These days we know so much more than we ever have before, about how stress affects us. And we have different ways of handling it: from exercise and activities (pottery, singing in a choir, baking) to meditation and various exercises in mindfulness.
We will give you some simple examples here. These are ways to start guiding our mind and body, to let us keep the calm when returning to work.
One wonderful way of reconnecting with yourself is to scan your body, perhaps using the Body Scan (available in the Sleep Smart and in The Mindfulness App). While centering the breath inside the body and listening to the instructions of the gentle voice, find your focus and try to let it sink deep within you to make a lasting impression.
To get started with a meditation practice it is advisable to start it short and simple. Perhaps 5 minutes and building it up to 10 minutes in a few weeks. Choose a time, perhaps three or four times a week that suits you. This can be in your home, but it can also be on the train or bus to and from work.
Sit in a comfortable position. Now take your focus to the breath, you can do this by feeling the inhalation and exhalation in your nostrils, the sensation of air as it enters and exits your nose. Or you can let your focus observe your chest as it lifts while inhaling and sinks while exhaling.
The focus point is here to assist you when your mind wanders, when you notice you have followed a thought and are now having a ”conversation” in your head, gently guide your mind back to the breath.
While focusing on the breath, whether you connect with it through your chest lifting with each inhale and sinking with the exhale, or the sensation of the air entering and exiting your nostrils, is up to you. Just find something that provides you a point of focus to which you can return your thoughts.
Because your thoughts will stray, the exercise is to gently guide the focus back to the breath. All that happens during your seated minutes of focus is okay, it is an exercise and it is not the finished product that counts.
Some other great points of taking back time that seems lost is to switch off the cell phone sometimes, or at least put it away or putting it in silent mode. Refrain from checking the internet a thousand times during the evening, instead spend that time meeting up with someone for a quick coffee or tea or talk to your partner and children. That is what we do during holidays, we spend time with family and friends (maybe making new friends) and we are more here and now – which is in fact one of the best exercises in being mindful there is.