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.