No matter what you do for a living, work can be stressful.
Office politics, looming deadlines, exhaustion, your overflowing inbox, and your morning commute can trigger many common mental health problems. Dealing with work-related situations can often make it feel like stress is hiding around every corner.
In a culture in which we spend most of our waking hours at work, it’s extremely important to make sure we build wellness and mindfulness into our average workdays and not just save it for the weekends.
Luckily, there are some easy ways to find small moments throughout the day to increase mindful practices and, in turn, wellness. Let’s take a look at some simple ways you can bring mindfulness to your workplace.
1. Ring A Mindfulness Bell
One of the biggest obstacles to mindfulness is actually remembering to be mindful. That’s where a mindfulness bell can come in handy. The bell itself can be anything from a phone alarm to a physical handbell that someone rings at various times throughout the workday.
Designate one person in your office to ring the bell, or rotate the duty weekly. Ringing the bell indicates that everyone should take a few minutes to completely peel their eyes away from their work, just breathe, and center themselves.
Collectively practicing meditation as an office can really help unify employees and bring about a sense of togetherness.
2. Utilize Alternative Workspaces
No matter what your office workspace looks like, chances are, not everyone thrives in it. Some employees prefer an open floor plan with no barriers, while others crave a bit of separation. Different people work in different ways and need different things in order to be happy and productive.
Offering alternative workspaces is a great way to give employees options that fit their needs. Offices can supplement open floor plans with quieter rooms. This way, employees can move between the rooms at will to maximize their mindfulness.
If it’s possible, designate a special technology-free area in your office for quiet reflection. Visit this space when you need to get in touch with your Zen side or just need some simple peace and quiet.
Spending even a few minutes an alternative space can leave you feeling refreshed, mentally rebooted, and ready to approach your work again with a clear head.
3. Incorporate Movement
Since exercise can help to ease anxiety, adding movement into your workday is a great way to both alleviate your anxiety and also increase mindfulness.
Yoga and stretching are great ways to incorporate mindful movement into your workday. According to Medical News Today, “Just 25 minutes of yoga or mindfulness… improve[s] brain function and boost[s] energy levels … ”
This means that a comprehensive mindfulness program in the office would likely boost worker productivity and wellness.
Ask your co-workers to go on a group walk near your office or if you prefer, take a solo stroll to spend some time checking in with yourself. Be sure to do some deep, mindful breathing (which is good for brain health) during your walk or yoga session to maximize the benefits of movement.
4. Avoid Multitasking
Every worker knows that sometimes, you can’t avoid multitasking. But, the days of thinking that the more things you’re doing at once, the better, are over. The fact is that multitasking does not increase productivity. You’ll be much more productive if you mindfully work on one task at a time. The same principle applies to your breaks at work. Use them to unplug and recharge, not to scroll through your personal social media accounts while mindlessly chomping on a snack.
5. Practice Gratitude
When you’re feeling stressed or distracted, it can be very easy to focus on negative things.
A deadline is coming up, and you’re not even close to done with your project. Your co-workers are talking loudly near your desk, and you can’t focus. Your lunch is just a plain, old, boring PB&J.
When you feel that negativity creeping up or simply need a mental boost, try practicing gratitude. Take a piece of paper and a pen and write down three things you’re grateful for. It could be anything from the beautiful view outside your office window to the supportive encouragement a co-worker gave you.
Anything that helps you feel grateful is fair game for your gratitude list. Staying mindful of the good things in life is key to wellness and also to a positive and productive workplace.
6. Eat Away From Your Desk
It’s very difficult to be a mindful eater when you’re focusing on your phone’s screen instead of on your food. Eating lunch at your desk can be tempting, but it’s not a healthy or productive habit. Mindful eating is a must for maintaining health and wellness.
Use your lunch break to find a nice place to sit — away from your work — and mindfully enjoy your food. Pay attention to your meal without doing anything else. Your body and your brain will thank you.
Mindfulness is an essential part of any employee wellness program. Mindfulness reduces stress, which makes workers more productive and happy and therefore, more likely to regularly contribute great work to a company in the long-term.