Taking regular, mindful breaks throughout the day helps to not only improve your concentration and overall productivity, but importantly it helps to re-energize your mind.
We’ve rounded up our top 20 favorite ways to take a mindful break…
Whether it’s skipping, or bouncing on a trampoline, the liberating sense of levity you experience when you jump is instant.
It’s why the famous photographer Philippe Halsman liked to capture his subjects, from Marilyn Munroe to Richard Nixon, in the act of temporary gravitational defiance.
Witness a mini wonder.
These are everywhere when you start to look. It could be a spider spinning a web, ants carrying fragments of leaves to their nest, a toddler’s faltering progress across a room, or the transformation of the sky at dusk.
Go for a run.
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 afterwards.
Put on your favorite track and dance! For the next 3 or so minutes, dance like no-one is watching. Connect with your body as it tunes into the natural rhythm of the music. Take a moment and notice how you feel.
Switch on BBB Radio 3.
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 and operation reduced anxiety and pain levels in patients.
Try this restorative yoga pose.
If you’ve been hunched over a computer all day, 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.
Let out a sigh.
An emphatic ‘Aaaaaaah’ or ‘Ommmmmm’ will combat the restricted feeling that sometimes settles in your chest at the end of a stressful day, and the vibration and deep breath will energize you.
Sit somewhere natural.
Sit in a natural setting, like a park or garden, and do nothing. Tune into one of your senses and try to focus all your attention on noticing every small detail. It’s an exercise in mindfulness.
Grab hold of a sturdy tree branch, or use a chair to help you grasp hold of your banisters as you stand beneath them. Lift your feet off the ground and feel your upper and lower back stretch out as your feet are relieved of the weight of your body.
Watch the stars.
Whether you’re blanketed on a balcony with a mug of hot tea, flat on your back on a picnic rug in your garden, or peeking out of your bedroom window when you can’t sleep, looking up to the heavens is instant soul food.
Take a nap.
Our bodies’ energy levels ebb and flow throughout the day and research shows that siestas make good physiological sense. So if you have the opportunity for a snooze, take it.
Watch some water.
Whether it’s the rhythmic rippling of the sea, the mellow weedy green of a slow-moving river, or the enchanting sound of a babbling stream, watching water is inherently calming. Research shows that the sound of the sea can change our brainwaves too, in the same way that sleep and meditation do.
Look at a painting.
Take a few moments to fully immerse yourself in a work of art. Allow yourself to be mesmerized by the all the intricate details and
Make a daisy chain.
Thread the stem of one flower through the slit in the stem of another flower until the bloom is against the slit. Continue adding flowers until you achieve the length you want. Finish the loop of daisies by making a second slit in the stem of the first flower and slipping the stem of the last flower through it.
Try a DIY massage.
Take a tennis ball, lie on your back and roll the ball between your body and the floor. When you feel any tender spots, press your muscles down into the ball and exhale, moving in a small, circular motion to dispel tension.
Deadhead a plant.
Deadheading is very simple. As plants fade out of bloom, pinch or cut off the flower stem below the spent flower and just above the first set of full, healthy leaves. Repeat with all the dead flowers on the plant. Sometimes it may be easier to deadhead plants by shearing them back entirely.
Draw a leaf.
You can draw any kind of leaf, but this red maple leaf is a fun one to try.
Use a pencil and start by drawing a triangle with a curved base. Then, on top of the triangle, draw zigzag lies that will look like a crown.
Repeat step 2 on the left and right side of the triangle. Then, draw a “U” shape at the bottom of of the triangle.
Finish your drawing and erase unnecessary lines, the color your drawing.
Examine an everyday object.
Ideally, it should be something you take for granted and have never really looked at before. It could be a mug or an old garden tool. Explore it, focusing on its shape, feel, weight, imperfections, quirks and most minute characteristics.
Try this warm-up to get started: sing in your middle range, then low range, then high range, and back to middle. Don’t not stress your voice if you’re frustrated and cannot hit a note, just focus on being present and enjoying the moment being connected to your mind and breath.
Plant up a simple crop.
Preparing and planting a huge tub with salad greens will only take you ten minutes but is surprisingly satisfying. They will sprout with gratifying speed and deliver delicious, super-healthy salads for month to come.
Do you have any others you’d add to the list? Share them in the comments!