Taking a mindful break throughout the day is so important. For many of us though, we often do not build in any time for ourselves. We simply just move from task to task and then wonder why we feel stressed and overwhelmed. At what point do we realize that self-care is not selfish, but necessary?
Building in time for a mindful break into your day is as important as making time to eat. It can also be as quick as 10 minutes! Giving yourself 10 minutes to do a quick mindfulness activity will overall decrease your stress and instead, increase feelings of happiness and purpose.
What is a Mindful Break
A mindful break is simply taking a break to reflect on the present mindful moment. Being mindful is acknowledging your emotions, without judgement or interpretation. In other words, a mindful break is a “brain break” that you take to refocus and recharge. If you build in a few moments throughout your day to be present, you will actually be much more productive. The reason for this, is because when you are overworked and overwhelmed your concentration and creative thinking is blocked. However, when you take a mindful break you are giving your brain time to recharge and the benefits are outstanding. If you need more convincing, check out the science behind taking a mindful break and I promise you that you will start allotting for your mindful breaks today!
4 Steps to Building in a Mindful Break
You are only 4 easy steps away from living a healthier, more mindful and less stressful life!
Step 1: Pick a time for a mindful break
Decide what part of your day is the best time to build in a mindful break. Maybe in the morning before your work day begins. For others it may be at the end of the day or simply during your lunch break.
Step 2: Choose a mindful activity
There are so many ways that you can choose to take a mindful break. Some examples of mindful activities include: yoga, meditations, reading, taking a walk outdoors or simply taking your lunch break outside. The key though for any of the activities that you choose is to be present and in the here and now. So, turn off your phone. Put aside that “to-do” list. I promise you that your phone and all of your “to-do’s” will still be there in 10 minutes. Check out my pin below with ideas to choose from for your mindful activity:
Short Mindful Breaks
Mindful breaks do not need to be long. Something I hear all the time, is that “I do not have any time for breaks.” The truth of the matter is, that we choose not to give ourselves a break. In a society that values the “go, go, go” mindset, we loose site of the benefits of self-care, until we are sick or unwell.
If we schedule in a few short breaks throughout our day, we will be healthier, happier and much more productive. Since mindful breaks can be as short as a few minutes, you can choose quick guided meditations to recharge and refuel. YouTube has tons of free videos to choose from including: 5 minute guided meditations, simple chair yoga stretches and 10 minute guided body scans. Another site that I love for guided meditations and body scans is Calm.com. You can choose from 3 minute to 30 minute mindful exercise’s. (I am not affiliated with Calm.com, just truly love this resource).
Mindful Break Chrome Extension
Chrome has designed a few extensions that you can download to help you take a mindful break. The mindful break chrome extension offers a new mindfulness tip each time it is opened. After you read the tip, this extension guides you through a short breathing exercise.
Chrome also designed the Calm Chrome Extension. Calm for Chrome helps you to stop mindless checking by guiding you with a prompt to breath before you aimlessly google. After complete a breathing exercise, you can then choose to go to the intended site or taking a healthier break through the website, calm.com. Both extensions are great resources to help you build in mindful breaks through the work day. For additional effective mindful breaks at work, check out Rachael Kable’s post here: rachaelkable.com/blog/effective-mindful-breaks-at-work.
Mindful Breathing for Kids and Adults
Another powerful, but simple form of mindfulness is mindful breathing. This can take as little as a few seconds or as long as you need. Mindful breathing helps you to feel grounded and more present, instead of worrying about the past or future.
If you incorporate mindful breathing into your daily routine, then it will become a habit. Once a habit is established, you will be more likely to use this skill when stressed or overwhelmed. Mindful breathing is a great exercise for both kids and adults. My favorite one is the 5,4,3,2,1 breathing exercise. It is quick, but very effective in grounding you and bringing you back to the present moment. You begin by getting in a comfortable position and then you focus on 5 things you can see. With each one take a deep breath in between. Then you notice 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell and finally 1 thing you can taste. Bringing your awareness to your senses, helps you to feel grounded and calmer.
Another great breathing exercise is what I like to refer to as 5, 5, 5. You simply take a deep breath in for 5 seconds, then hold your breath for 5 seconds and then exhale deeply for another 5 seconds. You repeat this 5x.
Step 3: Be present
Focus your attention solely on the mindful activity that you choose. Let yourself enjoy 10 minutes of un-interrupted time to unwind and destress.
Step 4: Create a daily routine
Make this a routine. Build in time regularly into your schedule for a mindful break. Once this becomes part of your routine, it will then become a habit. By creating a positive habit, your body will automatically know what to do the next time you are stressed or overwhelmed.