When everything in life seems so stressful, how can we find ways to relax and recenter? The answer: Mindfulness! While teaching is rewarding, it can also be stressful. Teachers carry much responsibility as they shape young minds and guide our children. But while it is vital to take care of students, it is just as important to take care of ourselves as educators.
One of the five competencies of social emotional learning is self-management. How can educators invest time in self-management strategies when they are juggling so many other responsibilities? Again, we go back to mindfulness! Here are three ways to fit mindfulness into your busy day.
1. Body Scanning
What is body scanning?
Body scanning is a great way to refocus and reconnect with your body. When one feels anxious and unsettled, body scanning helps to distract yourself from the uncomfortable sensations of anxiety and bring the focus back to your body.
How to conduct a body scan:
- Sit/lay in a comfortable position
- Take three deep breaths and clear your mind
- Start by bringing awareness to your feet
- Move your attention upward from your feet to your ankles, calves, knees, etc.
- Take deep breaths as you bring awareness to each part of your body.
After body scanning, notice any points of tension and breathe into it. Take note of where the tension is, and before you go to bed, try to do some yoga or dynamic stretching to ease the tension.
Journaling is something that we have discussed and promoted a lot on this blog. Journaling is a great way to get out all your thoughts without judgment or intimidation. Writing down all of your thoughts makes it easier to get a sense of your feelings, fears, and problems. Other benefits of journaling include increased self-confidence, a way to track your habits and goals, reduce stress and anxiety, help one to look at their thinking patterns.
Try this journal activity: Cultivating Gratitude.
Another great way to provide direction to your journaling is with a small prompt to fill out every morning or evening (whichever you prefer). Below is a list of great prompts to guide your journaling and help you build consistency. Tip: pick one journal prompt per day, try this for a week and let us know on our Facebook how you felt after completion!
Some other great journal prompts are:
- What is one nice thing you could do for someone else today?
- What is your favorite way to relax, and why?
- Who is the most important person in your life, and why?
- What animal do you love the most and why?
- If you could change one aspect of your morning routine, what would it be?
- What is something no one else knows about you?
- Is there anything you need to get off your chest today? Write it here.
3. Mindfulness Walks
Why is exercise good for mindfulness?
Exercise is a great way to calm your mind because it produces endorphins and other happy hormones. Through movement, we can regulate our breathing and put anxieties at ease. The World Health Organization recommends at least 60 minutes of exercise a day, and walking is a great way to do that and practice your mindfulness.
Tips for your mindfulness walks:
- Find a playlist that calms you (or listen to the sounds of your surroundings).
- Walk at a pace that is good for you (don't push yourself too hard!).
- Set yourself in surroundings that are enjoyable to you
- Find a park or neighborhood you feel calm and welcome.
We hope you try these three ways to add mindfulness to your life and find what works for you! If you enjoyed this post, please share it with fellow educators, family, and friends!