Here at Calm Classroom, we talk a lot about how mindfulness can help students. But mindfulness isn’t just for kids — its benefits for adults have been confirmed, too. That means that teachers can use mindfulness to reduce stress levels and feel better about themselves.
But we also understand that your schedule as a teacher is busy, especially during the school day. You might not have time to sneak away for a 30-minute guided meditation.
The good news is that mindfulness doesn’t have to take a lot of time. By incorporating these quick and easy exercises into your day, you can reap the benefits of mindfulness for yourself.
How mindfulness helps teachers
Mindfulness has the power to help everyone, kids and adults alike. But the practice may be even more powerful for teachers, who hold some of the most stressful professional roles out there. Teacher burnout is very real, and reports show that over half of teachers in America are considering leaving the profession.
Building a solid mindfulness practice can help teachers by:
- Increasing self-awareness
- Strengthening your relationships with your students
- Improving communication skills
- Decreasing stress and anxiety
- Improving focus and concentration
Over 80% of teachers who have participated in Calm Classroom’s school-based mindfulness program say that they, themselves, feel more physically relaxed, are more aware of their own thoughts and feelings, and experience less stress and anxiety.
3 quick mindfulness exercises for teachers
Mindfulness needs to be realistic to be effective. It’s better for you to commit to quick, 1-minute mindfulness activities sprinkled throughout your day than to make an unfulfillable promise to spend your entire lunch break every day practicing meditation.
But even the shortest of mindfulness exercises can work wonders. You can use these quick exercises in stressful moments during the school day, or simply when you find yourself with a few minutes to yourself.
This is a great mindfulness activity to do while you’re walking from one place to another — for example, from the teacher’s lounge to your classroom.
You might be used to rushing around when you’re walking on campus. But while you’re doing this activity, walk mindfully. If you can, slow down your steps. Feel the earth beneath your feet as you take one step, then the next. Feel how sturdy the ground is, and how it supports you.
You could even consider pairing each step to your breath. For example, you might breathe in for 3 steps, then breathe out for 4.
If you can’t slow down, that’s okay. The important thing is to pay attention to each step rather than getting lost in your thoughts. This walk down the hallway is a time you can take all to yourself.
The ringing of the bell can be a great invitation to practice mindfulness. Luckily, on campus, you can always depend on a bell — the school bell.
When the school bell rings, take just a few seconds to breathe in and out mindfully. Just 3 breaths are enough to bring your stress levels down and ground you in the present moment. Often, we are triggered into immediate action when we hear any bell ring. But try to remind yourself that you have enough time to breathe in and out 3 times before rushing.
You can invite your students to participate in this mindfulness activity with you as well. For example, when the lunch bell rings, take 3 breaths together as a class before rushing out of the classroom.
Lastly, doing nothing — mindfully — can be a great way to get grounded in the present moment. But there is a difference between doing nothing absent-mindedly and doing nothing in mindfulness.
There are probably moments during your day, perhaps when you’re on a break, that you “zone out.” That’s completely okay and understandable. But next time you catch yourself, try to bring a gentle awareness to your breath, or to the sounds you hear around you.
This shouldn’t be forceful or difficult. Just give yourself permission to simply be. Even if it’s just for 30 seconds, do nothing — and relish in how good that feels.
Calm Classroom’s program has been shown to help both students and teachers. If you or your students could benefit from a stress-reducing mindfulness program, we can help.