This article was originally published in Wave Magazine. For more health and wellness articles, please visitwww.wavemag.ca
Would you like to leave work each day with enough energy to enjoy other life priorities such as family, friends and leisure activities?
Then maybe it's time to take a new approach to your workday, one that is less mind-FULL (rushing from meeting to meeting, juggling several assignments at once, and trying to meet ridiculous deadlines as they slog through the day) and more mindful (intentionally paying attention to - and accepting - the here and now, without judgment).
So how does one become mindful at work?
Bottom line: engaging in mindful moments at work on a regular basis will settle your mind, and offer a fresh perspective on the present. Be patient with yourself as you learn and explore mindfulness strategies. The key is to be aware and work within yourself, doing your best without being consumed by worries or distractions.
Some suggestions for incorporating mindful moments at work
The 3 Bs - Break, Breathe, and Be
Stop for five minutes, breathe deeply, and just be. Be fully present in the moment, be aware of how you are doing and let go of any negative thoughts or stressors for now. This technique gives your mind a break and can be done simply and in any setting.
Use your 15-minute coffee break to participate in a progressive muscle relaxation exercise. Check out www.uclahealth.org (search: guided meditations) for breathing exercises you can do at your desk.
Take a walk outside and notice the sights (trees, blue sky), sounds (birds, traffic) and smells (fresh air, flowers). This activity can be energizing and has the added benefit of physical activity.
Focus on one task at a time, fully and completely, without interruptions for 30 minutes. This strategy is called chunking and because it is time-limited, we actually achieve more when we give specific tasks undivided attention. You may be amazed at how creative you can be and how much you will accomplish in this short block of time.
Embrace the mundane
Most people have tasks in their jobs that seem mundane, repetitive or maybe even boring. That is actually good and can be your scheduled mental break time. Tasks that require less attention allow you to regroup, refocus and recharge.
Try grounding yourself when driving between appointments. At a stoplight, look and notice the trees and blue sky, listen to the sounds around you, and feel the support and comfort of your seat underneath you. This grounding technique is a simple way to quickly refresh and reset your thoughts to the present moment.
Ban electronics (don't panic- it is only temporary)
Hold meetings where cellphone use and email checks are not allowed. Studies show workplaces that use this strategy report better understanding of goals, improved relationships and less need to clarify meeting decisions.
Take a moment at the end of your workday or before bed to journal about any mindfulness activities you did and how it went. This builds on your self-awareness and helps you decide what to include in your personal mindfulness plan.
Healthy Workplaces is a joint effort to share health best practices with Winnipeg's business community.