Week 4: Mindfulness, The Finale Posted on 23 November 2016 by Rebecca & Wing - Kent-Teach in Wellbeing Rebecca’s experience:It was the final session of the mindfulness training this week. We did a number of breathing exercises; a couple involved staying sat on our chairs and for the other we stood up holding a strong upright posture. I found it easier focussing on the moment this week, my mind didn't wander off as much, I was better focussed. In one of the practices, I had to open my eyes at one point as I had become too relaxed and similarly to week 2, I felt I was close to nodding off; the exercise made me realise how mentally and physically tired I felt. This could have been because I was on my feet for most of the day and hadn’t sat down properly until the class. We discussed in groups what we learnt from the course. I shared how I have found the breathing exercises particularly useful and how I am more mindful of my body and my breathing. I now often take a moment to deeply and slowly breathe in and out, especially when I have had a challenging day. It only takes me a couple of minutes to carry this out and afterwards I feel better. It was suggested that short bursts of mindfulness exercises are effective.Although this course has taught me to be more mindful of events, feelings, experiences etc, I have also realised that previous to the course, I was already a little bit mindful before, I just never labelled my observations as being ‘mindful’. For example, I often shared my positive and negative experiences with my friends/family, and described how I felt at the time. This course has been an eye-opener and made me understand the importance of looking after myself. Although I find I don’t have sufficient time to carry out mindfulness meditation, I will make time, even if it is for 5 minutes once or twice a day. After all, this is an activity that I need to do rather than want to do. Needs should come before wants, right? The sessions have also spiked my interest in participating in either a Yoga or a Pilates class, particularly for the controlled breathing and stretching aspect. Also having one hour a week to myself is appealing! Wing’s experience:On the final week of the course, we focused on how we were going to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into our lives.For me, the course has been a catalyst for something I have been meaning to do for a while. It highlighted the need for me to start mindfulness and meditation and work them into my life. I’ll have to treat it like running. I’ve never liked running but it’s a great outdoors exercise that’s free and after a couple of years, it has now become a habit. If I can do it with running, I’m sure I can do it with mindfulness and meditation.The main issue for me was making the time for it. My excuse is I don’t have time but I know I spend at least an hour, if not more, each evening watching TV. What works for me is combining them with another activity. So after a run, I do my stretching followed by a few minutes of meditation, it's easy just to add it on to an activity I already do. I have started to do a few minutes of breathing exercises during work once or twice during the day. Slowly I’m trying to be more mindful when I carry out everyday actions, so aside from mindful running, I have mindful showers, I try to be mindful when I walk and having mindful conversations (now those can be a challenge with a wondering mind). I have also started a yoga class. It’s all about finding something that works for me and using the tools we’ve been shown. Have you noticed that we don’t seem to make excuses for things we really want to do, we just do them? This is the start of my journey into mindfulness and meditation which I hope I will continue. We discussed meditation apps and the facilitators recommended Headspace which I’ll try out.https://www.headspace.com/ 14 - 20 November 2016 was Self Care Week, here are four ways you can make a real difference to your health.