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  • Catherine Nasskau

15 minutes to improve wellbeing

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

Mindfulness in nature
Taking time to relax in nature

I was recently asked by Carson Sperry from to write an article about about free time, and to answer the question: What would you do if you had a spare fifteen minutes?

As Carson said, "We've never been more connected as a society than we are now. With that comes a lot of upsides, but there are some downsides to constant connection, as well. One of them is less free time, so it's important to make the most of the limited downtime you have to yourself."

You can read the full article here which includes my suggestions and those from other mindfulness experts and life coaches to help you decide what to do with your free time.

My first response was that my answer to the question rather depends on what this 15 minutes is in the middle of.

  • If I was very busy and feeling tired, I would probably take the time to rest, lie down and do one of my favourite relaxing mindfulness meditations. And probably fall asleep!

  • If it was sunny outside, I would make a lovely drink and go and sit in the sunshine, look around, listen to birds, relax or go for a short walk.

  • If it was not pleasant outside, I might play the piano or do something else that I always am too busy to do. Maybe read a book or poems.

  • If I was feeling like being in contact with someone, I might ring an old friend and surprise them.

  • If my life at that time was not busy, I might use the time to do the things I had just not got around to, like tidying a drawer.

Suggestions from other mindfulness teachers in the article include:

- Write down your thoughts

- Think about the positives

- Make meditation a priority

- Take a break from technology

- Slow down

- Make free time your time

Mindfulness is about bringing awareness to our present moment experience and letting go of thoughts about the past and future. We can bring as much mindful awareness to the untidiness of a drawer as we do to our breath or the sound of birds around us!

If you would like to try one of our meditations, visit the Meditations page, or get in touch to book a free online taster session.

As someone who is always rather busy, I need to make sure I don't use any spare time to just do more things. I particularly enjoy 'The New Philosophy' poem by Ann Copnell - a useful reminder about the value of just being. You can read more of my favourite poems here.

The New Philosophy

The windows need cleaning,

The sideboard’s thick with dust,

The carpets are grimy,

But this morning I must

Hear some Bach or Mozart,

Sit cross-legged on the mat,

Watch the houseplants growing,

Play ping-pong with the cat.

The tea-things are still dirty,

Paint’s flaking off the sill,

Food cupboards are empty,

But this morning I will

Look at a book of poems,

Call up some friends and talk,

Play with my box of paints,

Take me out for a walk.

The back lawn needs mowing,

The cooker is a sight,

We’re knee deep in litter,

But this morning I might

Admire the blossom,

Hear blackbirds sing their song,

Stand barefoot in the stream,

Watch the clouds float along.

No buttons on my shirt,

The bath has spots of rust,

The washer needs mending,

But this morning I must

Look out of the window,

Sit down beneath a tree,

Consider a rainbow,

Do nothing, just BE.

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