• Amanda Tooms

Add “You” to the List!

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

Well, here we are in the last week of January, it seems as though our entry into the new year has passed us by way too fast! The 5th of January was a day of disappointment when we went back into lockdown (3) and had to readjust to solitary living again. Without listing the many difficulties that the pandemic has presented to us, it goes without saying that in all its various forms, it has been challenging. I have heard from many people who have found it difficult and identified within themselves, and in their day-to-day living, a change in their attitudes and behaviours that jar with their ideal sense of being. Changes within ourselves and our environment can impact on our wellbeing and deny us a sense of calm and grounding that we deserve. When our wellbeing is affected, it causes an imbalance, and we find it more difficult to maintain an even sense of calm. Each of our needs and challenges is different and so is our own individual sense of calm and wellbeing. One thing that we can unite in doing the same, is to ensure that we add ourselves to the all-important ‘must do/to do list’ and consider what we need, or at least work towards, achieving optimum balance.

I love a list, especially when it involves writing in a nice, often new, notebook. I have a ‘to do list’ for work, at home, mostly what needs doing in the house, shopping lists, birthday lists, wish lists, when we can travel again for holiday, I will have a packing list, I seem to have a list for most things and yet, I haven’t in the past, (until today), had a list that addresses ‘me’

and my wellbeing. My (new) ‘me’ list is a selection of words that I can do in any given day that will help me to feel more grounded and essentially allow me to ‘take 5’, be present, reboot and maintain balance and calm. Top of my list is “breathe”! Interestingly, I was speaking to someone recently and they said that they forget to breathe and yet they know how good this is for them. Obviously, we breathe automatically and mostly without thought, it is a function that our body does for us. But when we focus and mindfully breathe with a rhythm and time, such as mentally counting as we breathe in and out, it instantly provides benefits; mindful breathing reduces stress and anxiety, can relief pain and can reduce negative thinking.

Adding “breathe” to my to do list, reminds me to do just that, but mindfully, with purpose.

Adding the word ‘breathe’ to your list, is a great way to start focusing on “you” if you haven’t already done so; it costs nothing, takes little time out of your day and it is good for you! In just 5 minutes of mindful breathing, you can reboot your mind and body into a calmer state. Breathing in this way is nothing new and there is a great deal of research that supports the benefits of breathing, but the question is, how many of us remember to do it as part of our business/everyday lives? So, the change here, is to make time for it each day; consciously breathe in for 6 counts, deep into your lungs and breathe out for 8 counts, emptying your lungs. If these counts are too much, just reduce the counting to suit you but try to make the out breath 2 counts longer than the in. The best way to experience the full value of breathing in this way is to make sure that you are sitting or lying somewhere comfortable and where you won’t be disturbed for at least 5 minutes. Even if your day is so busy and you feel overwhelmed by deadlines and tasks that might be looming over you, use the time that it takes to boil the kettle for your next coffee or tea and breathe, it really is that simple and that accessible. As you breathe in and out, notice what is happening in your body, focus on the different parts of your body, your lungs, your limbs and allow this deep feeling of breath to soothe and dissolve any stress. Breathe calmness in and breathe stress out. You can do this exercise anywhere and at any time that suits you, it is also great to do outdoors, because your senses are heightened as you focus on breathing and the landscape around you becomes a collection of natural sounds. You might even mindfully notice the sound and rhythm of the kettle for the first time ever!

If you’ve found this blog helpful, I welcome your comments. It would be great to hear about the things that are on your “you” list and if you started with “breathe”.

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