People run for a variety of reasons. For many of us, it’s an empowering way to challenge ourselves and to stay fit. For others, it’s an opportunity to be social while enjoying time in nature. COVID-19 has presented many obstacles for runners. Especially if you’re a weekly parkrun enthusiast – or if you’ve had a few bucket list races cancelled this year.
Running is without a doubt, one of the best ways to boost your mental health. But, if you’re feeling a bit lost because you haven’t been able to run as much as usual, meditation could have a similar benefit to your overall well-being. You don’t need to be an expert to start, all you need is a few minutes a day and a quiet space (bathrooms count too!)
Don’t worry about candles or fancy mats if you’re new to the practice. Meditation at its core is about focusing on your mind through your breath. Here’s how to get started:
- Sit comfortably with a straight back – you can put a pillow between your back and the wall for extra support.
- Pretend you’ve got a helium balloon attached to your head. This will help to keep your spine straight.
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. It’s okay if your breath is quick in the beginning, as you find a rhythm, you’ll start to notice it slow down.
- Focus on your breath. Wandering thoughts is normal, especially in the beginning. Gently guide them back and focus on what your breath sounds and feels like.
- Close your eyes if that’s comfortable, or focus on a single spot on the floor.
Begin where you are
There’s no time limit on meditation. Whether you’re able to commit to five minutes a day or half an hour – the benefits remain the same.
If you’re new to meditating, consider using an app, such as Insight Timer to get more comfortable with sitting still. You’ll have hundreds of free guided meditations and nature sounds to choose from to help you focus your mind, relieve stress, and boost your immune system.