “awareness of one’s internal states and surroundings. The concept has been applied to various therapeutic interventions—for example, mindfulness-based cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and mindfulness meditation—to help people avoid destructive or automatic habits and responses by learning to observe their thoughts, emotions, and other present-moment experiences without judging or reacting to them.” Furthermore, when I distinguished them from the rest of my habits, I found them to be more pragmatic. So let me share a couple of mindfulness techniques that I reckon will be fruitful to you.
The Raisin Exercise: (Note, it does not have to be a raisin, it can be any kind of food.) In this exercise, you take a raisin and direct your attention to five different questions:
- How does it look?
- How does it feel?
- How does your skin react to it?
- How does it smell?
- How does it taste?
These five simple questions help your mind become free of other thoughts and allow you to be in the present. We are often occupied with thoughts revolving our past and the future, leading us to rumination. This technique saves the time and energy we spend ruminating everyday and directs our thoughts toward our present being. It has also been associated with mindful eating.
Five Senses Exercise: This is another simple technique which is highly practical and not at all time consuming. This exercise exercises all your 5 senses to stop your brain from running wild and brings it to the present. The instructions are a child’s play:
- Note 5 things you can see.
- Note 4 things you can feel.
- Note 3 things you can hear.
- Note 2 things you can smell.
- Note 1 things you can taste
This technique does not require any tools and can be completed within 2 minutes. It is practical in almost any situation and has also been a familiar method to reduce stress and anxiety.
The reason I have emphasized on mindfulness is because it reaps emotional, cognitive, interpersonal and professional benefits. Mindfulness is for everyone, both clinical and non-clinical population. It improves our attention and helps us ignore negative emotional distractions. When applied in a professional setting, mindfulness aids in clear communication and is of convenience while responding to stressful work conditions.
When it comes to fitness, I will openly admit that I am no expert. Despite having a gym membership, I was more of a visitor than a member. But for the last couple of months I have put my health on limelight and I hope you readers also take small steps to achieve the bigger picture that you have painted for your individual growth. Here I have gathered some fitness formats for you all with a bit of research:
- Walking: Walking is hands down the easiest way to stay fit. It can be performed at your own pace and does not require any equipment. When you walk you carry your own weight, which means your body weight is used as a form of resistance. This contributes to overall physical fitness and strength. Walking not only reduces body fat but also helps manage hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. What’s more fun than walking when you have a company you enjoy talking to?
- Cardio: For your cardiovascular health, cardio is a physical activity where your heart rates are elevated which can improve both your health and physical performance. Apart from enhancing your cardiovascular health, cardio aids in burning calories and boosting endurance. Running, swimming and cycling are the most common forms of cardio exercises that can be done outdoors. You may also rely on fitness apps that guide you to do cardio indoors without any equipment.
- Yoga: Yoga integrates the combination of physical pressure, breath control and meditation to enhance one’s flexibility, balance, relaxation and mindfulness. The physical postures are known as asanas and yoga has numerous asanas for beginners to experts. Yoga has also been said to enhance one;s mental health.
Apart from these you can also try pilates, stretching, zumba and other forms of exercises that align with your schedule. Even though I am not an expert, I strongly suggest that we focus on our intake of a balanced diet which complements our body type.
Self-care is a purposeful practice that is performed with the intention of nurturing our physical and mental well-being. It is not easy to treat yourself like royalty when your kingdom is ruled by adulting. Speaking from the corporate side, my form of self-care is staring at the office plant to convince myself that I am on a tropical vacation. Jokes aside, I firmly believe that self-care contributes to our overall health and happiness. Especially if your lifestyle is controlled by work, you need guts to take time for yourself and address your personal needs.
The saying “To each their own” applies very when it comes to self-care. Given the differences in our preferences, responsibilities, and routine, my choice of self-care may do you no good and vice versa. Therefore, it is essential that we listen to our body and mind before opting for random self-care routines we see online. For example, I am lucky enough to have clear skin, so rather than spending 15 minutes of my day on skincare, I’d prefer finishing a chapter of a book I’m reading, or eating a homemade meal which is something I rarely do.
There are 5 different types of self-care. They are:
- Emotional Self-Care (expressive arts, journaling, mindfulness, gratitude practices, etc.)
- Physical Self-Care (hydration, regular exercise, regular health check-ups, massage and bodywork, etc.)
- Mental Self-Care (digital detox, affirmation, time in nature, quality sleep, etc.)
- Social Self-Care (volunteering, engaging in meaningful conversations, social outings or events, setting boundaries, etc.)
- Spiritual Self-Care (silent retreats, acts of kindness, prayer, etc.)
These methods are how we can perform different types of self-care. Like the saying goes “To each their own”, I strongly suggest readers know their needs and present circumstances before choosing their self-care routine. When we prioritize self-care as much as our responsibilities, we are ultimately promoting a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.
Here I will end my editorial that I wrote with the limited knowledge I currently have regarding mindfulness, fitness and self-care. I would be more than grateful to hear about your feedback and experiences to add on to this canvas. With more research and your feedback, we will paint an even more vibrant lifestyle together.
By the time February ends, I hope your memory will be filled with colorful moments and vibrant experiences.