Checking in with yourself

By NICOLE NATION

Friday, January 09, 2015

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IF you are constantly bombarded with e-mails, telephone calls and scheduled meetings, you may ask yourself when will it ever end.


But deciding to pause momentarily during your day and choose to be mindful of where you are and how you are feeling can keep you chill, if just for a moment.


Mindfulness is a simple, yet powerful technique that can assist you with managing your stress levels throughout the day. Your mental health is an important aspect of your well-being and should be valued.


Yoga instructor Kimani McDonald said women are often expected to assume a multiplicity of roles that can lead to an almost guaranteed burnout.


"For this reason, meditation becomes especially important for women," she said.


McDonald said meditation allows women to quiet their worrying and ever-planning minds.


Ruth Williams, a practitioner of yoga, swears by the benefits of yoga.


Juggling a hectic schedule, Williams still finds time to roll out her yoga mat and do a few stretches. For her, yoga provides the opportunity to centre herself before the start of each new week.


Mind you, yoga is just one form of mindfulness. So, too, is journaling.


Stacey Miller, 28, noted that for her, journaling is a form of therapy in and of itself.


"I journal daily. I find it's therapeutic in some sense. A lot goes on in my days and journaling is how I'm able to make sense of it all."


Journaling is a form of self-care wherein you chronicle your experiences and emotions. At the end of the day, many of us are too exhausted from the demands that are placed on us. It is then that we need to be most mindful.


In the evenings before you go to bed, that is another excellent opportunity to do another simple and honest check in with yourself, whether it is a quick prayer or an acknowledgement of your many blessings.


Women must make a habit to take time for their personal growth as well as mental health.


McDonald advised women to keep themselves grounded in their beliefs and stay connected at all times to what they hold for themselves to be true. A simple act of pausing for a minute in your day to ask yourself how you're doing and how your day is going can work wonders.


McDonald, a naturopathic medical student at Bastyr University in Washington, DC, advises a five minute a day ritual of meditation as well as deep breathing.


This alone, she promised, can dramatically change a woman's experience of a stressful day. With just a few minutes of mindfulness life becomes a little more bearable and meaningful.


And don't forget to be kind to yourself, she reminds us.


"So often we cater to the needs of others, often neglecting our own. So whether it is a problem that is bothering you or you're feeling a bit burdened by the demands being placed on you, schedule quiet time for yourself to regroup and to refocus. Learn to love yourself more, learn to be gentle with yourself instead of beating yourself up sometimes. You need to touch base with yourself every now and again."



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