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Welcome to Mindful Mondays
A place to explore ways to relax and reduce stress

Mindful Monday Week of June 7th

Well Panthers, it is finally here: the last week of school and our final Mindful Monday Post for the year. We know that this has been an unusual and, often, stressful year. We hope that you will take some of the ideas and techniques we’ve shared throughout the year and apply them to the summer months: breathing and relaxation, exercise, helping and showing kindness to others, positive affirmations, taking a break from technology, etc... 

Below is an article from the Train Your Focus website on mindfulness during your vacation.

Regardless of where or how you spend your time off, we hope you have a wonderful summer break. Congratulations to the class of 2021 and we look forward to seeing the rest of you in August!

How to Be More Mindful During Your Summer Vacation

Summer vacation is a perfect time to practice mindfulness. It is the period that most of us take a break from the daily routine and unwind. Time is created for other things than work. We are more open to new experiences. Why not combine this with practicing being mindful? In this blog I will give you five practical tips to get you started.

Do you remember exactly what you had for dinner yesterday? What did it taste like? Remember the long drive you had in your car yesterday? Do you remember the landscape you passed through in any detail? No? You were probably on autopilot. You were not mindful.

Autopilot

Autopilot can be very useful. It is a survival mechanism that helps us to automate simple tasks so we are able to focus on things that need our direct attention. It helps us to get the job done. But when we forget to switch it off we have the risk that most of our life will be lived on that comfortable autopilot. Someday you will wonder ‘where did the time go?’ and regret it. Summer vacation is a perfect time to switch that autopilot off.

Five tips on how to be more mindful during your summer vacation:

1. Be aware of your autopilot

Recognize when you are on autopilot. Then realize you have the power to switch it off at any time. Practice switching it off and living in the moment. When it happens again: repeat. It will get easier the more you do it.

2. Breathe

Practice breathing mindfully a few times a day. You can do that anytime: when you are in the car traveling or when you are walking somewhere. For a minute: breathe deeply and visualize your breath coming in and going out.

3. Meditate

Make a habit of meditation. Find a quiet place once everyday to close your eyes and meditate for a short while. Clear your thoughts and make room for the ‘now’.

4. Use all your senses

Look, listen, taste, smell and touch mindfully. Not all the time and not all at once. But alternate between the senses. Taste the great food, listen to the summer sounds, smell the fresh air, watch the beautiful sights and touch the sand on the beach with your hands.

5. Look back

When you get into bed at night just play the video of the day in your head. What did you do? Where did you go? What did you experience? And how much do you remember the little things? The more details; the more you did things mindful.

Try mindfulness during your summer vacation. What do you have to lose? Chances are you will enjoy your vacation even more. It is also a great way to switch off the autopilot and loosen up. Maybe you are even able to maintain the new habit and stay more mindful when your vacation is over?

 


Mindful Monday Week of May 24th

With final exams and projects on the horizon, today’s Mindful Monday video from Kahn Academy is a guided meditation to help you prepare:

Guided Meditation to Help with Test Anxiety

 

Mindful Monday Week of May 17th

This Mindful Monday, we’d love for our students and staff to check out the Mindful Schools website. Watch the video on the main page to see what students at one high school think about practicing Mindfulness in the classroom. 

 https://www.mindfulschools.org/video/what-is-mindfulness-2-2/

There are several more good videos on this site that you can check out when you have time: 

 https://www.mindfulschools.org/category/video/

Finally, check out their resource link to see what the Research on Mindfulness shows. 

  https://www.mindfulschools.org/about-mindfulness/research-on-mindfulness/

 


February 1st - Train of Thoughts

Research shows us that anxious thoughts are often blown out of proportion, skewed, or just plain wrong. Nonetheless, thoughts have power. Why? Because thoughts influence feelings and behaviors. A simple thought passing through your mind can cause you to become distracted from the things you or working on or to make you feel worried or put you in a negative frame of mind. The good news is that we can train ourselves to take the power back. We can learn to pick and choose what thoughts we listen or react to.

Try to think of your thoughts like trains that come and go through a busy station; you can simply stand on platform and watch the trains go by. When the train (thought) arrives, sometimes it just passes by and sometimes it stops for a while. When the train (thought) hangs out at the station for a while or remains in our mind, and we may start to feel different emotions. It’s OK to feel things; that’s no problem. This is a good time to breathe in deeply and breathe out (use the breathing method from last weeks video :). Focus on the breath and not the train, because soon it is going to pass by. Watch as the train leaves and recognize that you have stayed behind.

Here is a short video which illustrates the Train of Thought idea:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0SWMICwtm0

 

Week #3

The focus for this weeks Mindful Monday is stress relief through movement. Do you know that just getting up from your computer on a regular basis and moving your body is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to relieve stress? Stretching, going for a walk, dancing around your room...these are all good ways to shake off some of the stress of distance learning and reset your brain so that you are able to get back to work. 

Yoga can help reduce stress because it promotes relaxation, which is the natural opposite of stress. Yoga can benefit three aspects of ourselves that are often affected by stress: our body, mind, and breathing. There are a lot of good, beginner yoga workouts on the internet. here are a few for you to try. 

 


 

 Week #2

This week we're going to practice Mindful coloring, which is similar to coloring like when you were a little kid! 

Mindful coloring is just expressing our feelings and emotions through the use of color, sometimes without even realizing that our color choices depend on our current mood.  It's a great way to relax, reduce anxiety, and take a mental break.

 If you have a printer there are plenty of website that offer free coloring pages you can print and color.  This site has several Mindful coloring pages you can print, in addition to other Mindful resources:  https://sites.google.com/a/k12.somerville.ma.us/kennedymindfulness/mindful-coloring

 If you don't have a printer, or simply aren't a fan of coloring on paper, there are online coloring pages you can access.  Check this site out for a sample:  https://coloringbook.pics/antistress-colorings/677/mandala/#vyfarbit

 There are also several apps you can download so you can color on your phone! 

 


Week #1

Are you feeling stressed about the week ahead?  Or do you feel like there's a hundred things going through your mind and you can't focus?  If this is you, then you can benefit from some mindfulness!  

Watch this video for a quick 5 minute relaxation sesh to help you de-stress and re-focus.

Too busy to take 5 minutes out of your day?  Setting aside 5 minutes now can help you save time and energy later by allowing you to clear your mind and come-up with a more effective game plan!  Or, save this video and watch when you have a quick 5 mintues!