Practicing mindfulness to enhance your wellbeing doesn’t have to be some huge task that takes up a lot of your time or energy.
Here are five little things you can incorporate into your day, whether you’re at your workplace, or working from home.
There’s a common misconception that you need to put aside a good chunk of time, and find a very quiet, secluded place to meditate; but in reality, your desk is just as good a place to meditate as anywhere else. Meditating can be as simple as focusing on your breath for a few minutes.
Whenever you start feeling overwhelmed or stressed, spare a minute or so to focus on taking a deep breath in, and a deep breath out. Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh suggested saying this to yourself as you take deep breaths. “Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out."
You can’t focus on more than one thing at a time, in the same way that you can’t read something on your phone and pay attention to what’s playing on Netflix – you have to pause one or the other and rewind.
Mindfulness is all about bringing your attention to the present moment, so if you feel yourself becoming distracted, don’t get angry with yourself; gently bring your focus back to your breathing.
Take a walk break
A lot of us don’t feel like we can even spare the time to take a lunch break, let alone leave the desk completely, multiple times during the day. But more often than not, leaving a situation and coming back to it after a little while can actually refresh our brain and increase our productivity.
It’s important to give your eyes a break from the screen too. Apparently we blink a lot less when we’re looking at a screen. Take a note of this and see if this is something you notice. We go from looking at our computer screens during work, to perhaps our phones or tablets on the commute home, and then to the television screen at home. We’re constantly consuming information which can be more overwhelming than we realise, until it gets to the point where we start to feel overloaded and/or run down.
Regardless of all this, sometimes a change of scenery is just exactly what we need.
In the chaos that surrounds us we often lose sight of the things that are going well, or the little things that we have to be grateful for. When people hear the term “journal”, it is often associated with some sort of long essay where we pour out our deepest feelings and secrets.
But journalling can be as simple as writing bullet points. Expressing gratitude can help us shift our mindset from a heavy, negative one, to a lighter, positive one. It can also help reminds us that you know what, there’s more to life than work.
Remember, when you focus on the good, the good gets better.
Just because ‘mindfulness’ has the word ‘mind’ in it, it doesn’t mean that it solely focuses on the mental aspect of wellness – your physical wellbeing is just as important.
A lot of us spend most of our workday in the same physical position, whether we’re sitting down or standing up, and our muscles and joints can tense up and become stiff.
Take some time to stretch and loosen up your body, and pay special attention to the body parts that feel tight or ache.
Use a to-do list
Being a multi-tasker isn’t always best for us. Did you know that we can’t technically do more than one thing at the exact same time? Although it feels like it, we’re actually doing the things simultaneously, and are switching between the tasks really, really fast.
Even though we have a million and one things to do, they do not need to be done at exactly the same time. They can’t be. Take things one thing at a time, and break things down into smaller, manageable goals.
At the beginning of each day, create a to-do list for the day; rather than having one huge list of all the things you need to get done in general.
Creating a list can help you stay focussed, especially in the midst of constantly having email notifications pop up in the corner of our screens and colleagues needing last-minute things done ‘urgently’, all of a sudden.
And we can’t forget how satisfying it is crossing off something on a list! Take the small wins; regardless of the size, a win is a win!
Yes, you may have a stressful role or work in a stressful industry, but it doesn’t mean you have to be in a constant state of feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
It’s up to you to take your state of wellbeing into your own hands; and if you really want to, you can start right now.