It’s that funny time of year when you might not be entirely sure what day it is, the ‘Twixmas’ period between Christmas and New Year. It’s an odd time of year for many. Everywhere still looks Christmassy, you’re still in a festive mood, and looking forward to a New Year celebration. and yet, there is something strange about it. You don’t quite know what day it is. There is a sense of limbo about it sometimes.
I was asked yesterday what my plans are for the coming week, and realised with some relief that I have nothing planned. After the Christmas week busyness, it was so nice to have an unscheduled week ahead of me. I had a wonderful Christmas week. All the plans I had were fun (or preparing for fun), and time spent with family and good friends. But even so, it was busy.
When life is busy, with lots of things on the to do list, it can be hard to remember that we also need to take care of ourselves. Many people will say ‘I’m so busy I barely have time to breathe’. This much busyness can lead to stress, which in turn can harm health and happiness.
You don’t need to remember or make time to breathe. Your body takes care of it for you. But if you make time to make your breaths conscious, you will find that you can create calm and centredness within your busy day.
If you are very busy, the thought of sitting and focusing on your breath for any length of time can seem like wasted time, or a luxury you can’t afford. There are ways, however, that you can fit some conscious breathing time into your day even if you feel that you don’t have time.
Take advantage of traffic delays
If you’re in your car, take advantage of red lights and traffic jams, and use the time when you are stationary to slow your breath. You don’t *need* to close your eyes to breathe consciously. You can bring some awareness to your breath when you are at a red light or in a traffic queue and slow and deepen the breath for a few moments. If you get frustrated at delays when you are driving, this will help to reduce the stress and irritation you might otherwise feel
When washing the dishes
You have to wash dishes pretty much every day I would imagine. Why not take this from being a mundane domestic chore to a mindful, centering activity. While you are washing the dishes, take your attention to slowing the breath. This will bring you into the present moment, instead of thinking about whatever it is you will be doing once you have finished.
Before you start work
At the start of the day, before you begin your day’s activities, simply sit for a moment and take 3 deep breaths. This will only take half a minute, and will allow your mind to relax so that you begin your day’s work with clarity.
Take hourly ‘breath breaks’
Set an alarm on your phone to go off every hour. On that alarm, relax your shoulders, sit straight, and take 3 deep breaths. You don’t need to close your eyes if you don’t want to, but you can if you wish. Taking these small, barely noticeable breaks in your working day can help to boost, not detract from, your productivity. Your brain needs to rest to enable you to work at your best. It is also a good practice to turn to if you are stuck, overwhelmed or stressed over a work issue.
Devote 5 minutes a day for 10 days
I am sure that if you wanted to, you *could* stop what you are doing and focus on taking good, deep, conscious breaths. It can be hard to make it a habit, and hard to think about until it is a habit. This is why I created the ‘5 minute breath’ mini course.
In just 5 minutes, I guide you to take some deep, slow, healing breaths. This will help you to improve relaxation, reduce stress, and be more present in your life. You will get a daily email from me at 6am with a prompt to inspire and motivate you to your practice. There will be a short video which will form the basis of your practice.
The ‘5 Minute Breath’ mini course is completely free, and you can access it right now by completing the form below
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