What we’ve learned over the years is that some sort of holistic routine is a must in order to feel grounded when life is throwing you curveballs in every direction. It doesn’t need to be complicated, in fact, the simpler the better. By spending a few minutes every single day on a little ritual that helps you to re-centre, you’ll start to feel more grounded, clearer and most importantly, you’ll be nurturing the relationship you have with yourself.
Journalling is a great way to release any negative thoughts and empty your mind by getting everything down on paper. There’s no right or wrong with journalling, you simply start writing whatever comes to mind, be it random thoughts, a reflection of your day, or something a little more creative. The best time to journal is in the evenings, when you’re a little less rushed and can sit down and express your thoughts for 5 to 10 minutes. The simple act of writing can be a huge release and creative outlet for many, as it predominantly uses the right side of our brain and captures our flighty thoughts (around 60,000 per day), on paper. Once we start to see what we’re thinking, we can understand how we think. And then we can discover a new level of awareness about ourselves, which in turn fosters a more focused creative process.
Yin yoga is an amazing way to tune inwards and find a deeper connection to yourself when you feel stressed or disconnected. Yin involves settling into a yoga pose, usually close down to the earth, and staying in the pose for anywhere between 2-5 minutes. You might think this sounds easy, but when you start to find stillness in the body, the mind can start to play funny tricks on you. All of the repetitive thoughts that enter our minds daily can start to crop up - also known as the monkey mind - and challenge our ability to stay present and aware of our breath and physical experience in the pose. Yin yoga is a complex practice, with many different areas to explore, from chakras to Chinese medicine and the meridians (channels) in the body, so make sure to get to a few good yin yoga classes before attempting it for the first time. The benefits of yin are huge - from the release of dopamine and serotonin - hormones that improve mood and reduce anxiety - to the release of the muscles and the tight connective tissue that wraps around them. Plus, practicing yin will challenge your patience and ability to stay present, even when you feel slightly uncomfortable in some of the poses.
Breath work is a powerful practice, and a safe and natural tool for feeling more energetic, clear and relaxed. Plus, it’s done with the most basic and simple tool we all have: the breath. When you breathe in a circular way, building up the breath and noticing where it starts and ends, it increases the energetic flow or “prana” in your body. You might experience an energetic surge or feel the tension being cleared, and will start to feel more balanced and gain more clarity. Quite simply, breathing properly improves everything it is applied to, be it your physical body, your mood, your mental state. When you focus your awareness on your breath and develop your breath work practice, you can even start to transcend your physical body and experience new, fun realms of consciousness. As with anything, it’s best to practice with a trained breath work practitioner until you feel comfortable going it alone.
Just listing 10 things that you’re grateful for either before you start your day or last thing in the evening can be incredibly humbling and really help improve your satisfaction with life. It’s all too easy to let the negative events in life effect you or wear you down, and forget about all the good things that you’ve got going on, or the people in your life that you can take for granted. Practicing gratitude reminds us of all the things that truly matter in our life, however big or small - it can be simply ‘I am grateful for my health”, or “I am grateful for having friends that I can count on” - just put pen to paper and let the words flow.
Stepping outside and into nature to clear your head can be incredibly grounding, be it with a friend or alone. Walking is not only a great form of exercise, but it can really help you to reconnect and has a hugely positive effect on your mood. Try to be mindful of your experience as you’re walking, rather than allowing your thoughts to drown everything else out. While you’re outside, you can also practice earthing - which can be simply touching something natural with your feet or hands, whether that’s a flower or tree, or simply being barefoot on the grass (in the summer..). Earthing is a great way to ground your mind and the act of connecting physically to something natural can have a profound effect on your mood.
So, there you have it – these are our 5 simple but effective rituals to help you feel more grounded throughout the busy winter period. Try and practice your chosen ritual at the same time each day, so that you start to build it into your routine.
Words: Sarah Fretwell
Sarah is a yoga teacher and movement coach, as well as a freelance copywriter and digital marketing consultant. Her love for movement, wellness and travel was the reason for starting her blog, sarahfretwellyoga.com, designed to inspire readers to follow their dreams and find freedom and joy in their bodies.