In the always on world we live in, it’s easy to put work or others before yourself and burnout – but you’re actually not doing yourself any favours. Taking regular, mini-mindful breaks throughout the day can really help energise you, improve concentration and productivity as well as making you feel more calm.
The STOP acronym is an effective healthy habit to practice daily and one of the most popular mini-mindfulness practices. It’s super simple:
S – Stop
T – Take a breath
O – Observe what’s going on
P – Proceed
This can be done any time during the day and can literally be 30 second or a couple of minutes. You become aware of what’s going on around you or inside of you, you ground yourself with some conscious breaths, and then you proceed with more clarity and from a place of choice. You can pick a theme for each STOP, stop and observe a beautiful object, or stop and think what you’re feeling grateful for that day. Although this all might seem obvious, it helps to think of it in a simple 4 step process and the acronym STOP, helps you remember to actually do it!
While being aware of your mental state and focusing inwards in important, it’s also important to remember that doing something physical or focussing on something external are great ways of achieving the same result. We’ve put together the Vitally Team’s top 5 mini-mindfulness suggestions for some inspiration:
Try a DIY massage
Lie on your back and roll a tennis ball between your body and the floor, massaging between your shoulder blades. When you feel any tender spots, press your muscles down into the ball and exhale, moving in a small, circular motion to dispel tension.
Whether it’s skipping or bouncing on a trampoline, the liberating sense of weightlessness you experience when you jump is instant and studies show it releases endorphins, which help calm you and relieve stress.
Go for a run
While working out with your partner is great, alone time while exercising is an effective mindfulness ritual. Moving your body makes you feel good! The release of endorphins feels exhilarating as you move. If you’re not a frequent runner, try starting out with running for 10 minutes and notice how you feel afterward.
Listen to some classical music
Classical music has a calming effect on the body and mind. It lowers blood pressure and decreases levels of cortisol in the blood. In studies, listening to calming music before and after an operation reduced anxiety and pain levels in patients. If you’re not into classical tunes, here’s a couple of suggestions to get you started:
1. Romeo & Juliet by Craig Armstrong
2. Berlin Song by Einaudi
3. Clair de lune by Claude Debussy
Try a restorative yoga pose
We all know the benefits of yoga, but a mini-mindful yoga break, just doing 1 pose can really help break up your day and find some chill – you can even secretly do this at work! If you’ve been hunched over a computer, try this supine surrender. Rest your legs up against a wall, with your sitting bones touching the bottom of the wall and your feet in the air. Breathe deeply and relax.
And lastly, remember to approach all this with a sense of fun. It’s easy to take it all too seriously. It’s easy to start feeling like it’s just another ‘job’ on the to do list, but if you can make it a fun time, that’s also a helpful reprieve from stress and the day-to-day grind, then you’ll find it easier to get started!