Learning to be more mindful has become an important part of managing my IBS – a way of grounding myself and stopping those pointless negative thoughts from racing off. After all, where do they get you? Anxiety, stress and all that horrible stuff only worsens IBS symptoms and doesn’t do anyone any good.
You really can be mindful anywhere you please and at any time of day. No fancy equipment required. Just yourself.
Here’s five ways you can be mindful as part of your morning routine before even stepping foot outside your front door!
1. When you first wake up
There’s nothing worse than rushing out of bed in a panic in the morning – doesn’t half set you up badly for the day ahead! Sure, we’ve all been there when our alarm clock either doesn’t go off, or we sleep right through accidentally (in which case a rush is likely) – however, the time when we first wake up is the ideal opportunity to take a couple of minutes to breath deeply, have a stretch (yoga child pose is a favourite of mine) and wake the mind and body up in a gentle way. Okay, let’s go!
2. In the shower
Taking a shower is the ideal time for a mindful moment: feeling the water trickle over you and taking in the lovely smells of shampoo / shower gel. Better to enjoy the moment rather than thinking ‘uh oh, I’ve got a list as long as my arm to get through today’ – which I have to consciously stop myself doing! But the good thing is, once you’re aware of this thinking pattern, you can take steps to alter it 🙂 Enjoy that lovely shower instead.
3. Brushing your teeth
Brushing our teeth is one of those tasks which we’ve been programmed to do, twice a day, without fail! But how often is this done in a mindful way, taking notice of what we’re actually doing?! Noticing yourself put the toothpaste on the toothbrush, feeling the bristles on your teeth and the directions you move the brush around your mouth – taking those two minutes to keep your mind focused on the task in hand. Something so simple, yet so easy for the mind to wander off to other thoughts…
4. Applying face cream / make-up / other face care
I love the feeling on my face when I rub in moisturiser – I’m pretty sure I can actually hear my face saying ‘thank you!’ It’s the perfect opportunity to be mindful and enjoy the feeling, as opposed to frantically rubbing it in without even noticing! The same goes with applying make-up (or any face care routine, for that matter) – actually feeling the applicator / brush on your face – not allowing other thoughts to take over.
5. Having a drink / during breakfast
For me, it’s a mug of warm lemon water to start the day. It’s become part of my routine (breakfast comes a little later) and taking sips of that really sets my body up nicely for the day. It might sound strange but I find it a great way to be mindful – taking a sip, enjoying the flavour, taking a breath and hey, I feel better already. The same goes with breakfast – eating mindfully, enjoying it – instead of eating purely to function.
By being more mindful in these tasks, it undoubtedly keeps me calmer, more in control of my thoughts (NOT the other way round) – ready for the day ahead.
How often are you aware of yourself going about your morning routing? Ever find yourself in automatic pilot, thinking about other things, and end up doing something silly like putting face cream on your toothbrush?! (*me*)