I know what you are thinking. I don’t have time to be adding anything else into my daily routine.
Don’t worry, please read on because I am not going to add anything new into your routine, I promise.
What I am going to do is to give you ways of doing things you are already doing more mindfully.
You might be thinking, how is that going to make a difference. If I’m already doing all these things how is that going to change anything? Well, the difference is, how you do them. When you do every day activities more mindfully, you will feel more calm and you will glide through your day with fewer stresses and feeling happier.
Of course it does. Who doesn’t want to feel happier and calmer without finding any extra time in the day?
Let’s start with a morning routine for mindful teachers.
Your alarm goes off. Do you jump straight out of bed? Do you hit snooze? Do you set your alarm for the time you need to get up or for an earlier time so that you can hit snooze three times before you move? Be honest. Hitting snooze is the worst way to start your day. You feel more drowsy and less motivated. So set your alarm for the time you need to get up, and when your alarm goes off get up. I highly recommend taking a couple of minutes before you jump out of bed to have a good stretch and just think about how you are feeling and what you are going to do today. It’s that simple.
Taking a shower
Whether you shower in the morning or at night. Whether you shower every day or once a week, mindful showering is one of my favourite mindful activities. When you get in the shower really pay attention to how the water feels on your skin, how your hair feels as you wash it. Concentrate on all the sensations; the smells, the sensations, the temperature, the sounds of the water, really take it all in. It doesn’t take any longer than usual, you are just concentrating on what you are doing rather than planning your day or thinking about what’s for tea while you are showering.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We know that. It wakes up your body, feeds your body and gives you energy. I know that you may not always have time for a sit down breakfast, but make sure you eat something. Take time to have a hot drink and drink it mindfully. Why not try some hot chocolate breathing?
Getting to school
Most of us drive to school. This is a great time to be more mindful. Instead of ruminating on what you are going to get done that day, just concentrate on what you can see, what you can hear and what you are doing. I’m not talking about daydreaming, that is definitely not to be advised while driving, and of course we never meditate while driving, but we can drive mindfully. The other thing which is an amazing thing to do is to sing in the car. When we sing we have to regulate our breathing, so we are effectively using mindful breathing techniques. Singing in the car on the way to school will help you feel calm and contented when you arrive.
Throughout the school day
We can take moments to be a mindful teachers throughout the day. Time to just breathe and decompress. Whether it is just taking some deep breaths while you are using the photocopier. Rolling your shoulders forwards and backwards during assembly or just walking mindfully around the classroom occassionally. Taking time to listen to the sounds on the playground and walk mindfully while you are on playground duty. It may not be possible to do these things every day, but being aware that they are possible means you might be able to do them every so often. The thing with mindfulness is that every little thing you do will benefit you. Every small change to your behaviour or routine, will potentially have a huge effect on your wellbeing.
When you get home
Taking a few minutes when you get home, if you are able, to just re-acclimatise is so important. I know if you have small children or you get in just in time to start making dinner it might not be easy to do that. If you can though, just take five minutes to have a cuppa and put your feet up you will feel much calmer for your time with your loved ones. Maybe sit in the garden for a few minutes and just listen to the birds or the children playing in your street. Take the dog for a walk. Whatever suits you, try to take a few minutes before you get back into full on “home mode”.
The end of the day
This is arguably the most important time of day. How you spend your evening will determine how well you sleep and how you feel when you wake up. Make sure you stop working at least an hour before you go to bed (preferably two!). Don’t spend all evening on a screen. Spend time with your loved ones, if you live alone give a friend a ring or speak to your family. Try to find a small pocket of time to pamper yourself. Whether it is having a bath, reading a book, watching your latest boxed set or putting on a face mask do something just for you, which may only be for 15 minutes, but will feed your soul and make you feel like you matter, you are caring for yourself.
I hope you can see that it is possible to be a mindful teacher without adding extra tasks to your to do list. They don’t take hours. Yes there are lots of things you can do everyday if you have a bit more time to spend on your wellbeing, but the things I have just mentioned will either take no more time or only a few minutes. They will though, have a mastic impact on your mental state if you use them regularly. You don’t have to do all of them every day, but aim to do 1-3 things from this list every day and see how you feel. I guarantee that you will notice a huge difference after a couple of weeks.
Breathing techniques to help you stay calm