Finding Mindfulness in the Midst of Madness



noun: mindfulness

  1.   the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
  1.   a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

The days can get long right now. No matter what your current situation looks like; whether you’re teaching virtually, maneuvering this current new reality with kids at home, cleaning and organizing, or just attempting to manage the stress while trying to wrap your head around what is going on, it’s imperative that you remember to take time for yourself and find ways to keep yourself balanced.

Being mindful means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.

Below are 5 mindfulness activities for you to consider trying:

  1. The Headspace app

    Headspace will teach you the life-changing skills of meditation and mindfulness in just a few minutes a day. Headspace is offering some free resources right now, but is always free for educators. Great for beginners.

  2. Daily journaling

    Journaling has an amazing power to shift mindset and help bring more gratitude and joy into your life. I suggest taking 5 minutes to journal the following each day (or if you’re tight on time, aim for one to start!):

  • 5 things you are grateful for
  • 5 dreams of yours (write them as if they came true; i.e., I am an exceptional mother and wife, I maintain a healthy body, etc.)
  • 3 words that describe who you want to be today (i.e., productive, patient, kind).
  • 3 words that describe how you want to interact with others today (i.e., attentively, calmly, empathetically)
  • 1 thing that you will do today that will bring you joy (i.e., read a good book, yoga, dinner with the family)
  • 1 thing that was the best part of yesterday (i.e., anything you reflect on that was great)
  • OR even just making a list of 19 things you are grateful for each day (19 for COVID-19). My girlfriends and I have been doing this and sharing our lists with each other every morning. It has been uplifting and so positive. 
  1. Calming nature scenes on YouTube

    There are some one-minute videos on YouTube that show a nice, calming scene (rain falling, snowflakes falling, rivers flowing, etc.). Just simply watch and take deep breaths. It’s amazing how much they shift your energy and mindset! I would suggest watching a few of these throughout the day.

  1. Yoga

    There are countless free yoga classes online. If you have 20 minutes to spare each day, treat yourself (and your kids) to some stretching in the morning or before bed. You can simply Google “20 minute stretching yoga videos” and many options will come up.   

  2. Oprah’s Super Soul Sundays

    Oprah interviews some incredible people, and listening just puts life into perspective and helps me remember that we are all in this together, but also how important it is to take care of my body, spirit, and mind.

I hope at least one of these can be a helpful tool for you, your family, and your students. 

Stay healthy and safe!

Lauren Stroud

Lauren Stroud is an Assistant Principal at Foothill High School. She was previously a high school agriculture teacher where she was named the 2016 California Agriculture Science Teacher of the Year. She received her Bachelors degree, teaching credentials, and Masters degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She has a passion for Social Emotional Learning, and teaches a weekly mindfulness class at her high school. She was raised in Humboldt County and is a 2001 alum of Fortuna High School. She has been married to her husband, Wes, for 12 years and has two young children, who are eight and six years old. In her free time, Lauren enjoys traveling, practicing yoga, and enjoying the outdoors with her family. She is a member of Redding West Rotary and Leadership Redding.

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