Welcome to the start of a brand new weekly column by Lauren Harley talking about how she uses mindfulness exercises to improve her life.
My last birthday was the first in many years that I chose to do nothing. I was having an episode - one of my lowest to date - and I wanted a day free from the stresses of:
Organising a meal or event.
Inviting guests to the event.
Deciding on what to wear.
Leaving my house.
I didn’t quite escape stress as I was constantly being asked by friends what I was going to do for my birthday; a stress I hadn’t accounted for. Why was I being questioned about MY birthday? Surely I was allowed to choose to do nothing without having to explain myself...apparently not.
I got my own way anyway, and after my partner finished work on the day, (I was signed off sick from my job at the time), he asked if I’d like to go for a low-key, Chinese meal in a place that wasn’t much to look at but had very good food. I agreed and I can’t even remember what I wore - I didn’t care - but I do remember how delicious the food was, despite me eating only vegetarian dishes.
Some of my feelings were understood - my partner, obviously, but I also received a few gifts from my cousin, including a scratch poster with mindfulness exercises. Some of them I was doing already, but I didn’t realise that they had positively contributed to my mental well being until now.
In this weekly column, I am going to share my experience with each recommended exercise and how each has impacted my life - whether short term or long term, whether significant, minor or not at all. Check back next Wednesday for the next post!