How to be present
For a self-confessed fidget, rest days can prove to be somewhat of a struggle. In my dream world I'm blissfully stretching it out on a yoga mat and 'letting it all go', but the reality is that I spend most of the time during class trying to quieten my overactive mind (shoutouts to my anxiety and OCD thought loops). As a result, I've found other ways to rest my body and mind.
One of my favourite things to do is go for a walk along the beach or around my local park. Leaving the headphones at home and having a restful walk means that I have time to appreciate all of the sights, smells and sounds in the natural surroundings and truly switch off. It might sound corny, but focusing on a crashing wave, watching a passing cloud or following a leaf drift to the ground is the ultimate lesson in mindfulness.
I recently learned the 5-4-3-2-1 approach, which is a great tool to use in nature as it encourages us to be present by relying on the five senses. If you'd like to try it on your next stroll, first begin by identifying five things you can see at that moment, four things you can hear, three things you can feel, then two things you can smell and one thing you can taste (*cough* VALA ). This technique also helps me to refocus if I have the jitters before an event, as it distracts the mind in a positive way and interrupts any unhealthy or negative thoughts.
Next time you might be feeling a bit overworked, struggling through that last kilometre or experiencing the pre-race jitters, try reconnecting with your surroundings and shifting your focus to a more positive mindset.