Today’s exercise gives you a chance to check in with yourself, and start to develop your “mindfulness muscle” - a 5 minute mind/body scan.
Start by finding a quiet place without interruption – I can already feel you saying “yeah, right!” But stick with me, because this is SELF-care, and you are worth 5 minutes of your own time. Maybe it can be just after you wake up in the morning, or just before bed. Maybe during a solitary walk, or just sitting in your parked car. And maybe you’ll have to go in the bathroom and lock the door (I hope you have uninterrupted time there?)
Starting at the top of your head, and going all the way to your toes, notice any physical sensations: do your eyes feel dry, your nose stuffy, your throat scratchy? How’s your posture: are you leaning forward or back, head tilted forward or to the side? How’s your breathing: shallow or deep, high in your chest or deep in your belly? Is there a tag on your shirt, rubbing your back? Are your socks soft or scratchy? Is it hot or cool where you are, are you sweating or shivering?
Once you’ve done your body scan, do the same for any emotions or thoughts you are having. Don’t judge, or try to change anything, just observe, like a scientist collecting data. Then ask yourself 3 questions:
what am I feeling, physically?
What am I feeling emotionally?
What am I thinking?
You can do this more than once, if you like, either within the same day, or for a few days in a row. Don’t rush, take the full 5 minutes – set a timer if you feel antsy sitting still for that long, or consider doing your scan during a walk. All you have to do is pay attention, that’s it.