I was lucky enough to spend an evening last week surrounded by school teachers hosting a mindfulness CPD session with Opogo. I spent a couple of hours talking about wellness in schools, for both the children and the teachers as well as the benefits of learning to slow down.
The main focus for teachers that I wanted to talk about was the power of the pause. We are taught that being an achiever is to be someone who is constantly working, hustling, meeting people, running around, being seen to be busy; but actually what effect is this having on our wellbeing and life balance? Are we, in fact, trying to look busier as we think that is what we should do, rather than what we need to do?
I, until very recently was one of those people, and I have to say since having my digital detox for a week in Tulum, my perspective on life has really changed. Dare I even say I am about 50% more efficient than ever before too - win-win!
"The acknowledgment that it is ok to need a break, to switch off, and to find a way to be ok with that is something that will change the way you start to look at your life on a daily and weekly basis.
In my yoga classes, I take the time to get my students to recognise the pause in between the inhale and the exhale, focusing on that second or two where the mind and the body are completely still. You may not be a yogi but you can still easily create this just by sitting at your desk and focus on your breathing. A great time to try it is right before bed when you can calm your body and mind right before going to sleep. Perhaps count an inhale for four, then pause, then exhale for five, pause and repeat.
The best way I find to pause off my mat is to literally time block an amount of time that day for exactly that. To just do nothing, or to do something that is relaxing for me. I time block my week on a Sunday night (of which I often change) but I ensure that my schedule for the next day is locked in the night before. Such attention to detail has genuinely made me so much more efficient.
I pencil in an hour a day for social media, whether that is uploading, filming, contacting clients, posting stories etc. and that is it. I no longer scroll through Instagram aimlessly yet being focused with my time means I am getting more out of it than I ever did before! Whilst the structure of your day is very different as teachers and is often locked in with a schedule, the time around it and the weekends can still be shaped tremendously by giving yourself that block of time to pause.
"Such a system enables me to be accountable for myself so that I don't feel guilty about having that downtime. It's about reminding myself, and you, that we all deserve it."
Finally, listen to your body. If you feel tired, then guess what, that means you are! There is nothing wrong with saying that you are too tired to do something. Embrace the power of pause and believe you me you will feel revitalised.
About our Community Expert
#TeachFit programme lead
Kirsty is a yoga teacher on a journey of empowerment, building confidence and pushing the boundaries of what traditional yoga is and can be.
She leads the TeachFit Yoga workshops in our partner schools.