Mindful Breaks

wren sitting on a hawthorn branch

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been a bit of a tricky topic for me. I cannot stand having to sit or lie still and then focus on my breathing. A friend of mine eventually suggested to read an article about walking meditation [1,2]. Much better. I often take my camera. The camera asks for a focus, and thus helps me to pay more attention. The fly taking a moment’s rest on a flower petal, dew drops on the grant Marguerite (in the two images below), might otherwise have gone unnoticed. I have noticed that walking meditation has snug its way into my working from home routines.

Yellow flower with a small fly sitting on it
marquerite

Working from Home

The first weeks of lock-down I was working flat out, and putting all the emotional upheaval of the current global crisis into a drawer to be dealt with later, until one afternoon I hit a wall–really badly. I ended up crashing and falling asleep on the yoga-mat in my office.

So that was definitely not the right approach to take!

thinking out loud

I realised that I was filling time up with being busy instead of effectively using my time. So I decided to make use of early mornings and go Nordic Walking (until my poles broke *cough*) or cycling. Since we are permitted to go out more, I do go out on more walks and cycles. Also when in the office I would take a break chit-chatting now I go into the garden and water some plants, look at the colours, see who has emerged from the soil that day. And watch the birds or neighbour’s cat hunting for mice. These breaks are true breaks. I love meeting colleagues for a coffee and a chat, but the conversations are usually focusing on aspects of work so these are not actual breaks. There is no mindfulness of making a cup of tea in the office. Besides you are still staying within the work environment, so disconnecting is difficult.

Conscious Break-Taking

Working from home and the role of intentional, conscious breaks: What I had not decided on, but emerged in the process was that these breaks became intentional, conscious acts of break-taking. They became mindful breaks. The walks are akin to walking meditation–using some artistic license here though. They are breathing spaces, sometimes they are just moments, minutes in the garden or checking on houseplants. Sometimes they are hours long walks. I also feel more relaxed, have stopped wasting time procrastinating on tasks, and am even more focused than I am when working from home anyway.

So taking more breaks. Taking them intentionally and consciously as spaces to rest and breathe, has actually made me more focused when working, and feeling less like I am chasing my tail.

And a nice side-effect are the photos coming out of this.

Wren on top of a hawthorn branch

Resources

1 Walking Meditation – Headspace (no date). Available at: https://www.headspace.com/meditation/walking-meditation (Accessed: 21 May 2020).

2 Thich Nhat Hanh – A Guide to Walking Meditation (no date). Available at: https://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Thich_Nhat_Hanh_A_Guide_to_Walking_Meditation.htm (Accessed: 21 May 2020).

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