Many times when we talk about mindfulness or self-care, people think of this as another obligation or chore that they have to add to their already busy lives. This does not have to be the case! Mindfulness is an awareness and a way of being that can be incorporated into your life and schedule right now. With all the uncertainty and transitions that teachers have faced during the Covid-19 pandemic, mindfulness practices can be a great way to mitigate this stress. Check out these three easy mindfulness tips that Dr. Elizabeth Joy Erwin, author of The Power of Presence: A Guide to Mindfulness Practices in Early Childhood, shares for teachers to rejuvenate their bodies and minds.
Don’t Forget to Play!
Tip number one—let's all be more playful! Children naturally know how to play and do it with ease, and there's such presence and joy in the moment. You know, it was not too long ago that I was in central park—I live in New York City—and a friend and I were going by the world famous carousel. We just had to go on, and we weren't with children. I have to say, we were not the only adults who did not have children.
Adults just need to be playful, and just often take on that opportunity. So that's what we did. We hopped on the carousel and it was super fun! If you are not sure how to play or what to do, or what's playful to you, just think about what you did as a child, and what you absolutely love, love, love to do, and how you spend your time. So that's tip number one.
Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
Tip number two—let's manage our energy, not necessarily manage our time. The reason for that is because when we're tuned into how we're feeling, we sense when we need a break or need a rest or need to replenish with water or even a hug. So let's manage our energy, not necessarily our time. Just notice if you're using words like “exhausted”, or “depleted”, or “so wiped out.” You don't want to empty the gas tank and have it beyond empty. It's much harder to refuel that way. So just kind of notice throughout the day, and let's manage our energy, not our time.
Reconnect to Natural Beauty
Tip number three— let's reconnect to the natural beauty that is all around us. That means just being immersed in nature. I offer this to you with a suggestion which is not to bring a dog or a friend or any music. If you have to bring your phone, put it on silent.
And just be surrounded by this exquisite beautiful bounty that we have in nature. It could be listening, smelling, watching, sitting by a stream, or just going on a silent kind of meditative walk. Whatever it is—again, I'm in New York city—I can always find nature even within a city environment.
So those are three tips! I hope that you'll be more playful, that you will manage your energy—not so much your time—and also that you’ll reconnect to natural beauty. That's all for now. Take care!