Tenner Week: Day 3: Midweek mindfulness
Every time there’s a Tenner Week I try to have at least one day that’s relaxing and also something that’s related to good health. Today is a quick look at mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a practice, something that just about anyone can learn to do. You might be forgiven for thinking that it’s an industry or a product as there are so many books and courses for it at the moment, most of them quite pricey. However, there are also plenty of resources where you can try mindfulness out for free or learn how to do it for under £10.
What’s the point of mindfulness then? Your mind has a tendency to chatter away to itself, mainly because that’s what minds tend to do. It may jump forward and most likely worry about the future, or jump back and perhaps remember something that wasn’t so rosy, or it may jump sideways and be irrational and heavily judgemental.
Mindfulness helps you to become more aware that your mind is just chattering, and helps you separate a little from the chatter (your chattering mind is not ‘you’). It also helps you focus on and enjoy the present moment more – it can make everyday life more pleasant as well as reducing anxiety and stress. There’s a useful introduction on the NHS Choices website.
Today, try a little mindfulness exercise for free/cheap – just 10 minutes out of your day.
- Focus on your breathing for a few minutes, following the natural rise and fall of your breath. You don’t need to try to empty your mind or get stillness in your thoughts – just let the old internal monologue prattle on without getting too caught up in it, and keep bringing your attention back to your breathing.
- There are various mindfulness apps that have free versions. My favourite at the moment is the Calm app for iPhone, where you can try a guided meditation (mindfully following the breath etc) with a set time. If you don’t have an iPhone then you can do free guided meditations using their webapp. There are some great reviews of other mindfulness and meditation apps over at The Freelance Lifestyle by Emma Cossey. Also, if you have a little extra cash to spare, the Buddhify app is getting very good reviews – I’ll try that out next month at some point and let you know if it’s value for money.
- If you’d like to know more about mindfulness in general, you might like Sane New World: Taming the Mind by Ruby Wax. This is currently available for £3.49 in Kindle format, and it contains various exercises to try. I recently went to one of Ruby’s shows where she made the whole audience do a mindfulness / body awareness exercise and it was really interesting to give it a go.
- Or, finally, you could try eating some food mindfully. Take some chocolate, dried fruit, crisps or any other snack you like, and spend a few minutes doing this: slowly enjoy the look of the food you’re about to eat, then the weight/feel in your hand, aroma, flavours, texture, chewing sensations, any aftertaste, and finally sensing any cravings you might have for more.
Going to give anything here a go? Or do you know any other free or cheap resources?
What’s happening here?
I’ll be putting aside 10 minutes on my tea break this morning to use the free version of the Calm app – will also be sure to do this sitting up in a hard-backed chair so I don’t get so relaxed that I doze off!
So far this week I’ve watched no TV, and haven’t missed it at all. Might be a different matter at the weekend though. Meanwhile I’ve been getting through the laundry backlog and have nearly made it to the bottom of the mending pile, plus there’s been a little more time to focus on healthy meals and snacks.
Yesterday we had plenty of fruit and veggies, including homemade vegetable soup for lunch, and veggie bangers, roasted onions, sweet potato mash and spinach with nutmeg for dinner. We don’t tend to have puddings and desserts here mid-week, but there were bruised cooking apples to be used up so we had those baked with raisins, cinnamon and orange juice – very nice and not sugary sweet either.
We ended up freezing so much food in the last fortnight because Beau wasn’t feeling well and neither of us had much of an appetite. That’s why the freezer’s so well stocked this week. Haven’t been stockpiling for Tenner Week, honest.
Money-wise, I spent £1.80 on coffee while I was out yesterday, and £1.91 on an Approved Food order – I had some store credit which paid for most of the order, but there were too many bargains on there this week and I decided to stock up a tiny bit in case they sold out. Will have to buy milk today, but am planning a no-spend day on Friday.
Total spent so far: £3.71
How are you getting on with the telly and the spending?
Huge fan of mindfulness, and the Calm and Buddhify apps really help (the latter is great for on the go mindfulness, when you can’t hide away for a meditation session).
I also use an app called My Wonderful Days for recording thoughts about my day and writing a list of things I’m grateful for – which could be as little as a sunny day, a seat on the train or a yummy dinner. Happier is similar – a social network and app for sharing happy moments.
I spent £3.50 yes on some shower gel and a bottle of diet coke, otherwise on track!
Hi Emma – thanks so much for all the ideas and tips, they look excellent! Looking forward to trying out Buddhify very soon and it sounds very handy for those moments when you’re stuck on public transport…
Glad to hear you’re still within budget too. Just off out to buy some milk…
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