Self Care Skills and Mindful Living Practices are short simple ways to release stress, build focus and self-awareness while strengthening social, emotional, cognitive, and physical health during everyday activities. There are two branches of this work: Self Care in Schools and Self Care Yoga®. The skills taught in both of these branches are built upon The Body, Mind, Breath Connection™ and teach us to be more aware of our body, our breathing, our feelings, and shift our thinking so that we are more positive and compassionate toward ourselves, others, and our world. Bringing these programs of Self Care and Mindful Living to your school or organization can help create an interconnected, supportive, and caring learning atmosphere to support the social and emotional needs of the entire community.
Practices range from 10 seconds to 10 minutes or longer and include:
- Self Care Movement Breaks
- Self Care Breathing Breaks
- Reflective activities to increase self-awareness and self-regulation
- Creative practices including mindful writing and self care collaging
- Moments of intentional rest and quiet connection
- Mindful communication and mindful listening
- Whole-group and small-group collaboration
- World care and community-building activities
- Self Care Yoga® for Physical Education Classes and Organizations
- The 5 Principles and 11 Skills of Self Care and Mindful Living with simple ways to bring these practices into the classroom, the workplace, home, and all areas of life
Benefits of The Practice
Self Care Skills and Mindful Living Practices will help you:
- Release social, emotional and physical stress
- Transition with greater awareness from one experience to the next
- Increase focus, self-awareness, and calmness to support academic and workplace performance
- Support behavior management and self-regulation
- Build supportive thinking and problem-solving skills
- React with greater clarity and kindness in stressful situations
- Ease anxiety and depression and soothe other difficult emotions
- Make healthy choices
- Communicate more calmly and clearly
- Enhance creativity and imagination
- Promote feelings of relaxation, connection, and inner peace
- Increase physical strength, balance, flexibility, and coordination
- Improve postural alignment and create space for deeper, more effective breathing
- Reduce the level of stress hormones in the body
- Ease physical tension and body aches
- Improve sleep and rest patterns
- Get comfortable unplugging from technology
- Strengthen the immune system and enhance health
- Support mindful eating and aid digestion
- Increase energy and resilience
- Build social, emotional, cognitive, and physical health
- Promote kinder relations within schools, families, communities, and our world
Why We Need This
The body, mind, breath, and emotions are deeply connected and how we move, think, and breathe can affect how we feel and react throughout the course of our day. Many adults and children feel habitually stressed, rushed, anxious, tired, over scheduled and overwhelmed from the moment the alarm goes off in the morning until it’s time to go to sleep at night. Dashing from one experience to the next with barely a pause in between, the body tight with physical tension, thoughts racing ahead and disconnected from the body, and the breath shallow and constricted can trigger the body to release excessive stress hormones. This can be helpful at times to heighten our reactions in dangerous situations and help protect us from harm, but habitually living in this state can be physically, emotionally, and mentally depleting and can contribute to anxiety, angry outbursts, scattered thinking, fatigue, body aches, depression and chronic illness to name a few.
This contagious energy can spread to those around us and contributes to the tense atmosphere that can sometimes be a part of school, work, and family culture. This energy can also negatively impact our social, emotional, physical, and academic health as it is difficult to fully see, hear, feel, and experience what is directly in front of us when the body and mind are so stressed, overstimulated, overwhelmed and disconnected from each other. Stress and disconnection affect the outcome of learning, teaching, living, and leading.
It is essential that we do the work needed to learn healthy and natural ways to release stress so that we can live, learn, teach, and lead more mindfully, and interact with each other from a place of calm, clear, connection and care. By integrating these skills and practices of The Body, Mind, Breath Connection™ and applying The 5 Principles and 11 Skills of Self Care and Mindful Living we can teach ourselves to shift our unhealthy habits to healthier, more positive habits, reactions, and ways of being in our world that support social, emotional, cognitive, and physical health, and create a more positive environment for ourselves, our students, our families, our coworkers, and our communities.
What Is The Body, Mind, Breath Connection™?
The Body, Mind, Breath Connection™ is the act of connecting our body and mind with this one moment of life to notice what is happening inside of us and around us. First we get curious about ourselves and our surroundings so that we can create healthy habits of body and mind that bring positive shifts to our health, our relationships, our way of learning and living.
Often, the body and mind are disconnected from each other and disengaged from the unfolding moment. When we are this mind state of disconnection, the thoughts are racing and scattered as the distracted mind worries, overthinks, and is often stressed, impatient, frustrated, and unfocused. Practicing The Body, Mind, Breath Connection™ we become aware of how we are moving, thinking, breathing, and feeling. Through this sense of curiosity we bring the body and mind together in the same place at the same time to shift our awareness to a mind state of calm, clear, connection and care. We teach ourselves how to react more positively in daily experiences so that we can accomplish our tasks more timely, effectively, enjoyably, and calmly, while bringing moments of self care into our busy days. Practicing this mindful connection can help us gain a clearer understanding and awareness of ourselves, others, and our world to strengthen our social, emotional, cognitive, and physical health as we practice create greater kindness to ourselves and others.
Each short, simple skill in this program begins by connecting to the moment through Self Care and Mindful Living Skills such as self care breathing breaks, self care movement breaks, supportive thinking activities, conscious creation, mindful writing, mindful eating, mindful reading, and other mindfulness practices that can be integrated into daily life.
An example of practicing The Body, Mind, Breath Connection™ would be to notice what is happening physically in your body right now as you read these words. Can you shift your body to be more balanced, open and comfortable? Now begin to lengthen and slow down your breathing slightly as you continue to read these words, and maybe relaxing your shoulders as you exhale. Truly see these words and begin to notice your thoughts and reactions as you read these words. Is your mind open and curious in this moment, or closed with judgmental thoughts over this experience? If you are feeling resistant, can you choose to open your mind and heart to new ways of learning, focusing, and being curious in this moment?
This mindful awareness and connection to the moment is The Body Mind Breath Connection™. With practice, we learn to be curious and naturally engage our senses on a deeper level to more fully see, hear, feel, experience, and appreciate the moments of our lives.
Over time, with sustained effort and dedicated practice, you can feel healthier, calmer, and more patient. As you improve your health with the principles, skills and activities in this program, you are encouraged to practice kindness and take compassionate actions toward yourselves, others, and our world. This energy will spread to those around you and affect the entire school, work place, family environment, and world in a positive way.