Life can be very stressful. Add the demands of a teaching career on top of other life stressors like maintaining a house and a social life, managing finances and maybe raising your own children, there’s a lot to handle. With all of this going on around you, it can make you feel a little flustered and overwhelmed. This is where mindfulness activities come in.
Mindfulness involves being present in the current moment and maintaining awareness of our thoughts, the feelings in our body and surrounding environment. Among a raft of other things, practicing mindfulness has been proven to reduce stress and helps us to focus.
As the lives of teachers get increasingly busy and stressful, it’s important to maintain mindfulness. However, sometimes it can be hard to know what to do to be more mindful. This is why we’ve put together this list of five mindfulness activities for teachers that may help you to slow down and unwind.
Breathing exercises are a great mindfulness activity to help reduce stress and increase calmness, bringing you back to the present moment. Practicing mindful breathing can be really simple and it’s a great skill to have as you can draw upon it in any stressful moment regardless of the time of day or where you are. There are many different breathing exercises you can complete for mindfulness; some of them can be found here.
Meditation is a classic mindfulness practice which helps to reduce stress and induce relaxation. During a meditation session, you will focus on breathing deeply, noticing sensations within and around your body and removing any stressful thoughts from your mind. Experts self-guide their own meditation, however, guided meditation is commonly used by those who need some more help staying on track. Smiling Mind offers free guided programs for those using meditation as part of their mindfulness routine.
This mindfulness activity comes recommended by the Teacher PD team. Yin yoga is a slower form of yoga which focuses on relaxation, releasing stress and calming the nervous system. You may imagine yin yoga requires you to be a ridiculously stretchy and flexible goddess but that is absolutely not the case! Because yin yoga is about relaxation, there is no pressure to push yourself into poses that are uncomfortable for you. There are plenty of yin yoga classes you can try on YouTube. The best part about these classes is they are free and can be completed in the comfort of your own home.
Journaling is another great mindfulness activity, allowing you to write away some of your stressful thoughts. It gives you the opportunity to write about your experiences and the thoughts and emotions associated with them. This allows you to become more aware of your feelings and reactions to certain events and can help to bring you clarity about how to handle similar occasions in the future. You could try journaling in a dedicated mindfulness journal or just write in a blank notebook.
Tai chi uses a series of gentle, flowing movements to reduce stress and promote mindfulness. The gentle nature of tai chi also makes it a great exercise for those who struggle with more intense workouts. Tai chi allows you to slow down, focus on your breathing and unwind. Just like yin yoga, YouTube has plenty of tai chi tutorials that can be played at home for free.
While mindfulness is beneficial for reducing stress and helping us to relax, it is mostly an individual journey. You may enjoy some of these mindfulness activities more than others and that’s okay! You will need to find what works for you; you’ll know it when you find it! We hope, though, this list has pointed you in the right direction and set you on the path to mindfulness.