I’ve often read that one of the keys to mindfulness, and indeed happiness, is to do one thing and one time. Pure focus and concentration on that one thing.
Still…I find it so unbelievable hard to put this into practice.
It’s often joked about that women are used to multitasking; in some ways, ‘we’ almost hold it over men and laugh at them, because they can’t do three things at once like us. In the teaching community, many of us wear our multitasking abilities like a badge of pride, bragging and moaning at the same time about how much we’ve done by 9AM and how much more we have to do.
Yes, we get an unbelievable amount done… but is it good for us? I doubt it.
Teachers often complain that ‘kids these days’ have 3 minute attention spans; that they’re overstimulated by technology. Yet, I know so many teachers that tell me that they can’t get through a TV show without thinking about their ‘to do’ list; that they wake up at 3AM thinking about seating plans and checking emails on their phone; that are continuously accused of ‘being somewhere else’ even when they’re in the room.
There’s no wonder that many people say it takes them a couple of weeks into summer before they can even calm down and relax.
Summer holidays though are a great opportunity to embrace the art of doing just one thing; to sit and read a book outside, with the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair, and the noises of holidays all around you. There are endless opportunities to practise mindfulness – to listen, touch, taste, smell, see and feel all the things that are normally there, but aren’t normally acknowledged because your mind is somewhere else – to exist in the present moment.
Throughout my holiday, I’m going to strive to pay attention as much as possible, and just do one thing at a time. This is going to mean breaking a few bad habits and I don’t expect it be to an entirely smooth ride, but I’ll do my best, safe in the knowledge that my brain really needs a holiday too. She’s had a really hard year. She really deserves to truly relax.
Editor’s update (20.11.17): Since writing this post, I’ve read a number of books about Mindfulness and watched some fascinating talks promoting it’s scientifically-proven benefits. As a result, I’m now signed up to a course with the British Institute of Mindfulness in January 2018, so that I can pass this information onto my students. The more I’ve learnt about this topic, the more I’ve become convinced of the need for it to be taught as a means of battling the anxiety and depression that has become prevalent in our schools. And I’m not just thinking of the students! Look out for more Mindfulness coming your way soon…