Life can be difficult at the best of times and with the current climate it is important to stop and take a minute to ourselves. A good way to do this is by practising mindfulness.
Mindfulness means paying full attention to something. It means slowing down to really notice what you're doing and being aware of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Being mindful is the opposite of rushing or multitasking. When you're mindful, you're taking your time.
When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we're sensing in the present moment rather than worrying about the past or imagining the future.
The benefits of mindfulness are endless; it lowers anxiety and stress, increases positive moods, improves social skills and communication and helps with better decision making just to name a few.
The Coronavirus Pandemic poses a number of threats to our physical, social and emotional wellbeing. The aim of this website is to provide people with the resources that they need to manage their mental health at home during this very difficult time.
Let’s look after ourselves, and each other.
As days of isolation turn into weeks, many of us are feeling increasingly uprooted from our normal lives. In a world on lockdown, it isn’t just our routines that are being disrupted, but our relationships too. Thankfully, distance doesn’t have to mean disconnection.
These challenging times remind us that it’s never enough to just look after ourselves. We must look after each other too. This is what it means to Calm Together.
10 Mindfulness Tips
1. Breathe - As simple as it sounds, asking children to take the time to focus on nothing but their breathing will help to clear their mind. Try experimenting with breaths (breathe in for 2, exhale for 4) to allow children to find their own natural rhythm.
2. Muscle relaxation - When tensions are running high, ask your children to lie on the floor and starting from their toes, tense their muscles for 5 seconds – squeezing as tightly as they can – before releasing again. Continue all the way up the body, even scrunching their facial muscles to relieve any tension from the day.
3. Sensing the senses! - Encourage your children to tap into their senses by pausing for a moment and noticing exactly what they can see, hear and smell in that particular moment. Being in the present can help to alleviate worries that children may have had about previous lessons.
4. Noticing emotions - Mindfulness teaches children that it’s ok not to be ok. Recognising the emotion that they are experiencing is the most important thing, as well as understanding that this emotion will fade over time.
5. Time on your hands - For those needing some breathing space, a simple yet effective exercise is asking children to hold out their hand in a high five pose, then as slowly as they can, trace round each finger with their other hand. Taking the attention away from what has made them feel frustrated or upset, even if only for a matter of seconds, might be all it takes for them to calm down.
6. Strike a pose - When thinking of mindfulness, yoga is the first exercise that springs to most peoples’ minds. Complicated downward dogs may be attempted, but a simple crossed legged position or standing tall with arms stretched out wide can help children to refocus.
7. Heartbeats - Have your pupils job on the spot for 30 seconds to release some much needed endorphins, then ask them to put their hands on their heart, noticing the speed of the beats. This simple exercise is effective in improving children’s focus.
8. Practise gratitude - When a day or a lesson seems to have been a complete disaster for a pupil, take the time to have a quick circle time, asking the children to share one positive thing about their day. Hearing what others are grateful for will foster an environment of positivity.
9. Youtube meditation - There are so many fantastic guided meditation channels on Youtube now, such as “Peace out” which lead children through a relaxation sequence. Ideal for improving concentration before a long writing session.
10. The sound of music - Using a bell, tambourine or maracas, make sound for while the children close their eyes. Ask the children to open their eyes when they notice that the sound has completely gone and silence has been restored.