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  • Writer's pictureAlexander James

How To Protect Your Mental Health In 2021

2020 has certainly been a very challenging year for us all and, no doubt, the world is breathing a collective sigh of relief that it has now drawn to a close. But it’s important to remember that the pandemic situation is still not yet resolved and it will take some time for a sense of normality to return.

Going into 2021 bearing this in mind is perhaps wise so you know you’re both mentally and physically prepared to be able to handle whatever the coming 12 months has in store. Hopefully, we are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the vaccine but being complacent now could mean you struggle later down the line.

Practicing mindfulness can really help keep your mind strong and your emotions, thoughts and feelings more manageable for you at difficult times in your life. Anxiety and depression has been rife this year, understandably, but there are certain techniques you can employ that can make a very real and significant difference to how you’re feeling.

Mindfulness is all about acting with intent and focusing on the present moment by connecting your body, your breath and your thoughts.

Simply take a minute to yourself and really tune in to the physical act of breathing, paying attention to the rise and fall of your chest and abdomen, the feeling of the air flowing through your nose and being held in your lungs… a minute of this and you’re sure to feel more centred immediately.

Alternatively, what about doing some square breathing? This involves breathing in for four seconds, holding it in your lungs for four seconds, breathing out for four seconds and then holding for four seconds, repeating for a minute or two.

Another way you could practice mindfulness is by going outside for a mindful walk - perhaps something to try in the spring, when the weather isn’t quite so chilly! As you walk, bring your awareness to the feeling of walking, how your feet feel on the ground, the muscles in your legs as they move and so on.

From there, you could easily start to practice some mindful listening, really tuning into the environment around you and paying close attention to all that you can hear. Perhaps ask yourself to pick out five sounds you can hear and then five smells, five things you can touch… this is yet another great way to centre yourself and calm your mind.

And don’t forget about self-care as a way to protect your mental health. Do some painting or drawing, sit down and listen to your favourite album with a hot cup of tea, get out into nature, watch comedies, turn your phone off and read a book… anything that gives you time to yourself will help alleviate stress.

Looking for a mindful therapist based in Putney? Get in touch with us today.

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