When it comes to practicing self-care and mindfulness, you don’t need to wait until the weekend to reset your body and your mind. In fact, there are many mindfulness exercises that you can do even during a busy day at work. Here’s how to practice mindfulness in the office.
1. Clock in with positive affirmations.
How you begin the day shapes your energy, mood, and productivity levels. Create a personal mantra and tack it to your cubicle, or perhaps choose an inspirational quote to display at your desktop.
When you arrive at work, quietly recite these affirmations to yourself. Repeat it throughout the day, especially while you’re working on a deliverable or after a particularly stressful meeting.
Speaking to yourself with compassion and kindness—even when you do not necessarily feel like it—is essential to managing stress and emotional health.
2. Reset with breathing exercises.
Feeling anxious? Sluggish? Or maybe you just can’t focus? If you catch yourself struggling with these early into your workday, try taking a few minutes to practice mindful breathing.
Equal parts breathing, for example, helps soothe and calm the nervous system, reduce stress levels, and restores equanimity back into the breath. Squeeze in 1 or 2 minutes of your day to focus on your breath.
3. Check in with your senses.
An effective way to ground yourself is observe your surroundings and the sensations that you feel. If you’re drinking your morning cup, really focus on the aroma and flavor of your coffee.
If you’re simply sitting at your desk, notice how your body feels against your chair or how your fingers feel typing at the keyboard.
To really connect with your body, try doing 5 to 10 minutes of chair yoga. Not only will it help unwind your spine, but it’ll also help you feel more centered. Invite a colleague to practice with you too.
4. Have a slow, mindful lunch.
Even if you’ve got only 30 minutes for your lunch break, try to eat with awareness and appreciation of your food. Take small bites and chew slowly, appreciating each flavor and fragrance that you experience as you take your lunch.
Really focus on your meal while you’re eating. It might be difficult if you usually have lunch with your colleagues, but you can try this the next time you’re able to sneak in a little bit of alone time.
5. Observe your thoughts.
Stress, anxiety, and fatigue can create negative thought patterns. Instead of immediately reacting to these and going on a downward spiral, try observing your thoughts instead. Take a minute or two to sit back and watch your thoughts.
Although your career might take up significant space in your life, do remember that it isn’t the totality of your life. Know that you have to power to observe, detach, and come back to yourself at any point in the day.