A few weeks ago I started to include meditation with my workout routine to help mental health along with physical.
How to get started
Step 1 – find an app or videos
I tried several apps at the same time ( got to check out all the options ) to try to find one that I liked the best. It’s good to have one that has topics that are applicable to you and if they’re guided meditations, with someone who has a voice that you can listen to for a bit. My favourite apps were Simple Habit Meditation – it costs money to subscribe but my friend gave me a free trial – and HeadSpace. HeadSpace is a good starting off point to learn the basics. After using the apps for a bit and once I felt like I knew what I was doing I went to YouTube videos for more options. My favourite has been Boho Beautiful ( it sounds cheesy but she has a very calming voice ), there is a daily meditation playlist which focuses on self-acceptance and love.
Step 2 – fit it into your daily routine
At first, I tried to work meditation in 3 places in my routine, to see if I could do it that often and to find when worked best. First thing in the morning, while stretching post-workout and right before bed. In the morning it’s a good way to start the day being calm and having a clear mind. I find it allows me to stretch better because of being relaxed and focused in the moment. Right before bed is a great way to sleep better and calm yourself down.
Step 3 – be consistent!
Best way to form a habit is to stick with it until it becomes part of your day. This can be hard on days when your mind is racing and it feels difficult to calm it, but that’s when you need it most.
Some benefits I’ve found
My mind feels calmer. The main reason to start meditation. It really helps with anxiety and sleep.
Less negative thoughts, more appreciative, more positive. I’ve been trying to consciously work on this, too, so the meditation didn’t magically solve this, but it has helped. Especially with being present and trying not to worry.
More focus, which also helps during workouts. If you try to incorporate meditation into something you need a lot of focus for or during your workouts it can improve your performance because you’re living in the moment and your mind is either clear on thinking about whatever it is you need focus for.
Feels like you have more control over your mind. If you start thinking negatively you can use meditation as a tool to stop it or at least redirect.
It seems so simple yet it feels like it’s made a substantial difference in how I think and I would highly recommend learning how to meditate. Have you tried meditation?
Hygge has been everywhere lately and I’m all for this trend! Wikipedia defines it as ” the Danish word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. Hygge refers to “a form of everyday togetherness”, “a pleasant and highly valued everyday experience of safety, equality, personal wholeness and a spontaneous social flow”” I think of it as the feeling of walking into your cozy home after being out in the dark and cold winter. Pretty much like a nice warm hug but all the time.
Denmark is often named one of the happiest places on Earth and this definitely helps them get that title. I saw a TED talks ( this one! ) a little while ago about how humans need traditions to feel less alone and just to improve the overall quality of life. Since then I’ve been a little fascinated with the small everyday traditions and how they help make good days. Between hygge emphasizing everyday transitions and the overall beauty and coziness of hygge, it’s an awesome idea to embrace. It creates a more calm and welcoming living space and lifestyle which helps with anxiety and making your home ( or room! ) a calming sanctuary.
Some ways to incorporate hygge into life
Warm drinks. I especially like spiced teas such as chai, apple cinnamon, ginger and liquorice, etc.
Fairy lights and candles! Having a bright home keeps away winter blues. Also, keeping curtains and blinds open to let in the sunshine.
Fire in fireplace or pit outside. Bonus points if you roast marshmallows!
Fluffy socks, cozy blankets, fluffy pillows, rugs to add more warmth.
Soups, stews or any warm comfort food.
Take a little tea or coffee break during the day and really savour it.
Freeze fruit into ice cubes to add flavour to your water.
Iced tea and coffee.
Walks in nature and taking everything in.
Bright and cool living spaces.
Having windows open to get lots of fresh air.
How I’ve been trying to embrace hygge
My favourite part has been adding fairy lights everywhere I can. Luckily, we had a large collection of lights from past Christmases, I would try to get them right after Christmas because that’s when they are cheapest and easiest to find.
Every day around 2:30-3:00pm my family tries to have a cup of tea together. It’s a nice way to have a break and a good time to have cookies!
Playing weekend music differentiates the days. Usually, I play old music or jazz to give a coffee shop feel.
I think being grateful and appreciating the coziness in things is a huge part of hygge and adds to the feeling of comfort. I make lists of all the little things I’m thankful for and try to appreciate things in the moment.
When it’s dull and gloomy out it can be easy to not be in the best mood. On days that start to feel bad I go to my Bad Day List of things to do when it’s been a bad day and try to turn it around.
The happiness board
The first thing I will do is look at my Happiness board on Pinterest. It’s a lot of reading but I pin everything from nice little things in life ( like tiny soft kitty foreheads, the sound of rain, etc. ) to things that make life better. If there are things I want to be reminded of often, I print them out and put it on my wall or somewhere where I can see it often.
The Bad Day List
This is my list of things to do when the day starts to feel bad.
Write down 10 things that you’re happy exist, no matter how small. And 5 things you’re thankful for at this exact moment. Example – I am sitting inside with a fuzzy blanket when it’s cold and rainy out.
Have some food. Most of the times, I’m just hangry ( does this happen to other people?? ) so getting a bit of food makes life a lot better. It also helps since food releases good chemicals when you eat it. A very good choice is a banana or a bit of chocolate.
Listen to music you like and do a “mind dump” in a journal. This helps to get everything out and good music is very healing.
Make a new playlist or make a calming playlist to help.
Distract yourself! I’m very bad at this, but it’s super important so you don’t wallow. Doing anything will help, watch a TV show, your favourite movie, read something, anything will help. I somehow always end up watching Beyonce dance performances.
Help someone or do something nice for someone else. It makes you feel good to make others happy and it’s just overall very fulfilling.
More sleep!! This just helps everything so much. It’s very important.
Make some change, getting out of routine can help by making things more exciting.
Exercise! Dance, find a workout video on YouTube, go for a walk. Just moving.
What are some things you do to turn a bad day around?