Do you have 5 minutes to spare, for YOU?
Pause & reflect. Find energy in balanced well-being.
Looking at my Lululemon shopping bag, I’m reminded multiple times to take a pause for a meditation and deep breath break…
“Meditate for 10 minutes every day. Unless you’re busy. Then meditate for 20.”
“Stress is related to 99% of all illness”
Meditation and deep breathing support your nervous system. Having a meditation practice can lower blood pressure, improve focus, increase energy and help to deescalate stressful circumstances.
Sitting quietly with focus only on your breath can be tough. When I first started meditating, I found it difficult to sit still, feel comfortable in the position I chose and not make my mental to do list. After some practice (because yes, deep breathing and meditation take practice!) – using guided meditation apps and returning focus on my breath when all the thoughts popped up – I found myself looking forward to meditating first thing in the morning. I felt calmer, more focused and ready to face the day.
Next time you’re faced with whatever you consider a stressful situation at work, take a moment to notice your body’s reaction. When we encounter stress, we tend to engage in quick, top of chest-only breathing and our shoulders tense and rise. Instead, pause, inhale deeply through your nose until your stomach expands like a balloon while rolling your shoulders back, pause again, then exhale slowly until your stomach contracts. Repeat. Do you feel calmer?
Follow these 10 steps for a mini meditation and deep breathing break…
- Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Set your cell phone timer for 5 minutes.
- Get into a comfortable seat in your chair or on the floor with crossed legs and adjust your sitting bones underneath you.
- Deeply inhale through your nose and slowly roll your head/neck to the right shoulder; exhale through your nose and slowly roll your head/neck to the left shoulder. Repeat.
- Return head to neutral, relax neck, shoulders, hands and legs. Maintain a straight but comfortable back.
- Softly close your eyes or lightly gaze towards the floor in front of you.
- Inhale deeply through your nose, letting the air go down through your chest, feeling the expansion of your stomach.
- Exhale slowly through your nose releasing all the air in your abdomen.
- Using a 4-count breath – s-l-o-w-l-y inhale 2, 3, 4 and s-l-o-w-l-y exhale 2, 3, 4.
- Continue this pattern throughout your breath break.
- When your mind wanders, return to focusing on your breath.
Carve time out of your schedule for a 5-minute breath break every day for one week. Remember this time is for you, you have no agenda, no deadlines, your only task is to breathe. What do you notice after the first time you sit? Is there a difference at the end of the week? How has your daily breath break affected the rest of your day?