7 Mindful Tips That Helped Heal Me

7 mindful tips to help you heal

Screw you lockdown…..I need to heal and calm my anxiety!

I’d been struggling with anxiety as it is. My youngest had his first year of school in 2020 and as with all other preppies (and everyone else for the matter) it wasn’t an amazing first year of school. So, heading into grade 1 and with “unprecedented” times” [gosh if I hear that saying one more time I’ll scream] I had anxiety about settling him into his new class with a new teacher who knew nothing about him (unlike existing teachers at the school) and I wasn’t even allowed to be onsite in the class room. Having a special needs child is emotionally exhausting because we live our lives planning ahead, commentating life, and anticipating meltdowns day in and day out. So not being able to have a plan for him in his first week back was hard.

7 mindful tips to help you heal

I woke at 230am the night before school started. Wide awake, feeling anxious about the week ahead. There’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach, your heart is beating and you’re pacing around the house trying to remember why you walked into the bedroom or laundry. You’re exhausted and overtired yet you can’t sleep and are wide awake all hours of the morning overthinking everything and stressing about the fact you can’t get to sleep.

You finally get to sleep and then wake only a few hours later to go through the same cycle. Becoming more and more exhausted and sleep deprived but so over tired that you can’t get back to sleep night after night. It goes on for days and days, sometimes week whilst you’re racking your brain as to why. Why the F*** can’t I sleep, why am I exhausted and why am I feeling so anxious??

But this time I knew why I was anxious. It was a new school year, new teacher, no plan…..and then add to that a trial at athletics where again I was anticipating a meltdown if he didn’t win. The excitement of school was real. He loves going to school to see his friends and teachers but each evening was a battle. I get it, all young children are tired readjusting to full school days again but the meltdowns and fierce anger started. So it was an afternoon bath to relax him…..I should have been in a bath doused in lavender oil myself lol.  The nights for me in the first week were extreme. Managing meltdowns as well as my own anxiety and exhausted-ness (is that even a word).

As things started to ease towards the end of week two…..BAM the announcement we all dreaded. “Circuit Breaker 5 Day Lockdown” hits. And like every Melbournian came the words “Oh for FUCKSAKE, not again”

There was something different about this lockdown announcement for me. I wasn’t going to let it define me or consume my way of thinking this time. Last time I emotionally ate, cakes, chocolate, plenty of coffee and any carbs that would come my way. I decided I was going to take care of me and choose to see it as a 5 day long weekend and maintain some self care and wellbeing for my own mental health.

I’d joined the gym and started enjoying Aqua HIIT, was walking every day for a minimum of 30 minutes, was creating more, studying online, doing visual meditations and felt more calm overall. I get it, not everyone is there yet or has the time for all of that but what I found was things I genuinely enjoyed doing that gave me clarity and filled my cup.

December 2020 I also started seeing an acupuncturist and my goodness I couldn’t recommend acupuncture enough. My first session I walked in a blubbering mess, offloading and verbal vomiting all that had been going on. My body was in shut down and with stored trauma for a number of reasons but with a number of sessions I was starting to heal.

I finally started to feel me again, with clarity, healing from the trauma of 2020 and finding myself. I was honouring my feelings and stepping into them. I’ve become the crier. I’ve never been a crier. I was one of those people that really only cries at a funeral or in an extreme situation but I’ve fast found myself crying at all the TV shows, my kids growth and achievements and more. It’s like a build up of tears just come out now for the smallest reason.

Why am I sharing all of this you’re probably asking? Because I get it, I get anxiety and stress too. Life isn’t all roses and as we all know social media plays a big role in mental health and how we perceive things. I try to share real and raw things with you all, hence why I’m writing this blog.

So I wanted to share 7 things that have really helped me over the last 6 months:

  • Cry, let it all out because holding on to it causes body trauma. And with body trauma comes symptomatic pain which gets worse and worse
  • Try different treatments, whether it’s acupuncture, chiropractor, massage, psychology, traditional medicine, Chinese medicine. Keep trying different treatments until you find something that you like, and find helps you
  • Meditation, has really helped me. I’ve spoken in the past about not meditating every day but over the last few months I’ve worked hard to meditate every day. Whether it’s a 10 minute or 30 minute meditation, do what works. I started with short 5 minute ones and as I relaxed more, I expanded them in length. You can check out some basic meditations on our YouTube channel that I’ve created CLICK HERE
  • Read, Draw, Be Creative, I spent four (4) months studying so a lot of quiet time, reading, watching videos and learning about something that fills my cup and that has helped me. So do something for you, slow down and read, learn something new, draw. Whatever it is, it slows your mind yet keeps you occupied in the present moment
  • Affirmations & Intentions, at the end of each meditation I will say 5-10 affirmations and then set an intention with my crystals before putting them down my bra. I really just sit in a quiet place in the house and say them out loud (not screaming lol) but loud enough for my brain to process them. Intentions for the day….not long term intention. Really just small daily intentions to get through day by day.
  • Walking, I walk just about every day. Even if it’s only 30 minutes. Not to loose weight but more for mental clarity cos I also put a playlist on of fast paced, positive music that lifts my vibe. I’m a music lover. There’s something about a song that I really connect to. It impacts me alot. Whether it’s uplifting, heartbreaking, meditation, accoustic. You name it I connect with it so music and walking is something that’s worked for me. Don’t worry there has been times that I just haven’t wanted to, couldn’t be bothered but I just made a snap decision to do cos I knew I’d feel better for it afterwards.
  • Writing, whether you call it journalling, blogging, writing I’ve found it therapeutic to journal and blog. Getting it out of my head and onto paper has really helped. It’s often spoken that journalling helps yet if you are like me can sometimes get stuck with what to write. But the more I did it the more words just rolled off my pencil, Even now when I get caught overthinking things I’ll journal it out and then I find I don’t overthink or worry about that issue for the rest of the day.

