September can be a stressful time of the year – back to school, starting your first job or worrying that you’ve made the wrong decision.
Mindfulness is awareness of ourselves and the world around us. It is a natural quality that we all have, and by paying more attention to our feelings and what is going on around us, it can improve our mental well-being and reduce stress. When we practice mindfulness we’re practising the art of creating space for ourselves – space to think, space to breathe, space between ourselves and our reactions.
There are a number of free apps that you can download that are designed to help you relax and practice Mindfulness, for example the Calm app. We have also put together a ’how to guide’ which can help you stay in control of your feelings and think positively about the future.
1. Take a seat
Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.
2. Set a time limit
This is completely up to you, if you are new to this, perhaps start with just 5 minutes.
3. Notice your body
Make sure you are comfortable, stable and in a position you can stay in for a while. This could be in a chair, cross-legged on the floor or on your knees.
4. Feel your breath
Follow your breath as you inhale and as you exhale. You may find that you need to take a few deep, slow breaths to ensure you are fully relaxed.
Tip> Try counting to 5 as you draw breath.
5. Notice when your mind has wandered
Inevitably, your attention will leave the focus of your breathing and wander to other thoughts. When you notice this simply return your attention to your breath. If your mind wanders off or starts working over things, let these go.
Tip> Imagine your thoughts as passing cars at a busy junction, stand back and watch them pass you by.
6. Be kind to yourself
Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of your thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just take a step back.
There are some handy tips on practising mindfulness from mindful.org
You don’t need to buy anything
There’s no way to quiet your mind
Your mind will wander
Your judgy brain will try to take over
It’s all about returning your attention again to the present moment
I always struggled in school as I wasn’t very academic, so knew learning on the job would be a better option for me. I would find it difficult to get up for 9am but now I wake up and look forward to my day. I wanted to try a hair apprenticeship as I’ve always been interested in hairdressing, and by the end of the first week, I already loved it!
I have developed a range of new skills through work including the technical, industry skills required for the job, to personal development such as ensuring I am always on time. The biggest change since leaving school is adjusting to the independence you gain from earning a salary. My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be find what you like doing, and go for it!
Since starting the apprenticeship, I’ve become far more confident. In a classroom, you only interact with your classmates, but through working you develop your people skills as you interact with customers on a daily basis. At school, you are closely monitored and parented, however I am now more independent and feel grown up
The most important thing I’ve learnt since leaving school is that there are other routes to success than just academia. I failed my GCSEs, as I never suited the school environment. Now though, I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as I’ve discovered I learn more through hands-on practice.
I would just like to thank you and your team for all the amazing work they do, you have provided me with the most invaluable experience which has helped to pave the way of my future. The work you do for young people is incredible!