Mindfulness sounds great over coffee or on a yoga mat.
Who doesn’t want to be centered, awake, aware and grounded, particularly when it doesn’t cost anything and you’re already breathing.
Of course, work isn’t always as relaxed as hanging out with friends or settling into downward facing dog.
That is a fair amount of time spent behind a desk or confined within a single building.
With this sort of arrangement, it can be difficult to find the space to be creative, motivated, and even mindful.
Luckily, mindfulness is the exact practice that can help push creativity and productivity forward in a seemingly inflexible environment.
Here are five tips to help you find mindfulness during your work day.
Use 10-Minutes of Your Break to Meditate
Studies have shown that a “lasting effect” of meditation is that it improves a person’s focus even when they aren’t meditating. Improved focus can mean improved active listening, which is another useful skill to have, at work and in life.
Taking 10 minutes to meditate is a way to break up your possibly over-scheduled day, focus on your breathing and clear your mind. Here’s a simple 10-minute meditation to get you started.
Choose Snacks and Lunch with Purpose
Part of being mindful is not simply sitting quietly. We can bring mindfulness into all the choices we make throughout the day. Being thoughtful about the foods you eat and how you eat them is another way to practice.
You can help ensure a productive day by choosing meals and snacks that will benefit your performance throughout the day. If it isn’t fueling your body, it probably isn’t a mindful choice. Meal prep time is another opportunity to bring your awareness to a single action and purpose.
Use an Essential Oil Diffuser
Many people have sensitivities to man-made scents including perfume, cologne and the fragrances added to cleaning products. Alternatively, essential oils are all plant based and offer an array of mental and physical health benefits. From soothing nausea, headaches and working to relax feelings of depression, an essential oil diffuser is a great way to introduce another form of grounding and healing into a stressful or unpredictable office environment. Just be sure to check with your office manager to see if anyone has difficulty with airborne smells and if they do, limit your essential oil use to home.
Set a Timer to Stretch
Working sometimes resembles becoming a computer zombie. Your eyes are virtually unblinking, while your hands type frantically unable to stop. This is not always the healthiest for your work or for your wellbeing.
Not only does stopping to stretch help improve your posture, it also helps ease back pain, and increases blood flow that can ease muscle tension and improve your mood. An increased mood means better work and less stress. Set a timer to go off every 30 or 60 minutes during your workday specifically to remind you to stand and stretch. Bonus: Take a walk down your building’s hallway for an extra boost of energy and a quick reboot.
Use Pen and Paper
Digital note taking is the current default for most people in and out of the workplace, however, there is an option that may improve memory and learning.
Taking notes with pen and paper was shown to improve overall learning over typing notes because it “slows you down in a good way.” Slowing down is a pillar of any mindfulness practice and integrating it into the workplace by substituting a notebook for a keyboard is a great way to reduce anxiety and increase focus.
Creating long-lasting lifestyle changes means making a commitment to each specific change. Fortunately, if your goal is to live a more mindful life, it’s easy to bring your mindfulness practice with you to the office. Throughout your day, from morning to night and from home to office, any of the tips above can instantly return you to your breath and that’s the perfect place to settle into for greater happiness and simplicity.
As you continue to practice mindfulness, be sure to check out our Mindful Monday blog posts every Monday to help you along the way.
One of the pioneers of professional organizing and productivity, Andrew Mellen is the best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!. He travels the world speaking, teaching, and coaching individuals and global brands including the New York Mets, Genentech, American Express, Time, Inc. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.