Whether you are working from home, still commuting, home schooling, missing family or just struggling with the ups and downs of lockdown - this is a stressful time for all of us.
That's why we wanted to share some simple meditative techniques you can try at home, to relieve some of the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Choose a peaceful spot.
A quiet, relaxing environment will enable you to focus exclusively on your practice. Find a spot you won't be interrupted, your bedroom or garden bench are both good options. Switch off any TVs and put away your phone. Some people like to play some calm, repetitive music to help concentration.
To avoid external distractions, wear loose clothing and remove your shoes. Make sure you are a comfortable temperature.
Set a time.
Choose how long you would like to meditate for. As little as five minutes once a day can be very effective. Set a gently alarm as a reminder, and try to stick to it.
Do some light stretching before you begin. This will help prevent stiffness or distraction caused by any sore spots.
Take a seat.
Sit on a chair or cross-legged on the floor. Any position is ok as long as you are stable and comfortable. Straighten your spine and focus on your posture. Rest your hands in your lap with palms facing upwards or rest them on your knees if you prefer. Close your eyes if it helps you relax, it can also help avoid visual distractions.
Notice Your Breathing.
Follow your breath in and out. When you notice your mind wandering during your practice return your attention to your breath.
One of the most basic techniques, breathing meditation is a great place to start. Focus on your breath and the rise and fall of your abdomen. Don't try to change your breathing patterns, just breathe normally.
Use Mental Images.
Focus on a mental image to guide your breathe. Picture a boat floating on the sea, bobbing up and down in time with your breathing. If your mind wanders, just refocus on your breath.
Focus on a Visual Object.
Use a simple visual object to focus your mind, this can be anything you find calming. A lit candle or a plant are good options. Place the object at eye level and gaze at it while focusing on your breathe.
A body scan involves focusing on each individual body part and consciously relaxing it. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position, close your eyes and begin to notice your breathing. Then gradually move your attention to each body part starting at your toes and moving up. Relax each contracted muscles and release any tension. Spend as much time as you like on each body part, then focus on your whole body and breathing for several minutes to finish
If you enjoy these practices you may like to follow some guided meditation practices. Both the Headspace and Calm apps are highly regarded and available in your app store.