Taking a Break is Important Too!
Taking a Break is Important Too!
As you’ve learned, it’s important to wash your hands and keep your distance from other people to help stop the COVID-19 pandemic. These are important steps to keep you and your family and friends safe and healthy.
It’s easy to forget that it’s also just as important to stay mentally healthy too! Sometimes it’s important to take a break to reset your body and mind. This can be done with a mindfulness exercise, which relaxes the body and clears the mind.
When is a Good Time to Take a Mindfulness Break?
It’s natural to feel stressed, tired, bored, or worried during a pandemic. That’s why you should remember to check-in with how you feel. Ask yourself: How are you feeling right now? If you feel sad, bored, tired, stressed, or worried, it might be a good time to take a mindfulness break.
Any time of day can be a good time to have a mindfulness break. For example, a good time could be after lunch when you’re in the middle of your day. Whether bored, worried, or have too many things to think about, a mindfulness break in the middle of the day can really make you feel more relaxed and mentally calm. Some people even like to take breaks several times a day. It’s completely up to you!
Where to Take a Mindfulness Break
Try to find a quiet place where you can sit at a table or a desk. Try to have nothing on the table that will distract you. If you can, put aside laptops, phones, food, or other distracting things. If there are other people around, you could ask if they want to join in this exercise with you. Otherwise, try to find the quietest spot you can find.
Try to sit in an upright position if you can. This will help you stay awake throughout the activity, and help you concentrate on your breathing
Set a Timer - Start With 5 Minutes. Over Time Eventually Work Up To 15 Minutes
Use your phone or other alarm system to set a timer. Until you get used to taking a mindfulness break, set the timer for 5 minutes. As you get more used to doing the mindfulness exercise you can increase the number of minutes to set the timer. Eventually you may work up to 15 minutes which is the maximum time needed. Once you are ready to start the mindfulness exercise, having a timer helps you to concentrate fully and not get distracted by wondering how much time has passed.
Listen to the Mindful Instructions
Once you are settled, make sure your head in a comfortable position and supported. It usually takes a few minutes to settle in this position so that your head and body feel comfortable and you can concentrate on being very still. When you are relaxed and comfortable press PLAY to start the recording.
Close your eyes so you can concentrate on listening. If your eyes are open this will not work nearly as well. Follow the instructions in the audio recording.
If you can’t play the audio recording, you can still do the mindfulness exercise on your own by following the steps below.
- Concentrate on making all parts of your body completely relaxed and still.
- Make sure that your head is not moving, nor your shoulders, nor your arms and fingers.
- Think about relaxing your tummy, your legs, and finally your feet.
- After a few minutes your body should feel much more relaxed and you should be able to stay still without moving—as long as there are no interruptions.
You want your mind to become as empty as possible. Concentrate on your breathing. If you can, breathe through your nose and out through your mouth. You may notice the air is cooler breathing in than when you breathe out. As thoughts come into your head let them go and instead think about your breathing. Take deeper breaths and hold the air in for a few seconds before slowly exhaling (breathing out) all the way.
You need to stay in this position and keep breathing until the timer goes off. If you find it really hard to last 15 minutes, keep trying it every day. It is normal for it to be hard at first, but with a little repetition it will become easier and easier!
You can also use these breathing techniques to help calm you down during moments of stress, fear, sadness, anger, and other emotions. You don’t even need to put aside mindful time for that! Just breathe slowly through your nose and out of your mouth, and focus on your breathing.
Next, Try Relaxing for 15-20 Minutes
After taking a mindfulness break, try finding an activity that is relaxing for you. This could be reading from a book or a graphic novel that you really enjoy, listening to a podcast, listening to relaxing music, or maybe doing a puzzle. Do this activity for 15-20 minutes.
Avoid anything that might make you upset, sad, or worried. For a relaxing read try to stay away from news and magazines.
Once you’ve completed your relaxing activity for 15-20 minutes, you’ve completed your break! Try to repeat the steps whenever you feel like you need a break. It’s a great way to reduce anxiety, boredom, stress, sadness, and keep your mind healthy.
If you’d like to try more activities to reduce your anxiety (or read more tips), try going to anxietycanada.com! They have a lot of activities for kids, youth, and even adults.