Never has it been more important to take a little time out for yourself than it has been this last year. And never has a good cup of tea had a more important role. Taking a few minutes out of a hectic routine: key workers who have never been busier or under more pressure, working from home & home-schooling, or simply trying to stay busy whilst staying home and worrying about friends and family who you haven't seen for so long.
That cup of tea suddenly becomes more important. So pop the kettle on and take a few minutes to just be. Mindfulness is an important tool for coping in today's uncertain world. Taking a few minutes out to ground yourself and take stock can make all the difference.
Here's our top ten tips on how to just be and take a mindful 10 minutes:
1. OK, our top tip for taking ten is obviously, make a fresh cup of tea. Whatever your favourite brew may be: an invigorating English Breakfast tea, a calming cup of camomile or a detoxing green tea. Take a little extra care - your favourite mug, a warm comfy spot and truly enjoy it.
2. Busy hands, quiet mind. Now you've got your tea, many people find busy hands mean a quiet mind. Try a new jigsaw puzzle, painting, sketching, colouring - pamper your inner child, you'll be surprised at how relaxing it is and how times flies when you're mind is quiet and your hands are busy.
3. Meditate. If you haven't tried it before, give it a go! There are lots of great apps out there to help, try a guided mediation if you haven't done it before. Or just find a quiet spot, a comfortable chair, place both feet flat on the floor and just listen - listen to whatever sounds are going on around you and just let the world happen, nothing for you to do, nowhere to be. Just ten minutes.
4. Music - getting lost in music. Music can help you live in the moment. Something peaceful and relaxing if you need to unwind, something you need to sing along to if your feeling restless or something that makes you dance around the kitchen if you're feeling stressed - maybe put the tea down first!
5. Walking. If you can get out and about, getting some fresh air and exercise is a guaranteed way to feel better. A slow walk around the block is enough - look at the sky, feel the fresh air, take some deep breaths. Think only about the steps your taking and the scenes around you.
6. Writing. Writing things down can help from over-thinking. Pen and paper or a laptop, even notes on your phone. Just write - whatever is worrying you, whatever you want to say. Write to a friend, write a store, make up a poem - it doesn't matter what it is just write.
7. Read - nothing helps you escape from the daily stresses of life than a good book. Read a famous novel, read a romantic short story, read something that makes you laugh out loud - maybe don't read the paper or spend time on worrying social media sites right now - read something you've always wanted to, re-read something. Escape the everyday and get lost in a book.
8. Clean. Many people find cleaning a form of mindfulness. It's a great way of connecting with the present and concentrating only on what you're achieving. Pick one of those jobs that gets put off by everyday busy life. Put the marigolds on and get scrubbing! The bathroom, the oven, the skirting boards, floors, windows - not only does it keep hands busy and minds quiet, but sitting in a fresh, clean smelling space does wonders.
9. Attend to the garden. It's cold out, but wrap up and potter around the garden. Get the garden ready for spring.
10. Take a long bath. Run a warm, bubbly bath. Maybe with a cup of tea, a book and music on in the background! Use some extra special bath foam and soak away.