I know some of these things are probably repetitive for you and some of you may be thinking “how am I going to do all of that” or “i don’t have time to do all of that”. I totally get you. I’ve been working on implementing mindfulness into my life for the last 6 years and it’s something I work on every day. I’m all about taking small steps for change as you know because I’m always banging on about small steps on social media hehe. I’ve taken small steps over the years which has helped get me to where I am now. Yes I still suffer anxiety and stress but I’m very self aware and know when and what I need to do to help myself.

So if you’re not quite there yet. Not ready to do all of the things, try picking 1 or 2 small things that you can do for 3 weeks every day which can help create a habit. Then as you get more confident at one of the strategies or tips you are using then expand to try something else. The more we try, the more we learn, the more we improve.

I hope in some way this has helped some of you, inspired you to take that first step or even just see that you aren’t alone.

Much luv and light, Kara

5 Top Tips for Mindfulness

top tips for mindfulness blog

Mindfulness….the technique and word that has become “on trend” and for many people starting their mindful journey can be so overwhelming right? They tell you to eat right, exercise, journal, stay positive, meditate, do yoga and a whole lot more. And if you’re anything like me when I started, you really don’t know where to start.

 

It can be overwhelming and when you’re not in the right headspace who even knows where to start. That was me. Six years ago when I had my break down and my psychologist told me to look into mindfulness, I looked at her blankly thinking “what are you even talking about and how do you think I’ve got time to do all of those things?”   Mindful living is living with intent, self awareness, being present in your thoughts and the ability to slow your breathing and nervous system to bring calm.

 

I started with some simple basic things to help me because I knew that doing everything at once was not sustainable for me. Once I started with these few fundamentals because they were simple things I could do as a starting point.

 

1: Positive Post Its: Start by writing positive notes or quotes on post it notes around the house. Seeing and reading positive things is a good reminder [and start] to getting in the right headspace. I’m not saying every day is roses or positive but when the chips are down and you go to the toilet and happened to see a bright coloured post it note with a simple little positivity on it, it can make a difference. I’ve since turned my post its into a set of Affirmation Cards so I can see them every day.

 

2: Create a Check Point: This might be carrying something in your pocket, a drink bottle, when you touch a door handle. Every time you touch, pick up or have a drink you take a few deep breathes to calm you down. Really deep breathes….in through the nose and out through the mouth. Shallow breathing is a sign of stress and anxiety so taking deep breathes calms the nervous system and helps you be present. I carry around a crystal in my pocket so it’s a good check point for me but after recently doing some coaching with Clair Hill she suggested the door handle which has also been a good one.

 

3: Mental Stocktake: Basically a meditation….but again if you’re like me you aren’t ready to sit in a deep meditation because you start overthinking what you’re meant to be thinking when you are sitting in your own thoughts. For me I created a routine where I make my morning coffee and then pop on a meditation from Spotify (we have some on our playlist) that wasn’t deep, was only for 5 minutes and allowed me to dream. Meditation can be different for everyone so don’t put a high expectation on yourself of doing a deep 30-60min meditation when starting out. That’s why a basic Mental Stocktake can be good.

 

4: Gratitude: Again if you’re just starting out you might be thinking you have to write a list of 50 things you are grateful for. No. You. Don’t. Start by writing down at the end of each day, 1 thing you are grateful for in a journal [see Me Time Journal]. It might be your favourite song on the radio, that you went for a walk, that a friend made you smile etc. Once you’ve done this for a month, try extending out to 3 things per day.

 

5: Full Cup: We often are taking care of everyone else that we forget to take care of ourselves. Self Care is important, and something you should never feel guilty about. It doesn’t need to be costly or extravagant and can be basic things that make you smile or you love. Have a bath, watch your favourite tv show, read a book, do some colouring in, put your favourite song on and dance, or simply having a nap. So at the end of the week do something for you, to fill your cup.

 

These were all little things that I started doing when I began my mindful journey. One thing I must also remind you is that you don’t need to do them all together if it’s too much. Select maybe 1 thing and focus on doing that so it becomes a habit and part of your every day life. Small steps is better than no steps. Don’t overload yourself or compare yourself to someone else on the internet that may be further into their mindful journey than you.

 

I share many tips, techniques and strategies that work for me on social media so you can try what you resonate with. Some will work for you, some won’t. Like me, some have worked and I love and others I just can’t get the hang of, or I wasn’t a fan.

So that’s the basics to get you going, to help implement mindfulness into your world, to assist your mental health journey and becoming self aware and present in your thoughts.

I hope these top tips helped reduce your overwhelm and will get you on your mindful way.

Kara Vaina

Founder – My Mindful Year