Learn simple ways to incorporate mindfulness into your workday to reduce stress, increase focus, and feel more balanced even when you’re busy.
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7 Ways to Practice Mindfulness at Work
Who isn’t stressed out these days? There are so many people trying to juggle work and home. With all the never-ending tasks, notifications, meetings, and family stuff, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning. But practicing mindfulness at work is a secret weapon you can unleash whenever you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Here are seven ways to sneak mindfulness into your workday, and the best part is that you don’t need a special meditation room or equipment.
Wake up each morning and start your day with gratitude. It can be tempting to complain about how much you hate your job and dwell on all the negativity at work. Those thoughts are normal. It’s a negativity bias we all have, but you can turn off that kind of thinking by being grateful for everything that you have, including your job.
For example, if your salary isn’t what you want it to be, it’s better than no check at all, right? Maybe you don’t like your boss, but your co-workers are cool, and you enjoy hanging with them daily. Focus on that. Practicing gratitude regularly helps build resilience. Instead of getting anxious or down in the dumps about the stuff you don’t like at work, feed your brain some positive vibes.
Mindfulness exercises train your brain to be more aware, present, and non-judgmental. And guess what? You don’t need to set aside 30 minutes or even five minutes for these exercises. Just a quick one-minute exercise focusing on one of your senses can do the trick. Try out the quick 4-7-8 breathing exercise now.
1. Close your eyes or pick something to stare at.
2. Breathe in for a count of four.
3. Hold your breath for seven counts.
4. Exhale slowly for eight counts.
5. Breathe deep from your belly.
6. Stop whenever you feel inner peace and calm.
When work has you feeling on edge or stressed out, a short mindfulness exercise like the 4-7-8 method can help you find your zen. The end result? Even if you don’t live in one of the most relaxed cities in the U.S., you can find peace of mind in your own workspace or home office.
Be a Single-Tasker
Forget multi-tasking. What about single-tasking? The practice involves focusing on one thing at a time instead of trying to juggle a million things at once. Truthfully, nobody is good at multi-tasking, and it’s just more stressful trying to handle too many things.
Single-tasking allows you to delve deeper into your work and achieve higher levels of focus and creativity. Ultimately, you will accomplish tasks more efficiently while feeling less stressed. Instead of celebrating busyness with the rest of the world, be a single-tasker and create a more balanced and purposeful work environment.
Take a Lunch Break
It might be tempting to power through your day glued to your desk. But whether you work from home or in the office, take time to eat lunch, and more importantly, do nothing but eat during this time. Don’t read those emails or check your phone, and don’t even think about work.
Eating your lunch recharges your mind and gives you the energy you need to finish your day strong. As a bonus, your lunch break gives you time to socialize with your colleagues and strengthen your workplace relationships, which creates a more positive and mindful atmosphere.
Take Clarity Breaks
Clarity breaks are a great mindfulness tool to incorporate into your workday. A quick 15-minute walk will re-energize your thoughts while you’re on the clock. This is also a good time to pop in some earbuds and listen to a short podcast or your favorite jam.
Taking afternoon showers has become popular with the work-from-home crowd. People say taking a shower at midday refreshes them. Giving yourself a breather can seriously boost your concentration, raise your awareness, and zap that afternoon slump. It’s like a mental spa day for your brain.
Vow to be present while you’re at work. Take a few minutes before you dive into your tasks to give yourself a pep talk and set the day’s expectations. Mindfulness work requires giving your full attention to the task at hand while keeping your emotions in check.
If you’re writing a report, remain focused on that report and don’t think about anything else, including deadlines or other things happening at work. If those thoughts pop into your head, steer your mind back to the task at hand. Try the 4-7-8 breathing exercise or take a clarity break to reset your mind.
Most of us are in a “go, go, go” mentality and rest often takes a back seat. But rest isn’t a luxury. Prioritizing rest is necessary for our physical and mental health. If you have PTO at work, take it. It decreases your chance of burnout and increases your job satisfaction.
It is easy to overlook the importance of downtime, especially for remote workers. Oftentimes, you won’t take time off because you are already at home, but it is good to unplug from work. Use your paid time off to relax and rest your mind and maybe binge-watch that Netflix show parked in your queue.
Sometimes it may feel like work is a never-ending place of stress, but don’t despair. Follow these easy mindfulness tips and set yourself up to have a productive and good day on purpose.
Tammy has an extensive background in journalism, media relations, social media strategy, marketing, and brand management. She resides in Michigan with her family which includes her two sons and their Goldendoodle, Max. In her free time, she loves to read and travel.