Mindfulness Strategy: Mindful Melt

Let me paint a picture for you. You’ve begun counting down the days until winter break. You’ve trimmed the Santa beard on the count down every single morning. Students are talking about their Christmas lists, all of the video games they’ll play over the break, and the piles of Grandma’s cookies they’ll be eating. It’s chaos. No one is focused. Faculty desperately need some self care days. Everyone is ready.

So what can you do to help your students refocus and finish the semester strong? Enter mindfulness. The whole point of mindfulness is that one is focused on the here and now, his or her present feelings, thoughts, and experiences. We know that mindfulness reduces problem behaviors and increases attention, so what better way to fight the holiday chaos? 
I like to do this seasonally themed exercise with my students called the Mindful Melt. I lead students through a relaxation exercise in which they pretend they are snowmen and pictures themselves on a warm, peaceful beach. Students pay close attention to their bodies and experiences as they imagine themselves slowly melting limb by limb into the sand. We have lots of great discussions about how slowing down our minds and focusing on only one thing in the present moment helps us to feel calm and in tune with our bodies and environments. After doing a longer exercise, teachers can easily lead their students through a modified version of this after lunch, after recess, or whenever students need a moment to refocus. 
How do you handle the pre-holiday mayhem? I’d love to hear about the goodies you have in your bag of tricks to build focus and attention during this exciting time of year!
If you’re looking for a structured, scripted classroom guidance lesson with a craft, check out my mindfulness classroom guidance lesson.

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