After working for more than 10 years in an accounts office, with constant pressure and very little support, burn out was the inevitable result, I now find myself trying to rebuild my mental health. My brilliant GP suggested I should practice Mindfulness and so my journey began. I was already aware of Mindfulness and would take my knitting to work with me, noticing that just half an hour of knitting in the lunch break would feel as good as a decent nap.
The term Mindfulness means to be aware of the moment you are in, to focus on you and your inner self and not on the chaos of the world around you. Most of us get so caught up in what is going on around us that we rarely if ever spend any time just being aware of ourselves in the present moment.
The trick is to take some time just to concentrate on the present and to forget what may be worrying you, what has already happened and what may be about to happen. I am reminded of my sadly departed and much missed dad, who would often say to me. “Think about what is worrying you, ask yourself can you do anything to change it, if so do it, if you can’t, then it’s out of your hands so stop worrying”. Achieving this inner peace takes practice but don’t be put off. There are many ways to start practising Mindfulness. The aim is to do something which focuses the mind on the moment you are in, walking the dog just enjoying the nature around you if your thoughts start drifting towards the “to-do list” or what to make for tea tonight then dismiss those thoughts immediately and pull yourself back to the present moment. Some may find just being still and concentrating on breathing, feeling each breath as it moves in and out can really help. I find that doing something creative works for me. If I am too busy counting stitches and rows then there is no room in my mind for negative thoughts or worries. Start with a short time each day and gradually build it up, soon you will find you can train your brain to just be in the moment. Take this time for yourself as often as possible to focus your concentration and achieve a sense of calm to be a happier and more confident person.
Crafting will help just so long as you do something you enjoy, you could try knitting or crochet, my GP favours painting by numbers – did you know you can get kits for adults? Have a go at making your own Christmas and birthday cards, not only helping your wellbeing but saving money as well! Baking and cookery are a great idea. There are many adult colouring books on the market, some of the geometric patterns will really test your concentration.
I have seen research the mental health charity Mind has released which would suggest that the time we spend on social media can affect our wellbeing
a poll of 2052 people found almost half aged 18 to 24 (49%) say too much time on social media has a negative effect on their mood.
The research also found that almost seven in ten people aged 18 to 24 (68%) find that doing something creative can have the opposite effect.
41% of people aged 25 to 34 and almost the same aged 41 to 44 (37%) also agreed that too much time spent on social media had a negative effect on their mood.
(69%) 25 to 34-year-olds agree that getting creative boosts their mood. Being creative could be a great tonic to aid the healing of the burnt-out brain.
Mindfulness is easier said than done, these days our lives are so much busier, we have a million and one things to do, worries and tasks are flying in and out of our heads all the time. It is so important to slow down and give your head some space, embrace your senses and be in the present. This is why crafting helps, without even realising it you will be in the middle of a project, time stands still and you are in the moment – congratulations you have achieved mindfulness.