Updated: Apr 20
It’s silly season!! That time of year when we let loose and have a good time.
It’s the end of a (long) year, and we’re all hanging out for a break. Our weekends are booked full and our days are getting busier. We need to finalise our work tasks before the end of the year, make sure we have everything ready for the end of term, navigate all the Christmas parties, not to mention we still need to do brave the crowds for some last-minute Christmas shopping.
Sounds fun right?!
For most of us, all of the busyness is worth the time off work or with our families, but it’s not always a relaxing time of year. And sometimes it means we can let a little too loose and go overboard with the egg nog and fruit mince pies!
Instead of losing your mind this silly season, try some regular mindfulness.
Anything is better than nothing when it gets as busy as it does at this time of year, and even a quick one-minute body scan mindfulness can work wonders. Aim to give yourself a 5 minute time out every day to do this and you'll notice the difference.
Never done a body scan before? Here’s how you do it:
Begin by finding a comfortable position in a chair or on the ground. You can sit cross-legged or lay down on your back. Whatever feels best for you.
Make sure there are no immediate distractions around if possible, but once you practice meditating enough, you'll find you'll be able to do a version of the body scan no matter where you are.
When you are ready, close your eyes, or direct your eyes downward if you prefer not to close them, and bring your awareness to your breath.
It is important in this meditation to observe whatever sensations are there, not to judge how you feel about them. Acknowledge they exist and let them be, even if you feel they should be different.
The same applies to your thoughts. Imagine your thoughts as clouds moving in the sky. when you notice a thought. acknowledge that it's there and let it pass.
Understand that for the short amount of time that you are meditating, you don't need to solve any problems, so simply let the thoughts float past and bring your awareness back to your breath or the body part you are up to.
Take a deep breath in, filling from the bottom of your lungs to the top, and, at your own pace, breathe out entirely before taking your next breath. As you breathe, notice how the air feels going in and out. Notice where you feel the air as it moves. Is it below the nose? Inside the nostrils? at the back of the throat? or somewhere else? Then get into a natural rhythm of breathing and start the body scan.
Your body scan can be as general or detailed as you have time for, and you may want to spend some extra time on parts that hold more tension.
Start from your head and move down your body part by part, and as you go through each part, notice what sensations you are experiencing in that area, either deep in the muscle or on the surface of the skin. You may feel some tingling, or soft vibrations, you may have a strong sensation or you might not feel very much at all. Anything is OK.
And as you observe each area, feel the tension in the muscle, and as you breathe, let the tension go. you can take as many breaths as you need to, and when you're ready, move on to the next area or body part.
Once you have completed your body scan, gently wiggle your fingers and toes, open your eyes and come to an upright position.
Congratulations! You have now completed a body scan mindfulness meditation. The more you practice, the better you will get and the more benefit you will get from it.