Healthy Mind

You Only Need 5 Minutes to Fit in a Quick Mindfulness Break Between Back-to-Back Meetings

Mercey Livingston

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Hustle culture has us working harder and longer—and it’s taking a toll on our health. But research shows that even short breaks during the day can spell big health benefits. So go ahead and give yourself a break (literally); Wellness Recess will provide you with the inspo you need to add more balance— and fun—to your day. See More

Ever feel like you spend more time escaping with mindless activities (hello, back-to-back episodes of Bachelor in Paradise) than engaging in mindful moments? Sure, mindless activities have their time and place, but busy schedules can feel more manageable with even a small dose of mindfulness plugged in. Scroll down to learn how to take a quick mindfulness break.

If your days are stacked with back-to-back meetings, a never-ending to-do list, and an email inbox that just won't stop, may I recommend a quick mindfulness break? Before you roll your eyes, hear me out. This is not another meditation plug (but the benefits are pretty impressive, no?). Mindfulness and meditation sometimes get grouped in the same bucket, but they're definitely not the same thing.

"The act of performing a task at hand with one's full attention is being mindful," says Vibay Chandran Weisbecker, a holistic wellness and mindfulness expert at Mindbody. "In work and life, being mindful or mindfulness can be extended to any activity such as walking, painting, cooking, or meditating."

IMO, mindfulness is the much more approachable cousin to meditation. The best part is you don't need an hour or even 30 minutes to reap the benefits of mindfulness. You can practice mindfulness for longer periods of time, but according to Chandran Weisbecker, the length of your mindfulness practice is not as important as simply practicing. "Through experience, I find that short practices on busy days are helpful," he says.

How mindfulness helps you on a busy day

If your days are jam-packed, chances are you can use a dose of stress recovery. Think of mindfulness breaks as mini stress-recovery sessions that keep that fried, burned-out feeling at bay. "Mindful practices improve self-regulation of thoughts, emotions, and behavior," says Chandran Weisbecker. "On days when one feels busy or stressed, practicing mindfulness is a good way to begin the process of recovering from stress—and thereby improving one’s ability to tackle a busy day."

Ready to try adding mindfulness breaks into your day? Chandran Weisbecker recommends the three exercises below—although you're certainly not limited to these, since you can apply mindfulness to almost any activity.

3 mindfulness exercises to help you reset on a busy day

1. Make tea or a snack for yourself

Whether you enjoy tea, coffee, or a midday snack, take a few minutes to center yourself and reset. While you make your drink or snack, focus on only the steps in front of you, not your work project or that conversation you just had with your boss.

2.Take a walk outside with your pet, friend, or co-worker

When the work is piling up, it can feel impossible to leave your desk, but even 5 minutes away will do some good. Even better? Take a mindful walk with your pet, friend, or co-worker. Stepping away from your desk and focusing on walking in silence (or chatting about non-work related matters) gives your busy brain a much-needed break.

3. Do a few mindful squats, a couple of vinyasas, or some burpees

Lots of people find that movement helps them focus on the present. Take a few minutes to do a few mindful squats, maybe a few vinyasas, or even a few burpees. You'll get your heart rate up, which gives you a nice boost—all while practicing mindful movement.

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