Today’s post is by my photographer, and now friend, Helena, who I have worked with for years. I always leave our meetings feeling comforted and calm, so I reached out to her to find out her secret to remaining so grounded and calm when she works in such a busy, and often, stressful industry as a photographer. Here, she shares her 5 rituals for a more grounded and easy day. Enjoy!
Life juggling two jobs as a yoga teacher and photography business owner can get a little hectic! It’s become so important to me over the last few years to fall back on rituals that help down-regulate my system when my mind becomes too busy. These are the practices I build into my days and weeks to help me feel centred, grounded and easeful.
Sometimes I will practice these in the morning, sometimes it’s how I will close out my day, and other times it’s how I spend my lunch. As I said, I’m here for rhythms not routines.
10 minutes of movement
As a yoga teacher, movement is a really big part of my day-to-day life. This might be a yoga class, barre class, cardio class or even a long walk. However, not every day will provide space and time for a full 60 minutes of exercise, and that’s ok. Wherever you’re at in your movement journey, taking a little pocket of time to stretch, wiggle or breathe is hugely beneficial for your mind and body. You could put something on YouTube at home or simply go for a walk around the local park. When I’m practicing yoga online I love Cat Meffan and Annie Clarke.
5 minutes of meditation
My meditation practice ebbs and flows. There are of course apps like Headspace you can use, but I prefer to be technology free for meditation. I set a timer for just 5 minutes, sit myself in a comfortable position on a cushion or against a wall and pick up my mala beads. They are a circle of beads designed for use during meditation. You take a bead between thumb and forefinger and slowly make your way around the ring of beads. I like to inhale as I take the first, exhale as I move to the second and so on. You can also silently repeat a mantra like “I am enough”, “I am where I am meant to be”, something that resonates with you, as you make your way around the beads. If you have longer than 5 minutes to spare, you can steadily increase the amount of time spent in meditation, but I find 5 minutes a manageable amount of time, and one that doesn’t feel too daunting.
No screen time for 30 minutes of the day
Either starting or closing the day with screen-free time is really important to me. Running two separate business Instagram accounts and receiving all my emails to my phone can be overwhelming. Deliberately carving out a pocket of time where my attention isn’t being pulled every which way is really important to me to feel calm and focused.
Morning decaf coffee and nutritious breakfast
I love breakfast, it’s my favourite meal of the day and I don’t skimp! Eating a nutritious breakfast gives me energy all the way through to lunchtime, and the morning is when I’m at my most productive. I make a decaf coffee and usually a hearty bowl of porridge with oat milk. I pile on fruits, chia seeds, nuts, desiccated coconut and dollops of almond butter.
Cleanse the space
I’m a visual person and a messy space makes me feel really unfocussed and anxious. Before I sit down to work I will clear the desk or working space and give it a spray or wipe down so that I have somewhere clear and uncluttered to work. I also have an essential oils diffuser which I’ll top up with oils and set for an hour to cleanse the energy of the space.
I hope there’s a little nugget in here that you might take, adapt or integrate into your own rituals that help make your life feel a little more grounded and easeful. Working with these rituals gives me the tools I need to help regulate my nervous system and make my days flow with more ease.
Helena is a professional photographer based in Bristol, specialising in product and food photography. She works with ethical and sustainable brands, creating joyful, story-telling product photos.