WEDNESDAY – TAKE NOTICE
Take notice for mental wellbeing
Being aware of our surroundings, emotions and feelings is very important. Awareness allows us to be able to take control of how we respond to different situations we will face in life.
As we come to the end of this unusual academic year, reflect on your achievements and memories. How about creating your own scrapbook or PowerPoint of the school year that will make history for years to come?! This will be something you may wish to keep and look over as an adult.
Alternatively, go for a walk in the sunshine and take in the sights and sounds around you. Think about what you would have been doing right now if Coronavirus wasn’t around.
How does this make you feel?
What has lockdown taught you?
Here is a number of mindful colouring designs for you to choose from. Try to set aside 15 minutes to practice mindful colouring and choose a time and a place where you won’t be interrupted. Choose your colours and begin colouring wherever you like on the page.
As you colour, pay attention to your breathing. You will probably find that your breathing becomes slower and deeper without you consciously trying to relax. By paying attention to the design, your colours, and the process of colouring, you are fully mindful and will naturally feel more relaxed.
This week create a ‘Positivity box’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fguMaaWsGO0). Spend some time decorating the box with your favourite items or colours. In your positivity box you can keep your favourite memories, achievements and encouraging quotes. You may use a paper bag, a clean jar or a tissue box for this. Take some time to think about what messages you would like to put in your positivity box, write them on some paper and place them inside.
Set some time aside to look closely at what’s inside your positivity box whenever you need to feel a little better.
This week we are going to focus on ‘listening’. This may sound simple, but how many times do we really listen? Sometimes we may find it hard to listen properly because our minds are full of so many thoughts all competing for attention at the same time.
Mind in a jar is a short clip that offers a moment of calm whilst simply explaining how our thoughts can affect us. Listen for the bell and breathe 😊
Hearing a sound such as a bell or chime during mindfulness can help us to focus our attention, but you don’t always need this. Try the listening exercise below:
- Take a slow deep breath in, then a slow deep breath out.
- Close your eyes, and listen carefully to what you can hear.
- Try to identify five sounds you notice in the room.
- Draw five circles.
- Fill in the circles with pictures or words describing the sounds you identified.
Taking a moment to be calm and relaxed during a busy day can help us to feel settled and happy. If we are worried, frightened or sad, taking slow and gentle breaths can help us to feel better. Using your imagination, follow this ‘mindfulness balloons’ exercise:
- Imagine you are blowing up a balloon – take a gentle, deep breath in and slowly breathe out to fill up your imaginary balloon. Tie a knot in the end and tie a string to it. As you hold on to the balloon, watch it fly high in the sky. As it gently blows in the warm breeze, just watch it. As you watch it, think of something that makes you happy.
- Blow up more balloons and think of more things that make you happy. Thinking of things that make us happy can help us to have a positive day.
- Draw five balloons. On the balloons, draw or write the things you thought about that make you happy.
Continue to enjoy the beautiful weather by going on a safari! There are some wonderful places in our local communities to explore. Some examples are Castle Eden Dene and Seaham beach. Be mindful and pay attention to everything around you including the bugs, the birds and the flowers. Please note: remember to follow social distancing guidelines.
Going on a Safari:
- Go outside on an exciting adventure, try picking up a small rock or touching a plant or flower.
- Notice the bugs or the birds. Take a moment to kneel down and touch the earth.
- Walk mindfully paying close attention to everything. Make sure you walk in silence because you want to notice all those little details.
It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us and to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling. We can be so caught up in our thoughts that we don’t notice how these thoughts are having an impact on our emotions and behaviour. Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of where we are and what we’re doing as well as being aware of our thoughts and feelings.
Take a look at the illustration below and decide which thought bubble is most suited to you. Are you mind full or mindful? If you would like to try some meditation to help you to be more mindful then follow the link how to meditate for beginners.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed or just need a moment of calm, read this information for how to take ‘a mindful snack’.
- S: STOP – Just stop whatever you’re doing (Stopping, by definition, requires us to begin again. We can always begin again).
- N: NOTICE – What is happening within and around you?
- A: ACCEPT – This is a tricky one. Whatever it is you’re struggling with (time, kids, sleepiness, frustration) acknowledge it for what it is, without judgement.
- C: CURIOUS – Ground yourself with questions about your experience and environment: What am I feeling? What do I need right now?
- K: KINDNESS – Respond to yourself and others (mistakes and all) with kindness and observe how that helps things get back on track.
SNACK ideas taken from Carla Naumburg, PhD (carlanaumburg.com)
As you are currently enjoying the school holidays and the weather is improving, you could use your exercise time by connecting with nature and going on a walk or a cycle ride with your family members. Join in with family members, identifying 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Note: If you’re cycling please pause for a break before trying this mindfulness exercise.
For those who are staying indoors, you can enjoy a spot the difference or a colouring activity based around road sense and staying safe when you’re out walking or cycling. Click here for the link.
As previously mentioned, this week we are focusing on our own emotions to recognise how we feel during different situations. We can have emotional feelings and physical feelings and these are often connected to one another, for example if we are feeling angry we might start to shake or become red faced. By recognising our emotions, we can then start thinking about how our behaviour is affected and how we react. Acknowledging how we feel allows us to manage our emotional reactions, making it easier to take control and make better choices.
Today we are thinking about ‘what makes us happy’ and ‘respect’.
Things to do
- Paint, draw or make the sun. Fill the sun with things that make you happy!
- Respect: let people know what they can do to help respect your space. Write a list of your rules, decorate a sign and hang it on your bedroom door.
- Think about how you are feeling after these activities. Is it different to when you first started thinking about your emotions?
Feeling calm and settled will aid us in becoming more aware. A great activity is to create a very simple glitter jar. Once made, shake the jar and watch the glitter settle. The glitter represents our mind settling, maybe after feeling emotional or angry and can help us to become calm and more relaxed:
MINDFUL EATING BLOG
It is also important to slow down and thunk about tastes and textures whilst we are eating. This is known as ‘mindful eating’. Why not write a blog about the food you’re eating? You could publish this online using WordPress, Instagram or another online blogging platform. Alternatively, you could keep it for yourself:
- When you’re eating, slow the process right down and try to activate all your senses. Look carefully at your food before you eat it.
- What does it look like? Bring it closer so you can smell it. What does it smell like?
- As you place it in your mouth, be aware of the texture of the food and how it feels.
- What does it taste like? Does the taste come in successive waves or all at once? Can you recognise the individual ingredients?
- Can you link it to another sensation that you have experienced or can imagine? Where in the world does the food take you? What music do you connect it to?
- There are no limits to your description in your blog.