Monday 15 February 2016

Being Mindful on a Monday

I'm writing this the day after Valentine's Day, a day of love and, meaningless commercial gains aside, a day to celebrate your love for someone else - but why can't it be about you?! We're too hard on ourselves too often and we don't give ourselves enough credit.

Which is what this post is all about. Being mindful of you, and taking care of you.

I'm writing this and it also happens to be Monday, the start of the week. Full of new hopes, highs, goals and aspirations but also a day where typically stress levels begin their tremors and rise as we juggle work demands with social callings and potentially, a training schedule; relentless notifications from your phone, never ending to-do lists, flagged emails in your inbox fighting for attention, life admin tasks creeping their way into your mind, keeping momentum to get to the gym after work...

Brain overload? Oh yes.

Usually on a Monday I head straight to the gym after work but last week I did something different. 'Yoga at Dusk' - an event at Harvey Nichols in collaboration with The Well Connected Company. I always love going to events at Harvey Nics, they make you feel so welcomed (you can read about other events like Madeleine Shaw's supper club here, and the time I was invited to a Grey Goose martini making event here).

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Yoga at Dusk was the perfect opportunity to unwind and chill out after a long, cold Monday.

Run by The Well Connected, who specialise in luxury (I mean amazingly luxury) wellbeing and yoga retreats in the UK (the pictures on their website + instagram will give a pretty awe-inspiring idea), we began with a chat from Nici Hewitson, from the company, about what she wanted to achieve setting up the business, and told us more about what you can expect on one of their wellbeing escapes.

In her words; "We make investing in yourself and your wellbeing, a luxury experience." 

I like the importance they place on investing time for yourself, and everything Nici was saying struck a chord with me.

Before our vinyasa yoga class, we had another talk from Sinead Duffy from Yogandha - a small, independent company specialising in oils to enhance, revive and invigorate the body. Sinead's keen to spread the message that fragrances can be used to enhance your state of mind. We sampled a range of oils - I went for 'Detox' (lemongrass + juniper), to awaken the sense of feelgood, and 'Relax' (lavender + vetiver), to induce a state of sublime calm. I've been rubbing the 'relax' oil on my wrists each night before bed to try and help me sleep better.

Then, it was time to get on the mat. Our class was taught by the incredible Charlie Morgan. I follow Charlie on Instagram and was excited to meet her in the flesh! The class was amazing - it was a really energetic, reviving practise, lots of laughter and left me feeling really relaxed. Sinead rubbed oils on our temples during the savasana and ohmygod it was great.

Also, how nice are Charlie's leggings?

We also got the chance to have a cheeky peak at the activewear range coming in to Harvey Nics this season, whilst drinking green juice. Obvs.

Anyway, it got me thinking that we definitely need to dedicate more time for 'me mindfulness' - but it's so hard to do that when we live such busy lives.

So, when you're not at yoga, or you can't feasibly run a bath and light some candles or even just take five minutes out to chill, how can you be mindful?!

My Mindfulness Inducing Statements

I think the following statements could help you get to a more mindful place, especially if you're having a bit of a down day and nothing seems to be going right...

1) What would you say to your six year old self? I'm  pretty sure you wouldn't tell her / him they're useless / not good enough, or indeed be discouraging - you'd be encouraging and forgiving, so be the same to present you.

2) You're doing ok. Really, you are. There is so much bullshit in the world and so many people get by just on this. So don't stress. Breathe.

3) You are loved. Be it by your boyfriend, mum, dad, sister, brother, best friends; you are loved, and you are special, so don't forget that.

4) What can you learn from this situation? Perhaps you've had a particularly hard day at work, an argument with someone or maybe things just don't seem to be going your way. What can you take as a learning from the situation you're in? I've been doing this lots at work recently, asking myself at the end of each week what I've learnt and how I'm going to put it into practise the following week - it's really cathartic and I've found it very productive.

Do you have any mindfulness quotes you swear by?!


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