If you’ve found 2020 has taken a toll on your mental health, you’re not alone. In fact, all around the country (and beyond), Doctors are reporting rises in people seeking assistance for issues including depression and anxiety as the year has progressed.

For frontline medical professionals, the toll has been even higher. Reports of anxiety, stress and worry have increased significantly as workers have adjusted to the realities of working in the COVID era.

While there may not be much that can be done about some of the environmental triggers of our increased anxiety at this time, there are ways we can reduce their impact on our mental health.

HealthX strongly believes in the value of mindfulness as a tool in the battle against mental illness and has partnered with BUPA to offer a series of workshops on mindfulness for our nursing staff across Australia.

We’re presenting these workshops via webinar, ensuring our nurses all around the country can join and experience the benefits.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is an increasingly well-researched and well-respected way of reducing stress and anxiety levels.

Put simply, mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. (Source)

The practice originally came from Buddhism, but similar practices can be found in religions across the world and centre around helping people shift their minds away from their day-to-day preoccupations and towards a larger perspective.

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

According to research from Harvard Health, mindfulness can help improve mental health, relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.

Practicing mindfulness is also proven to contribute to greater life satisfaction and contentment.

While mindfulness can benefit all of us at any time, it’s particularly beneficial at periods of crisis and stress which is why we wanted to bring it to HealthX nursing staff this year.

What are the basic techniques of mindfulness?

There are a range of techniques that can be used to practice mindfulness and the best way to achieve the benefits will depend on you and your personality.

You can practice mindfulness while walking the dog, sitting, standing, doing yoga or lying on your bed.

Tips for practicing mindfulness include:

  • Focus on your breathing, a thought or word (mantra) and letting other thoughts come and go without judgment.
  • If you find yourself interrupted by thoughts about the day-to-day of your life or things you need to do, acknowledge these thoughts then let them go.
  • Acknowledge the sensory experiences around you – the smells around you, the things you can hear, the feeling of your feet on the ground.
  • Acknowledge your emotions – good and bad – then let them go without judgment.

Remember, if you’re new to practicing mindfulness, it can be hard to get the hang of.

Your mindfulness practice may end up being unique to you and it may take a few goes to find a technique that works for you and your life.

HealthX and BUPA workshops

In order to help our nursing staff master mindfulness, we’ve planned a series of workshops with BUPA.

The workshops include:

‘Understanding mindfulness’

October 27

This session will provide participants with an introduction to mindfulness. It covers what mindfulness is, its benefits, key principles to be aware of when preparing to practise mindfulness and some introductory practical tips to get started.

‘Mindful movement’

November 25

This session provides a range of suggested movements that you can make while standing or sitting down that help to engage the senses. You will be provided with guidance on how to observe, without judgment, the feelings in your joints, muscles and on your skin while you undertake a range of gentle guided movements.

‘Mindful breathing’

December 16

This gentle mindfulness session will provide participants with a practical set of tools for practising mindful breathing. Through a guided process, participants will have an opportunity to turn their attention to a range of peaceful observations while they go through a very centering guided breathing experience.

If you would like to register for the mindfulness workshops, please email marketing@healthx.com.au.

For further mental health support, contact our team or BeyondBlue.

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