I’ll be honest, when I first started going to yoga it was for the physical benefits. As a former dancer it was a style of fitness that I really connected with right away. It was a couple years later that I realized it was having a positive effect on my mental health as well. These days I don’t know how I’d get by without at least one yoga class a week. When I started teaching school I began to look for ways that I could bring that mindfulness into the classroom. Yes, I often use it with my students, but more importantly, I use it as a way to keep myself in balance. It can be tough in such a fast-paced job to find a moment to reset. I’ve included 5 techniques I use to give myself a quick moment of mindfulness.
1. Find a quiet moment: I know. Sometimes it seems nearly impossible at a school to find one quiet moment to myself. Quite honestly I start to savor a minute in the bathroom, or the lucky moments when I’m the only one making copies. The key is to take advantage of those moments and take a few deep breaths to reset. They are few and far between, so enjoy them.
2. Breathe deeply: the breath is a powerful tool. If you start feeling overwhelmed at any point in the day, start by slowing down the breath. Add 1-2 counts on to the length of your inhales and exhales. If you can, add a 1-2 count pause between each inhale and exhale.
3. Be present: part of what can overwhelm us is the running “to-do list” in our heads. Or stressing about what someone said to us earlier, or worrying about what we are making for dinner. Seriously, too many tabs open in the browser all at once. If you slow down and focus on the present moment you will not only feel less overwhelmed, but you’ll enjoy your days a lot more.
4. Reduce distractions: turn off your email and social media notifications. Close out of tabs you’re not using. Try to reduce clutter on your desk so you’re not overwhelmed (100% talking to myself on this one)
5. Use tools: there are tons of great mindfulness apps for phones these days. They can help you slow your breath, you can listen to a 1 minute meditation, or set reminders to be present. If you have an Apple Watch you can have all of these reminders on your wrist.