4 Ways to Infuse Mindful Moments Into Your At-Home Workday
In the age of instant access to technological tools and communication channels, some of today’s employers are finding it even easier to heap on the expectations. Working longer hours, being online at odd times and a list of to-dos can make it tough to slow down.
The good news? You can still accomplish plenty of work without letting stress get the best of you with small, simple moments of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment while calmly assessing your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations.
According to Nancy Hathaway, Maine native, founder of the Center for Studying Mindfulness, “The key is to experience feelings as body sensations; rather than going to the gerbil cage of over-thinking. When you are at work, take a mindful walking break to the water cooler or bathroom, or get yourself outside.”
Your job is likely a crucial part of your life. It might be your lifelong passion, your primary source of income, a way to help your community, and the place where you spend the most time. To help you use that time wisely, here’s a list of four ways to break up your workday with mindful moments:
1. Create a Mindful Eating Experience
According to Harvard Health, mindful eating “includes noticing the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of your food; chewing slowly; getting rid of distractions like TV or reading; and learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food.” Basically, it’s taking a real break and allowing you to focus on the act of eating without distraction.
Why is this helpful in combating stress and cultivating ease? Research shows that focusing on your food, feeling its weight, examining its surface, smelling it, noticing how it makes you feel and closing your eyes to savor it fully can help you practice non-judgment, patience, non-striving, acceptance and trust. All of these are essential for kickstarting feel-good hormones such as dopamine and reducing stress hormones such as cortisol. So next time you need a time-out, grab a piece of fruit and take those measured steps to ensure eating it is a full mind- body experience.
2. Practice Mindful Movement
Mindful movement is a way to take a break, listen to your body and engage in physical activity that feels fluid, unforced and natural. Focus on noticing your body in movement and controlling the pace of breath. Some of the most common types of mindful movement include yoga, pilates and tai chi, but the simple act of going for a walk or stretching in your office can give you the same stress-relieving benefits.
One easy tactic: find a private space to practice an inversion, also known as “Legs Up the Wall Pose” in yoga. By getting your feet above your heart, you can boost your circulation and counter the results of all the sitting that occurs in day-to-day office life.
3. Sprinkle in Some Meditation
Just 10 to 20 minutes of meditation per day has been proven to increase focus, positivity and productivity, decrease stress, streamline communication skills and even build stronger relationships. These are all essential components of a happy, productive work life.
Meditation doesn’t have to be complex or intimidating. It can be the simple act of taking a comfortable seat, closing your eyes, and taking deep, measured breaths. You can even adopt a mantra, or phrase you repeat in your mind, such as: “I breathe in. I breathe out.” Use technological tools to your advantage by downloading one of the many meditation apps available online.
4. Get Outside
Spending 15-to-30 minutes outdoors is proven to improve relaxation and enthusiasm as well as eliminate nervousness. Research from Harvard Medical School suggests mood disorders can be lifted by spending more time outdoors. The visual aspects of taking in nature’s beauty, even if it’s a budding tree right outside your office, according to the same research, help distract the mind from negative thinking.
Since Maine has the luxury of being one of the most majestic places to experience nature at its finest, take that break and take advantage! You might enjoy a quick bike ride, see the scenic coast, strike an outdoor yoga pose or even take a half- or full-day rock climbing tour.
There’s no reason for your workday to ever be a drag. By engaging in mindful activities that work for you, whether it’s being outside, in your office, at a local cafe or on a journey inward, carving out the time to put yourself first and live in the now can help every day feel like the weekend. .
— Text: LeeMarie Kennedy. LeeMarie is a multi-niche copywriter, editor and content marketing creator in Boston, Massachusetts. When she’s not meticulously wordsmithing or brainstorming a trending topic, she can be found teaching yoga, wandering the world, drinking fair trade coffee or eating too much cheese.