Mindfulness at Work Simple ways to make your day healthier.
Have you ever got to the office early to get a project finished and then noticed that the clock has tipped past 5pm and you haven't left your desk? Sounds extreme but it is surprising how many people don't leave their desk at busy times even to eat lunch. The question is, are you being productive? Is it even possible to concentrate for hours at a time and maintain the same momentum as the first five minutes of your day? Feeling fatigued after skipping lunch breaks or noticing that your digestion is sluggish when you do eat? Do you notice that your lower back is starting to ache after sitting down at your desk all day? These are all signs that something needs to change. Chronic pain, fatigues and poor digestion don't happen overnight, they creep up on you from poor habits developed over time.
If you can get out of the office to go for a walk at lunch time and sit down to your lunch in complete peace you will find a huge shift in your day. Your endorphins are flowing, you are getting much needed oxygen to your brain and muscles and you are moving your stress out of your body and you are actually able to sit and digest your food efficiently not to mention rest your mind for a moment. While this is an ideal solution, here are 5 simple habits that can be easily applied to a busy schedule will assist not only in creating a much happier body and mind at the end of your day but prevent other health problems and chronic pain.
Breathing is an autonomous action however many of us don't breathe well. We get stressed and tense our muscles unconsciously. We tend to keep our breath shallow when we are anxious which results in less oxygen to the brain. Set an alarm on your phone with a reminder to go off on the hour/half hour. The message can simply say BREATHE. Pause, Close your eyes. Take 3 Full Breaths. Breathe into the back and sides of your rib cage and feel the breath moving deep into your lungs. As you exhale, focus on relaxing your shoulders and letting go of the muscles in your arms and legs. Rpt at regular intervals throughout your day.
Get up. It doesn't have to be for long, simply go for a walk. It can be a lap of your office space or if possible 5 minutes outside in the fresh air. If you are in a high rise why not walk down a flight of stairs and back up. The key is to move your body and remove stagnation. This will allow your body to move out any tension you are holding, clear your head and create better flow in your work day. Notice how you feel when you come back to your computer screen.
While you're up, grab yourself a glass of water. Most of us go through our days dehydrated and wonder why we are getting headaches and feeling lethargic. Your body needs to stay hydrated to work efficiently and you will notice a big difference in your productivity when you've been drinking water over too many cups of coffee.
You can do this very simply at your desk or combine it with your MOVE around the office. Start by adding 3 minutes when you arrive at work, 3 minutes mid-morning and 3 minutes at 3pm (the common time for an energy slump). You can set an alarm on your phone or download an app. like the mindfulness app and put on a silent timer that will chime a bell when your time is complete. Simply close your eyes and take yourself off to your most favourite escape. It can be the ocean, the outback or a beautiful mountain top. Don't be concerned if you feel distracted or your mind-chatter is loud just keep gently bringing yourself back to that day-dream space. By allowing your mind to take regular breaks you are more likely to stay focused when you need to and think more clearly throughout your day.
Skip lunch often? There are solutions that you can ensure you keep your body nourished. We all have those days where we are back to back in meetings and there just isn't a gap for a proper lunch. Pack some healthy snacks to have on hand for those days and make them easily accessible. Dry snacks like nuts and seeds can be kept permanently at your desk or in the glove box for emergency sustenance. When you do sit down to eat your lunch take a couple of moments to BREATHE and feel a sense of gratitude for the food that you have taken time to prepare (or quickly purchase). By pausing momentarily before eating, particularly when you are rushed and hungry may ease your digestion and allow you to really nourish your body with food.
Set yourself a challenge to make these 5 habits a must for the next week and notice what happens to your workflow and productivity. By taking simple actions and committing to implement them into your day you are not only going to increase your productivity but prevent yourself from burning out when life gets busy.
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