It’s the beginning of the school year. You have a new class full of students who you don’t yet know very well. They are just coming off two and a half months of being free from the structured routine of a school day. Or if you are a parent, you may have more than one new teacher you need to help your children become acquainted. They each may have a new set of classroom expectations and rules to learn. The first few weeks of the school year can be difficult on everyone, to say the least.
But as the teacher or parent, your students or children are looking to you for direction, which means you must stay calm and collected. Even when you’ve already answered the same question four times, or you find your child’s supply list Sunday evening at 7 pm.
It’s important that you continue to incorporate mindfulness and self-care into your daily routine. Research shows that mindfulness can help teachers (and parents!) reduce stress and feelings of burnout, enhance their abilities to concentrate and focus, and improve emotional health including patience and compassion.
Here are three ways you can incorporate mindfulness in your day:
Take a walk. Walking serves as an active form of meditation. During your walk, take deep breaths in and out of your nose. Keep your mind from wandering by focusing on your body’s movements and the environment around you. Try a walking meditation at the end of your school day, after the students have left (or if you’re a parent, before you pick up your kids from school or daycare).
Try a breathing exercise. You can do one on your own, or try one of our guided breathing videos, such as the Take 5 Breath 2. The videos leads you through a deep breathing exercise that you can easily do anywhere, such as at your desk or in your car.
Repeat a mantra or affirmation. If you are looking for something more involved than breath work, but less active than walking, try a mantra. Take a breath, and silently, or verbally, repeat an inspiring mantra to yourself. Don’t know where to start? Check out our ZENworks Yoga video, Finger Tapping Affirmation 2. It guides you through a finger tapping exercise while repeating the affirmation “I am strong, I am focused, I am confident, I am caring.”
ZENworks Yoga Online has these and other great videos to help you with your mindfulness practice. Subscriptions start at just $9 per month for an individual. Visit us at www.zenworksyoga.com.