The Significance of Mindfulness
Prioritising Self-Care for a Balanced Life - Chloe Markham
Reading time: 4 minutes
Mindfulness is a huge subject, attracting folk, like you, who seek personal transformation. The drive for mindfulness exploration often stems from a genuine desire for change and self-improvement. But what is it, really? I’ve written endlessly about managing challenging days, and the art of breathing to combat anxiety (read more of my articles here), both of which are important aspects of the broader mindfulness practice. But how can we approach mindfulness from a more grounded perspective? How can we actually incorporate this into our every day?
Within the context of the discussions I have within my membership, the theme of slowing down has been huge, reminding us of how important mindfulness and slowing down really is. As we have these conversations, as we dive more into this topic, the light of realisation came over me:
Neglecting to schedule in the essential breaks and self-care practices required for the well-being of our minds, bodies, and nervous systems can lead to dire consequences. When we forget, when we’re ‘too busy’ to make time for self-care in this way, our bodies will inevitably intervene, often at the most frustrating and inappropriate times.
This can manifest itself in panic attacks, anxiety attacks (or general feelings of constant low-level anxiety), chronic overwhelm, even things like dehydration, terrible digestion, and constant stress.
None of these things should be considered normal, okay, or acceptable in modern lives, but, despite us getting better at calling these things out, they’re sort of de rigueur, commonplace. On the other hand, most of us have at our disposal the simple and effective tools we can use every day to support this mind, body, nervous system wellbeing I’ve spoken about; yoga, breath work, meditation; countless books, podcasts, courses… But are we really using those tools?
The biggest problem is this:
Our work overrides self-care. Our families override self-care. Friends and social engagements, daily chores, our ever-expanding to-do lists are taking precedence. And sometimes that’s okay, even necessary, especially when it comes to our families and loved ones.
But what if we changed the primary focus on a day-to-day basis? What if we, for once, ignoring all media (especially social), ignoring societal pressures and out-dated norms, put ourselves first in order to do all of those things I mention above better, and with more joy, more creativity, more presence, and more love?
Without the foundation of self-care, our capacity to accomplish anything substantial is compromised. That’s just a fact. How can we be an effective parent, a supportive partner, or proficient in work, chores, and to-do lists without you first being balanced, calm, and the best you can be; you, this fundamental piece of the puzzle?
This is what mindfulness is about, really; the ability to be fully present, to listen to the needs of our bodies, and to respond accordingly. By prioritising self-care, we empower ourselves to leave a positive and meaningful contribution to the world.
I, of course, am reminding myself of this as I type these words. This is a massive work-in-progress for me, as I suppose it always will be. But I’m committed to this work, and this waffle of mine is a simple reminder to commit yourself to it, too.
Maybe today your act of mindfulness is slowly eating your way through a family bar of chocolate. Maybe it’s meditating before a big meeting, practicing yoga, going for a walk and really noticing the breeze…
The point is: it doesn’t matter. Mindfulness, as I mentioned, is just about being present, listening internally, and responding accordingly.
So be mindful today, friend. I, in particular, am really feeling that chocolate idea…