Now more than ever, we need to make sure we’re maintaining our mental health and wellbeing, and one way to do that in the workplace is with mindfulness. You may be worried about the pandemic or feeling overwhelmed and stressed with everyday life, and that’s completely valid. It’s why we’ve gathered these mindful workplace tips and tricks to help until things return to a semblance of normal.
Let’s see if being mindful can increase your productivity, improve your mental health and help you cope with the challenges of the day…
What is mindfulness?
Being mindful is having an awareness of the world around you and paying attention to how it makes you feel. It’s a way we can take stock of our lives and work to improve our stress, anxiety, mental health and wellbeing.
“Mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.” Professor Mark Williams
10 ways to be mindful at work
1. Be present and aware
This is what the mindfulness practice is all about. Focus on the task at hand and try not to think about the office gossip, the mess around you that you can’t control and the next job you’ve got to do. If you find your mind drifting, reassess, acknowledge the thought and refocus your attention.
Just be present in the moment focusing on the task at hand – Whether you’re writing a new report or disinfecting the office kitchen – whatever you are doing, just focus on it and try to block out the rest.
2. Train your brain with mindful activities
Taking part in mindfulness exercise is a great way to recentre yourself and calm your mind. If you’ve got time on your break or after work, then a yoga or tai-chi session is a great mindful exercise, but there are shorter, more time-friendly practices you can do.
Meditation is one – it focuses on relaxation as well as paying attention to your thoughts and senses to block out all unwanted noise and thoughts to help you calm down. There are other mindfulness activities you can do too – here’s a short course that might help.
3. Say no to multitasking
While it might seem to be useful and give you an accomplished feeling, single-tasking is much better for your mental health and wellbeing. And multitasking has been called a myth as all you’re doing is quickly switching between jobs and stressing yourself out.
Stick to one job or task and use some mindful activities to help you refocus.
4. Set reminders
Mindfulness is all about remembering to focus on the task at hand, but it’s so easy to forget that and drift off into thoughts of other things.
“People spend 46.9% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing…” Research from Harvard University
One way to tackle this forgetfulness is to set reminders on your phone to take 30 seconds to recentre and refocus your mind. It’ll help bring your mind out of the foggy mindless state and bring you out of auto-pilot to be present in the moment.
5. Take your time
When deadlines are looming, it’s all go-go-go to meet them, but the panic, stress and anxiety you can experience when working that hard can be massively detrimental. It’s just a waste of energy and can result in mistakes to rush to get things done. So, how about instead you stop for a minute, do some mindfulness exercises and get right back on it with your freshly-renewed awareness and focus?
6. Accept the stress
Life isn’t stress-free, this year has taught us that if nothing else, so why fight and fear it? Accepting the fact that you may be stressed and changing the way you perceive and react to it might benefit you in the long run.
Did you know? 74% of people have at some point felt so stressed that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
Do you get tense, tired or experience headaches? Do you feel unwell? Noticing these reactions and therefore noticing you’re stressed is a great way to manage and gain control of it. Then you can employ some mindfulness exercises to refocus.
7. Be thankful for what you have
Don’t dwell on the negatives of a situation or task, think about the good things you can be grateful for. For example, your new project may be time-consuming, but maybe you’re working with a new team or learning something new? You might find the management meetings dry, but you’re finding out about the other departments. You may not even like your job, but aren’t you grateful for the money?
There’s always something to be thankful for in your work, so find joy in the little things and don’t dwell on the bad.
8. Be humble
Don’t focus and put too much weight on your achievements, instead, show humility, listen and give equal praise and attention to others as you do yourself. You need to look at those around you and be present with them as well as yourself. No one is more important or superior to someone else and being mindful of this will certainly help improve your working experience.
9. Allow yourself to be accepting
Accepting yourself as you are and becoming comfortable in your skin is all part of your mindfulness journey. And accepting mistakes is just as important. If you’ve gone over budget or a member of the team has forgotten to do something, don’t dwell on it and run it over and over again in your mind. Just accept the error and deal with it because there’s no use blaming anyone or raising tensions, just move on and save the energy for something else.
10. Don’t be afraid of growth
People generally have a fixed or growth mindset – they’re either happy with their levels of intelligence and skills, or they actively seek to learn and develop themselves. Those with a growth mindset put in the effort to improve themselves and are open to opportunities. They’re open to possibilities, which is at the core of practising mindfulness.
Mindfulness is all about your mental health and wellbeing. It’s a way to manage your anxiety and stress to become accepting of yourself, your co-workers and of the situation around you. If you can use meditation and mindfulness exercises to get there, then the workplace may seem that bit brighter.
Writtenn by Debbie Woodliffe
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