I don’t know where you work but I imagine that no matter what field you are in, you experience the chaos, high-stress levels and the constant pressure of deadlines that I do. With these demands at work, not to mention what you must do for your family/personal life, I can only imagine the desire to choose multitasking and never saying no as a way to get EVERYTHING done. But be warned, there is science behind the finding that this path will lead to a quick slide into burnout and disliking your job.
As I noted in my self-care post burnout can happen over time, it may progress so slowly that you don’t notice it until you are acting out over something that you normally wouldn’t react to or find yourself not wanting to go into work anymore (the Monday morning blahs every day of the week.)
This should be a sign (hopefully you catch it sooner than later) that you need a change. You need to find time to care for yourself and honor your needs. It can feel like a challenging and often impossible task, so I have created a list of tips and ideas that you can implement today. These are not just for you. Grab your favorite coworker, your “work wife” or “husband”, and do some self-care.
Here are some awesome ideas:
sit at your desk and tune into your breath, take 3-5 minutes to monitor your breathing. Ask yourself have you been breathing from your belly or your shoulders? Have your breaths been long or short? Where are your shoulders (when I am stressed I find they have migrated to ear level. Not good.) How is your posture? Are you holding a posture of dignity (upright but not military straight, finding strength in your belly and rolling your shoulders back and down)?
move your eyes. Look over your computer to an object in the distance then look back. This is a way to check in with the present moment and know you are not lost in cyber space.
take a walk or leave your desk and pace around your cubicle farm or office space.
change the lighting where you sit. There are awesome florescent light covers you can purchase or make yourself to replace with soft lit lamps
use a diffuser and bring your favorite scented oil (I’m a fan of peppermint, lavender and any combo of oils that are designed for stress)
track your water intake throughout the day and replace that time with one less Facebook or Twitter check in. You are more dehydrated than you think. Besides the endless benefits of drinking (http://greatist.com/health/reasons-to-drink-water) multiple glasses of water each day, you will have to pee more, providing you a steady stream (PUN INTENDED!) of bathroom breaks throughout your day.
do some grounding. Ask yourself what does the chair feel like underneath and behind you. Can you feel contact between your feet and the floor? (Take off your shoes!) Do your hands touch the rests on your chair, your desk?
take a bathroom break and hideout for a few minutes. Close your eyes and do some breath work, grounding or body scan to identify where you are holding stress and breathe into that space. (There is some risk in this one, but take the risk!) WHAT RISK? If the bathroom isn’t an option or just not your scene, step outside your building, feel the natural air on your skin and do the same activities that are listed above.
For a longer term goal, get approval to offer a lunchtime mindfulness group. Take 15 minutes to meditate, breathe and decompress. You won’t believe the clarity you will find in your work and personal life that can come with giving yourself a healthy time-out.
For those who are not ready to bring mindfulness to work
Can you notice two new things on your car ride or train ride or walk home that you didn’t notice before?
While fitting mindfulness into your daily routine may sound like a full time job (another lame pun, totally intended), it doesn’t have to be. I know I have come across guides and essays where the author instructs you to be mindful around your home in all of these ways that imply that the author doesn’t work, has a high income and lives somewhere amazing. I am not that author. You’ll find the small windows in your day that you can be present in. This task alone is a mindfulness practice because at this moment your mind is telling you “I dont have any free time during the day.”Im going to guess that you can take 30 seconds to try one of the practices above and do it daily. You can do anything for 10 seconds, let alone 30.
The next week find 60 seconds to be mindful and then see if you can recruit a friend to be mindful with you.
If you share these studies with your boss, you will win them over: You will be a better producer with better quality work if you are able to stay in the moment, take breaks and focus on one task at a time.