When we started practicing mindfulness it was in response to a really challenging school year. We had to do something to keep us from going on stress leave!
When we began setting aside time to breathe every day, our calmer state of being naturally diffused to our students, even before we introduced a daily mindfulness practice to them!
Starting a mindfulness practice will only take a couple minutes of your personal time every day, and it will benefit you and all the members of your classroom.
In fact, you will actually gain time during your day because you will be better equipped to respond to students’ needs and you will be more productive during your school day.
If you don’t already have a mindfulness practice, here is how we encourage you to start:
Will it be first thing in the morning? Just before leaving for work? In your car before stepping into the school? Five minutes before the bell rings?
The moment you choose isn’t important, what is important, is that you create the habit of doing it each day at the same time.
When your life as an educator becomes more chaotic throughout the year, you will be so grateful for the habit you’ve already created that helps you get grounded even in times of stress.
You can do your mindfulness practice in many different ways, but if you are new to this idea, we suggest that you start by using a timer and setting it for five minutes.
Then, straighten your back and close your eyes. Focus all of your attention on your breath, the inhalation and the exhalation.
When you notice that your brain starts thinking of other things (Which it will! We call this puppy brain!), without judgement, refocus on your breath. This will not be easy in the beginning, but with time and patience, you will see that your concentration on the breath will improve.
If five minutes is too long for you, start with one or two minutes, whatever feels doable. Slowly, you will begin to feel the benefits of the practice and you’ll likely want to increase your time.
Take that calm feeling with you to school. Pick appropriate times in advance to take some deep breaths throughout your day. Make it a part of your daily routine, for example, just before or after transition times, at the beginning of your preparation periods or during recess. We like breathing mindfully before our students enter and right after they exit.
When we started our own five-minute mindfulness practice, we felt calmer and more in control during our workday. This energy was felt by our students and helped them to be calm and in control throughout their day as well.
Do you have any questions? If so, we want to hear them!
Now, we invite you to take a deep breath with us.
With calm and gratitude,