Here at Langley, we like to be busy! Busy learning. Busy teaching. And busy celebrating how far we’ve come since remote education became a necessity in this brave new world in which we live. During this time, we have had to develop new disciplines, including being on screens for a large proportion of the day. Whenever we practise new things, it can be hard to walk away and do anything else, but we do need to be aware of the moment our body is living in. To help, we caught up with our PSHE and Mindfulness Lead Ms Bianca Gama for some tips:
- 7:11 breathing (breathing in for seven seconds and out for eleven seconds, making your exhalation longer than your inhalation). This immediately aids gaseous exchange in your lungs, which ultimately has an effect on the levels of stress hormone coursing around your body.
- Trying a guided meditation on YouTube, for example using the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MISP), Headspace, Calm or Happify. You do not need to pay any money to get access to good guided meditations.
- Taking a very slow, deliberate walk down the hallway, around the garden or down the street, focusing only on the feeling of the ground under your feet.
- Sitting in the garden or indoors near a window and looking intently at things in the natural world, paying really close attention to every detail about each thing you look at (colours, textures, the way the light falls on it, movement, contrasts). You will find that by slowing down and completely focusing your attention on one thing, your heart rate slows, your breathing deepens and you are better able to filter out distracting thoughts.
‘Mindfulness is a period of time in your day when you feel you are truly conscious, alive to your thoughts and to your body in space.’ Bianca Gama
Bianca explains, ‘To be mindful is to draw one’s attention to the sensations of the moment; be it a still moment of meditation, a walk around the garden, ten minutes of clearing up, or a creative activity. It doesn’t involve emptying your mind; it is the active process of noticing what is going on in there. It is great but, like all skills, it does take practice!’
She herself has begun setting an alarm clock (rather than relying on a phone, which is another screen) to ring at a time when she knows she will need a break each day. When it goes off, no matter what she is doing, Bianca stops and takes five minutes for a mindful check-in.
Why not try some of these activities for yourself?