Life often seems to move at a frenetic pace. Whether you have work deadlines looming, kids with packed schedules, an ill loved one to look after, or just an active lifestyle, life gets busy—often with no sign of slowing down soon. But it’s essential to your health—mental and physical—that you make time to slow down, even if it’s only for brief moments here and there.
Self-guided meditation can be done anytime you have a few minutes to yourself. It can be done anywhere. And it costs nothing. For busy people, it’s the easiest way to work self-care into your day. Try this simple, easy to remember DIY meditation and keep pain, stress, and worry at bay.
Step-by-Step DIY Meditation
1.Start in a seated position, either in a chair with your feet flat on the floor or sitting cross-legged in a comfortable and quiet spot. Lying down works too, if you prefer or are confined to bed.
2. Relax your shoulders back and down, keeping your spine straight, but not tense. Hands can be folded, or lay them, palms down, on your lap.
3. Gently close your eyes, and breathe through your nose. Focus on your “in” breath, then your “out” breath. Allow your breath to ground you in the present moment. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath.
4. Move your attention to your feet. Tense and tighten all of the muscles in your feet as you breath in; holding it for a brief moment, then relax the muscles as you breath out. Bring your attention to your calves and legs, as you tense and tighten those muscles; holding it for a brief moment, then relax as you exhale. Repeat these steps as you move your attention to your thighs, then to your abdomen.
5. Bringing your attention to your hands, make a tight fist as you inhale; relax your hands as you exhale. Repeat these steps as you move your attention to your forearms, then your upper arms (flexing your biceps and triceps).
6. Focusing your attention on your arms and upper back, shrug your shoulders up to your ears and draw your shoulders blades in toward each other; once again, relax as you breath out.
7. Bringing your attention to your jaw, clench your teeth and tighten your facial muscles; exhale, and let it go. Resting your attention on your in breath and out breath, begin to silently say to yourself the word “one” on your “out” breath, allowing it to serve as an anchor to your attention. If your mind wanders, kindly bring it back to your breath and continue saying “one” on your exhale. Continue with this breathing for several minutes—or longer if you wish—repeating “one” on your out breath.
8. When you are ready, bring yourself into the present moment. Wiggle your fingers and toes, and gently open your eyes. Notice how you are feeling, and know that you can come back to this peaceful ease anytime you need to.
Being constantly on the go, and pulled in a million directions as once, is physically and mentally exhausting. Having a good self-care routine can be the difference between smiling through your day or crying into a pint of ice cream every evening as you battle anxiety, depression, or exhaustion.
Health Coach Robin Nakonetschny is an American Council on Exercise-certified health coach, personal trainer, and mind-body specialist. Also certified as a holistic health coach and raw food chef, Robin is passionate about healthy living and supporting others on their journey to living well.