Are you feeling at peace or calm right now as we head into the final month of 2020?
It would be nice to say “yes,” right? Chances are, you and many people you know are dealing with some level of stress compounded by the ongoing pandemic. To compound things, now we’re right in the middle of the annual holiday season. That means your friends, family, colleagues and employees are likely to be rushing around even more than usual, working extra hard to fit everything into days that are getting shorter (in terms of daylight hours, anyway).
Good news: all of us can help manage seasonal and pandemic stress and wrap up the year on a positive note for ourselves. How? By learning to focus inward with the practice of mindfulness.
Here at Vivante Health, our GIThrive Care Team’s health coaches work with members regularly to help them get a handle on feelings of stress, anxiety and other less-than-positive feelings. Through live and scheduled chat sessions and phone meetings, GIThrive members get personalized support and guidance to help develop healthy routines that encourage a better sense of well-being.
Mindfulness is just one technique GIThrive recommends to help calm racing thoughts, refocus, stay on-track with tasks, and more. Below, we share a little more info on mindfulness, how it works and some exclusive GIThrive mindful routines shared by our Care Team.
What is Mindfulness?
In short, it’s being in-the-moment, with yourself. When you’re being mindful, you’re aware and focused. Some folks think mindfulness looks like deep meditation, practicing yoga…while those are excellent habits to learn, anyone can learn to be more mindful in myriad ways throughout the day.
According to Mindful.org, mindfulness is defined as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” When we’re wrapped up in being busy and overthinking about everything, it’s easy to lose sight of what we, ourselves, are actually experiencing in any given moment. That’s where learning to be consciously mindful comes in. Sometimes we need to make an effort to say “stop!” to the neverending thought barrage in our own minds: stop, slow down, take stock, and reconnect from a more centered place.
So where can you start? According to our health coaches, a great way to do this is developing mindful routines to both start and end your day.
”Mind” These Morning and Evening Routines
MORNING ROUTINE IDEAS
- Wake up early. Aim for 10 minutes earlier than normal to gradually ease into your day.
- Think positively. Gratitude is a great tool to help unlock positive thoughts. Think about 3 things you’re grateful to start your day with positive thoughts rather than focusing on the challenges you might have to deal with later in the day.
- Scan your body. Focus on each part of your body starting with your head and moving down to your toes. Give your attention to each part and pay close attention to how you feel.
- Pay attention to your breathing. Practice focused breathing for 5 minutes to reduce stress and flood your body with oxygen to start your day.
- Make your bed. This really helps to set the tone for an organized and accomplished day.
- Drink water. A large, cool glass of water can help to rehydrate you and also fire up your metabolism.
- Set a daily intention. Intention implies determination and resolve. When you set an intention you’re resolving to make it happen. It can be a project you want to finish by the end of the day, or a decision to eat a healthy lunch. Whatever is important for that day, set it as an intention.
EVENING ROUTINE IDEAS
- End your work day. Make a clean break by taking 10 minutes to close up your workspace and prepare for tomorrow. This gives you a sense of completion to transition more easily to your after-work routine.
- Be present with your family. Spending 30 minutes to an hour with your family of uninterrupted focus and attention can strengthen the bond of the family unit and also help to decrease your overall stress level from the day.
- Create a dinner ritual. Whether it’s with your family or if you live alone, set aside focused time to pay attention to your meal and reflect on the day. Savor the taste of each bite of food; strengthen family bonds through this time together.
- Plan for tomorrow. Take a couple minutes to plan out a way to streamline any major events or projects for the next day. Jot down a list. The act of writing things down helps get thoughts out of your head.
- Create a bedtime routine. About 30 minutes before bed, create a soothing environment that will induce sleep. Shut down anything with a screen or monitor. Consider aromatherapy or dim lighting.
Practice Makes Peaceful Thoughts
Becoming more mindful is easier said than done. We know it can be a challenge to “tune out thoughts” when you have lots to do! But we encourage you to be patient and kind to yourself.
For more in-depth guidance, be sure to check out GIThrive’s range of healthy member benefits, and encourage employees to take advantage of our personalized Care Team support. Remember: you don’t need to have a digestive disease or condition to find value in GIThrive! We are specialists in digestive health care and support, but also in overall well-being.
To get a closer look into how we can help you and your employees feel better this year, click below.