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How To Bring Mindfulness Into Your Work Life

by Amy Collins

Mindfulness at work has never been more important. As work continues to become a much bigger part of our lives, it gets harder and harder to find the off button. We work longer hours, we take it home with us on our computers and phones, and for those of us who work for ourselves, we feel the need to be constantly working. But as well as our deadlines, we need to remember to look after ourselves. Mindfulness doesn’t have to wait for the yoga mat. Here are some of our tips for becoming more mindful and present at the office, and once you’ve left it.

Complete one task at a time

Often we sit at our computers or desks trying to multitask, hoping that will lead to greater productivity. We’re writing something, reading something else, trying to think of ideas for something completely unrelated, and answering emails. And probably checking some sort of phone or social media platform at the same time. What’s getting done here? Usually nothing, but our stress mounts because we’re working hard and nothing is getting finished.

Set yourself a time limit and do one task for that amount of time. Start with 30 minutes if you’re feeling really stressed about stopping everything else. You’d be surprised how much more you can get done when the mind can have time to focus on one task at hand. If you find self-control hard, there are a number of apps you can install that make your computer remove any distraction, this helps you keep on track. 

Set a reminder in your phone every hour to breathe

Often we have so much to do, we are head down and bums up all day without sitting back to think about how we’re feeling. But did you know that three deep breaths can change how you feel in a moment? Set a reminder in your phone every hour. When it goes off, stop what you’re doing, close you’re eyes and inhale for the count of four, exhale for the count of four, and repeat at least three times. Five or ten if you can.

Go outside at lunchtime

Being in nature (or even just sunlight if you frequent the concrete jungle) can be so beneficial in helping us become more grounded in the present moment. If you work in an office, take your lunchtime to get outside. Even if it’s just for five minutes (you can’t say you don’t have five minutes) and sit in the sun. If you can, maybe even go for a stroll. It’s not about exercise; it’s about moving and being outdoors.

Take five minutes twice a day to stretch at your desk (or wherever it is you work)

Often our working life can take its toll on our physical body as well, especially if we’re sitting down for long periods of time. Set an alarm twice a day (because you’ll forget) to simply stretch. Maybe it’s a simple neck stretch, or maybe it’s a quad stretch to help open the front of the hips. Whatever you think the body needs, do that. It helps to remind us that our bodies get impacted from our day and it’s important to do what we can to remedy that.

Switch off when you leave or set limits for yourself 

Set time frames for when you are at work and when you’re not. If you work at an office or work for someone else, when you leave, turn your work emails and calls off (unless you’re a doctor on call, please keep yours on). If you work for yourself, give yourself hours that you shut off completely.