Weekly Centering Activities

During moments of high stress, it’s critical that we take care of our minds and bodies. Back in March, we decided to start our weekly virtual staff meeting with a short centering activity. Each Monday, a different staff member leads the activity of their choosing, whether it’s a meditation, reading, song, movement or breathing exercise, or art activity.  

Check out some of the activities DI shared over the last few months: 

3-Minute Body Scan Meditation 

Desiré shared this kid-friendly meditation on YouTube. Body scans allow us to get in touch with our bodies and help us notice where we are feeling stressed and emotional so we can acknowledge our feelings and let them go.  

Whiteboard Mandala 

Michelle discovered a new way to use the virtual whiteboard. Using Zoom’s “annotate” feature, the team practiced contemplative art making and created a digital mandala. We recently released our whiteboard mandala activity on our newsletter. 

Gratitude Journaling

Caitlin appreciated this gratitude meditation for its simplicity. Gratitude meditation is simply the practice of reflecting on the things in our lives we’re grateful for. Studies have shown that gratitude can improve our mood, alleviate depression, and even curb burnout in healthcare settings.

Try it at home: Reframe your current situation — social distancing, self-quarantining, the COVID-19 crisis — as an event that will end soon. You only have a little time left in this situation. Take five minutes to write down what you are grateful for at this moment.

“Union Valley” Acupuncture for Stress Relief

Brittney shared an easy acupressure method that helps relieve tension and stress just by activating a pressure point in the webbing between your thumb and index finger. Take deep breaths while applying pressure. 

Alternate Nostril Breathing 

Nadi Shodhana, or “alternate nostril breathing” is a simple yet powerful technique that settles the mind, body, and emotions. Sarah C. shared this technique from her yoga practice. You can use it to quiet your mind before beginning a meditation practice, and it is particularly helpful to ease racing thoughts if you are experiencing anxiety, stress, or having trouble falling asleep.

Circular Breathing 

Circular breathing is a breathing exercise that helps you visualize and feel your breath. Levi introduced us to this advanced breathing technique borrowed from martial arts. During circular breathing, you breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth in one ongoing circular loop. It may help to inhale quietly through your nose and exhale intentionally with sound through your mouth. Do this for up to two minutes when you need to center yourself.

Meditation on the Shared Human Condition

Kate shared a couple tools from Headspace — a short animated video on the “Shared Human Condition” and a 5-minute centering meditation. The video helped explain the simple but tough-to-master elements of meditation. Meditation can be a powerful tool to help us visualize and grasp concepts in new and transformational ways.