Menopause and Mindfulness - How to tune in to you and tune out life!
Becks Armstrong, founder of 'Clarity', the only mindfulness and relaxation app designed just for women.
Somehow it seems that life may be a little harder and faster these days. There’s just always so much to do, it can be hard to just focus on the task at hand without your thoughts racing off to what else needs to be done. Or worrying about something we forgot to do.
Add to that symptoms of menopause like feeling overwhelmed, brain fog, anxiety or fatigue and it just seems that trying to get things done is a hard task. Let alone finding time for yourself…
When things do go wrong most people sort of know what to do to retrieve the situation, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could get on the front foot more often?
In the way that we all know prevention is better than cure, we try to eat healthily, and make sure we are exercising to help our bodies.
But how often do you think about - let alone act positively - for your mental health?
We’ve all heard of ‘me time’, but often it feels like a luxury that you have to be selfish or rich to enjoy. And what does ‘me time’ or even ‘self-care’ actually mean anyway?
Self-care can come in many forms - and it can be simple and part of your day. Could you find time to put down your phone and take a couple of deep breaths? Or 10 minutes for some mindfulness meditation? What about a bath, a massage or even just a few minutes of writing down what you’re grateful for?
So, don’t we all breathe already?
There is a big difference between the breathing that we do during our day, and mindfully taking a nice slow deep breath in, and a longer and relaxing slow breath out. It’s similar to what you do in a deep sleep.
Sadly, most of us don’t breath in this deeper way because of the onslaught of day to day living.
Mindfulness is taking some time for a lovely slow breath and becoming really aware of where you are right now without judging it. Consider it more like brain training. With a little patience and persistence, you’ll be able to become mindful throughout your day in no time.
The scientific research on the benefits of mindfulness and taking some time out to slow your breathing is really compelling - it helps with focus, improving anxiety, helping us sleep. It can even increase satisfaction with your body, and who wouldn’t want that?
A little exercise for you.
Lie on your back, on a bed or the floor, and put your hands on your belly. Breathe in and out of your nose try and get your belly to rise slowly on the inhale and fall on the exhale. Try and get your in breath to be shorter than your out breath. Keep going until you get the rhythm. It takes a couple of goes to get it working right, doesn’t it?
By getting your belly to rise slowly on the inhale and fall on the exhale you are doing some amazing things for your heart, your body and your mind. Slowing down and deep breathing slows down your heart rate - every time you do this you lower your chances of heart attack or stroke, well done!
By breathing in and out of your nose you also reduce the cortisol (or stress hormone) in your body, which will help with fatigue, lower anxiety and help you think a bit clearer, even if only for a short time.
When you actually have to concentrate on getting your belly to move at the right time in the right direction even or a moment, you’ll have stopped thinking about the future or worrying about the past, as you’ve got to be aware of what’s going on - that’s mindfulness!
How do you tune out of life and tune in to you?
The longer you manage to be mindful in one sitting or getting short bursts of a couple of minutes at a time throughout your day, the better you will begin to feel. The hardest thing is actually developing it into a daily habit.
The best way is to commit to doing that little breathing exercise for around 2 minutes every day, for a week. Set an alarm if you need to but just find a time - when you wake up, when you have a couple of minutes during the day or when you get in bed at night - everyone can find 2 minutes if they want to!
From there, you can learn more about mindfulness and build your practice using apps, books or even by finding videos on YouTube. Once you get into the habit and start to become more mindful, you’ll very quickly start enjoying the benefits it can bring.
Becks Armstrong, 10.8.18
Download 'Clarity' from the App store for a FREE 7 day trial. To get full access to a range of calming exercises to suit a variety of needs. Get permanent access to 'Instacool', a great calming and cooling exercise. (Subscribe for £6.99 per month).