Mindfulness is comprised of many things and is primarily used to reduce stress, depression and anxiety. On this page there will be many tools for everyone to use and access as they would like! Keeping yourself relaxed and focused is key during these strange times and there are many ways Mindfulness can help you with that.
Try out some of the (regularly updated) ideas below!
At school we have daily breathing exercises to help us prepare for learning and relax after lunch. Here are some ideas for ones that you can use yourselves below, or of course, use one of the ones you've already learnt!
The key things you need to do are: have your back straight and your head tilted slightly up to keep your airways clear and strong, breathe naturally- not in any special way, focusing on timing, rhythm and the feelings in your body, clearing your mind.
Enjoy this gentle, quick method for relaxing yourself, here are some quick ideas:
1. Square Breath
Breathe in to a count of four, and hold the breath for a count of four. Then breathe out to a count of four, and wait for a count of four before breathing again. You’ll have to play with this a bit to find your perfect rhythm. Draw a square in the air while you breathe, to help you stay on track.
2. Sphere Breath
Put your fingertips together and form a sphere with your two hands. As you inhale, inflate the sphere. As you exhale, flatten your hands together. Imagine your belly filling with air as your hands expand to form a sphere.You might have heard of this as "blowing up a balloon" before- it works in the same way!
3. Darth Vader Breath
You should get this one pretty quick! Breathe in deeply through your nose. Keeping your mouth closed, exhale while you make a “Darth Vader”–type noise in the back of your throat. If you are not a huge Star Wars fan, this is also called “Ocean Breath”, think of it as the sound of the seas waves crashing.
4. Shoulder Roll Breath
Take a deep breath in through your nose and roll your shoulders up to your ears as you inhale. Breathe out through your mouth and roll your shoulders down as you exhale. Repeat slowly in a continuous movement of shoulder rolls, timed with the breath. This is a great stretch out on top of breathing and lung training!
5. Mountain Breath
This breath can be done sitting or standing. As you inhale through your nose, raise your arms as high as you can and bring your palms together high over the top of your head. Imagine you are as tall as a mountain. As you exhale through your mouth, bring your palms together in front of your chest.
Breathing Exercise Print out cards
Clear your mind of anything and everything and focus on the present, your breathing, your feelings. Close your eyes and clear all images from the dark. Start with 3 minutes chasing away thoughts and then increase the time as you improve the clarity of your mind. This is best done in a quiet, safe space, sitting down, although you may need some music or an image (of a flame or a certain point) to focus on at the start. Try to empty your mind of everything else.
This takes practice but is a very effective way of dismantling your worries and fears.
Use these videos about breathing if you need some help getting started:
By now we all know what Growth Mindset is but it is so important to maintain throughout daily life- not just in school, there's a lot of other things to learn too!
As we are learning and trying so many new things, don't forget the power of Yet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLeUvZvuvAs
Reflection is a useful tool for self-development. Think about what you have done today, what went well, what went wrong, how you can change, improve and grow. Remind yourself of the positives and focus on them, use them to inform what you do next and try again!
Grounding during times of high anxiety and panic
Make your own playdough to use, squeeze and de-stress- you can even add your favourite smells! This works as both a tool to relax, de-stress, distract and create! You can make things or just squeeze and tear until you feel more relaxed. This is also a great way to strengthen your hands and keep them warm- using keyboards or holding pens and pencils for a long time can leave your hands feeling achey, so stretch them out by stretching and playing with your own special playdough!
There are so many different recipes for these online, find one that suits you and adapt it! It keeps best in clingfilm in the fridge, if it becomes sticky, add oil, dry, add water.
I recently made some Gingerbread themed playdough for Reception class who loved using it and even happily squished it back into a ball when they were done creating. I used: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/playdough-recipe and did 3 times the amount!
I would recommend strong spices and smells, especially relaxing ones such as ginger, coffee or even lavender...
These colouring sheets are for you to focus on completely. Consider the colours you are using, the flow, movement and force of the pen/pencil you use, let yourself be taken away by this and refrain from thinking of other things.
This is a useful technique to centre yourself whilst keeping your hands busy and being creative. Think about the colours you've used and the pictures you have chosen- what mood has it created?
There are plenty of sheets here for you to choose from, you can fill them in using computer programs or print them yourself: