Well, we’re back into the thick of it, or close to it. The holiday break is over. You’re back working and the joy of spending your days in pajamas have been replaced by emails coming in, meetings filling the calendar, and work to be done. Do we all miss the relaxing holidays, sitting by the lit-up tree with a good book in the middle of the afternoon? Yes. Can we avoid getting back to reality and the hustle and bustle of regular life? No.
Does that mean we have no choice but to fill our life with stress? Also, No!
Instead, why not try incorporating a few minutes, every day, to reconnect to that calm, peaceful feeling we got to know and love over the holiday break? A quick breathing exercise is a great way to calm your mind, body and soul. Even better, this is a short exercise that can be done anytime, anywhere.
My favorite exercise is one I call a “Counting Breath”. It is so easy to do, takes very little time, and is a great way to connect your mind with your body and your breath.
Step 1 – Get comfortable
Find a comfortable position, either seated or laying. Give your head a little nod “yes” and shake “no”. Give your shoulders a little roll. Take a second to release any tension your holding and shake out all the fidgets you may be feeling. You may want to close your eyes to remove any visual distractions you have around you.
Step 2 – Steady your breath
Placing your hands on your abdomen, breath normally for a minute. I love placing my hands on the abdomen as it helps me to not only feel the breath moving through my body but also feel the expansion of my abdomen in my hands as I breath in and out. I find this creates a stronger, fuller connection to the exercise.
Step 3 – Begin the counting breath
Count your breath, from one through to five, matching your inhale and exhale to the count. You’re first inhale and exhale will be short, whereas your fifth inhale and exhale will be long, like this:
Starting with one, inhale for a count of one, then exhale for a count of one.
Repeat, inhaling for a count of two, then exhale for a count of two.
Repeat inhaling for a count of three, then exhale for a count of three.
Repeat, inhaling for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four.
Finally, inhale for a count of five, then exhale for a count of five.
Step 4 – Steady your breath.
Once you’ve completed your counting breath up to five, give yourself a minute to steady your breath again, breathing normally and bringing your attention back to the room.
This breathing exercise, although short, gives your mind and body a second to rest, reset, and calm down. In turn, you’ll feel better and more productive moving on through your day.