Five wellness experts share some first-hand knowledge on how to make your life a little more mindful in a busy industry
When January comes around each year and you’re bombard by ‘new year, new me’ messaging, you often find yourself wondering what you could do to just feel that bit better about the year ahead. That doesn’t mean you must go running every evening, while also cutting down on junk food and having yoga, Pilates and spin classes on rotation every day of the week.
Often, we forget to look in before we look out, seeking all the activities and latest fads we can jump onboard with. We spoke to five professionals to gain some insight on the best initial steps to take to be more considerate of our personal wellbeing and sharing their advice for a mindful mindset.
For more years than she’d like to admit, mind and movement coach Beth Fuller had fallen into the marketing trap of brands capitalising on juice cleanses and workout regimes. She did, however, manage to break tradition and try to make some personalised, better habits. “If you take a little look out of the window, you’ll probably notice that most of the plants are in hibernation at the moment,” Beth comments. “They’re storing up their vital energy so that when the ground warms up and spring arrives, they can burst into bloom.”
In using this small anecdote, it’s easy to embrace the same philosophy and apply it to the first few months of the year. “Plant and cultivate gentle seeds – ideas and intentions – that are going to serve you for the rest of the year,” she adds. Emphasising how important these months are for setting your pace for the rest of year, Beth says this ideology also resonates deeply with her clients who can use and adapt it to their own lifestyles.
We are beginning to see a gradual movement of prioritising small things in order to make change, as opposed to flipping life upside down completely then wondering why you struggled to steer the ship. There is much more conversation around the topic now, particularly on podcasts and social media. Hairstylist Cally Borg believes listening to a podcast while taking a walk is a great activity to shift your mindset from busy and stressed to calm and peaceful. However, she is a firm believer that the attitude towards mindfulness begins from within.
“In my opinion mindfulness comes from the self-belief that you deserve it. You must have self-discipline. In order to change your mindset, like any skill, you must practice,” she states. “Having ADHD makes mindfulness hard as I live with constant racing thoughts. For me, apps like Ten Percent Happier and Calm, as well as practicing breathing exercises, work well.”
With mindfulness being so psychological and personal, methods like the breathing exercises that Cally mentions are so simple that they can become overlooked or considered less effective, but the opposite is in fact true. The basis of all yoga and meditation practises is breathing and it is the concentration on breath work that gives you the grounding experience.
Harriet Emily is a sound healing and meditation expert who performs rituals, ceremonies and sound baths. Providing her expertise in meditation, Harriet shares a super quick meditation exercise that gives an immediate impact. “Using the breath is a great way to arrive at a meditative state in a matter of minutes,” Harriet begins. “The 10 second breath meditation is a powerful practice for creating inner peace. Simply inhale, counting for 10 seconds, holding for 10 and exhaling for 10. In a matter of minutes, you’ll go from stress to zen.”
Evidently, these small activities are all impactful in different ways, and a combination of them is sure to set you on a good path for the month (or year!) ahead in order to stay mindful. Taking a step back from everything that may be overwhelming you is a perfect way to begin prioritising what needs your attention and what is even worthy of the worry. Practising this self-awareness as an ongoing management method will help to keep your focus on the important things. “To have a healthy mindset you need to make the right choices in looking after yourself. You can’t expect to eat rubbish and feel good,” adds hairstylist Chelsea Caulton. “This year I would practise meditation, gratitude, positive affirmations, surrounding myself with good people and good energy, eating healthy, drinking water doing my daily exercise and loving myself.”
Simple yet effective. Without overthinking the things that you could or should be doing, start with yourself and taking time to clear your head – this could be as simple as taking a few minutes out of your day for a cuppa.
“For me personally, 2023 is about setting some time aside for a bit of quiet,” says salon owner and mentor Tina Hollis. “You don’t have to go full candles and meditation if you don’t think you can manage it, especially at work. I find just 10-15 minutes each day where I can sit on my own with a cup of tea and just be peaceful can do the trick,” she explains. “Wearing so many hats as a busy salon owner, coach and colourist I think it’s important to be able to switch off for a few moments a day, to close all those open tabs in my brain for a few moments.”