Having been in my current job for 8 weeks now means that I can finally use this half-term break to create and collate realistic resources for my caseload. I’m always hesitant about bringing too much to the table all at once from the very beginning, so I like to give it a few weeks to get comfortable at the pace of others around me and understand what already exists (and the effectiveness of said things). For the first half-term, I used very little in the way of resources; I let my caseload lead the way so that I could meet them where they are and go from there. But now that I have a better grip of where they are and how we can work together, I’ve been able to do what I love best – create resources.
I don’t usually post work-related things on this blog because this is a personal space for me and I like to draw a (very thick) line between my personal and professional life, but I posted these mindfulness cards on my close friends list on Instagram and they proved to be far more popular than I’d anticipated.
The inspiration for these came from Headspace – while learning how to lead the Three Minute Body Scan, I saw these adorable illustrations on the website and knew that I needed them in my life. I went through them and found that they’d fit perfectly with some of the grounding and mindfulness exercises we already do and so I created these little handy pocket cards for everyday use (I’ve included a step-by-step of what I did below).
Here are four of my favourite exercises that can be done anywhere and by anyone:
Practice placing the left hand on the right shoulder for a tap and then the right hand on the left shoulder for another tap. Then squeeze into a hug and say the affirmation (can be anything you need in the moment, e.g. “I am safe” or “I am in control”). Tap, tap, squeeze, affirm. Tap, tap, squeeze, affirm. Repeat this as many times as needed!
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Stay still and focus on your five senses and take note of:
5 things you see
4 things you hear
3 things you smell
2 things you can touch
1 thing you taste
Balance It Out
Stand on one leg with your arms stretched out over your head and your palms touching. See how long you can keep this up. While doing this, focus on your thoughts and slowing your mind down until it feels still like yourself.
Lazy 8 Breathing
Trace the first half of the 8 with your finger as you breathe in deeply. When you get to the middle, hold your breath briefly, before tracing the second half while breathing out.
These aren’t a cure-all for managing stress and anxiety, but they’re small steps towards self-regulation so that you can continue with your daily activities without feeling too overwhelmed by the demands of the world.
Have you got any other strategies that work for you? I’d love to hear about them!