During lockdown a combination of relentless troubling news reports and working from home has left my mind feeling a bit scrambled.
So when I came across an open invitation to the Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust’s video link mindfulness sessions I decided to give it a try.
I have to confess, I was nervous when booting up my computer for a mindfulness group. I have attended a mindfulness course in the past, but I couldn’t help wondering if I would feel uncomfortable spending time with people I didn’t know through video link?
Logging in I immediately saw a few other people already in the group. Everyone appeared friendly, saying hello and waving. Seeing them sat against a backdrop of their own homes reminded me I am not alone in isolation.
Soon everyone had joined and I could see we were a group of five, plus the group facilitator. There were no lengthy introductions, just a quick hello and a relaxed explanation of what the session would hold for us. Once the mindfulness practice started we were advised to mute our microphones, which I found reassuring, I would be able to rustle or cough without interrupting everyone’s experience!
We were invited to either close our eyes or lower them and guided to begin noticing our breath. Once I had closed my eyes and started to allow the facilitators voice to guide me I didn’t really think about the other people on the link.
At first thoughts crowded in, but instructions to guide my thoughts back to my breath helped and soon I felt my body relax. I was able to notice thoughts coming and going without being drawn into them, it felt both calming and refreshing.
At the end there was an open invitation to share any thoughts about the experience or ask questions. Everyone, including me reported having enjoyed the experience and expressed their gratitude for an online option to participate.
So how do I feel about this new experience?
I found it wonderfully relaxing; I enjoyed having no travel to organise and nothing to take with me. I liked being able to mute myself and being in my own space at the same time as sharing the activity with other people. I have attended three sessions now and found myself feeling calmer, less isolated and less overloaded with lockdown information. These feelings have lifted my mood noticeably and this lift has stayed with me between sessions. Taking this time out of my lockdown routine prompted me to do a self-check, asking myself how I am doing and think of other ways to care for my wellbeing. I made a decision to watch less news, allocating just enough to keep up-to-date.
So whether you are new to mindfulness, well-practiced or somewhere in between, I definitely recommend trying a mindfulness sessions through video link.
Mum, carer and Occupational Therapist.
Email: [email protected]
There are many places offering free online mindfulness sessions at the moment, including SLaM Recovery College (South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust)
TEWV staff can find details of online mindfulness sessions on the staff intranet.