Staying mindful during lockdown

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How university prepared me for lockdown

Everybody’s experience of lockdown is different, but the way you perceive this time changes the way you use it.

Last semester I took part in a mindfulness course with the School of Geosciences. A 10-week programme designed to help us deal with stress and conquer our demons. But it did so much more than that. Now I have this opportunity to reflect, it is even more important to be mindful.

So what does this mean? Being mindful?

Essentially, mindfulness is about stopping and focusing on your body. Using breathing techniques amongst other things which forces you to focus on you in the present moment and not thoughts which may be bothering you.

Girl picking flowers

It sounds really simple but it works!

How can I be mindful?

The main technique we were taught is a FOFBOC – feet on floor, back on chair – close your eyes and breathe. You could even follow this up with a 7/11, which is counting your breaths (in for 7 out for 11, but you just make the numbers fit the breath don’t actually try to breathe out for 11..!)

Just stepping aside for 15 minutes without your phone, focusing on your body and calming down your breathing will help you to be more at peace.

Why would I be mindful?

By focusing on your body and breathing, you take the energy away from the negative thoughts which may come into your brain. If you find yourself thinking about these negative thoughts take your consciousness back into your body – how are you feeling? Count your breaths? Do a body scan from head to toe really trying to feel each body part and focus on you.Man running through Richmond Park

The benefits are endless – it can help you regain focus and positivity during the day. Or before bed can help you fall asleep.

How else can I be mindful?

Other ways in which we were taught to be mindful is through eating. When you are eating a snack – take it all in! How does it taste? How does it feel on your tongue? Is it spicy? Is it crunchy? Spending 10 minutes doing this makes you appreciate what you’re eating much more – rather than just consuming whole bags of crisps (which I know I’m definitely guilty of….)

Likewise you can be mindful on your daily walk – what can you notice that you don’t usually notice? Are there any sounds? How does your foot feel against the ground? If you change your walking pace does the sensation change? Does your shoe make a funny sound? Etc

A small bird in garden

Often we are so preoccupied with ourselves we neglect to take in the world around us.

My personal takeaway from this experience has helped me so much with lockdown so I thought I’d share. It helps us to stop and just be. To appreciate the moment, and be aware of whats on our mind but not invest so much energy into it. Instead focus on your body, your breathing, and being mindful!