By Chris Walling
The pressures of a fast-paced work environment are inextricably linked to stress, which can have a big influence on your personal and professional life. Whether its the weight of achieving monthly self-storage sales benchmarks or overseeing a large project at your facility, finding avenues to mitigate these stressors of the job should be a top priority for any working professional.
There has been a tremendous rise in the popularity of yoga and meditation, as 15.9 million Americans are recognizing the benefits of incorporating a mind-body practice into their work routines. Forming a healthy balance between the personal and professional begins with establishing an inner equilibrium and adopting a meditation or yoga practice that immediately promotes stress relief and cultivates greater resilience, as well as supports overall health.
Theres no reason you shouldnt look forward to work days as much as weekends. By employing the five following practices, you can begin to alleviate the daily physical and mental strains associated with the business sector.
1. Carve Out Time for Yourself in the Morning
Working professionals have become accustomed to the get-up-and-go routine thats synonymous with the U.S. work culture. The day begins with a flurry of alarms, quick swigs of coffee and a hasty shower before its off to work. While many individuals have come to accept these cursory starts to their morning as an unfortunate but integral part of their work week, the reality is rushing out the door sets the tone for a day wrought with tension.
Preserving time upon awakening allows you to focus on what needs to be accomplished in the hours ahead and reconcile your daily aims. As soon as your feet hit the floor, begin with some simple isometric stretching, which aids in resolving somatic stress and loosens your limbs. Allot ample time to go about your regular morning routine, which will establish a pacing for the rest of the day. Theres an intrinsic aversion to setting the alarm a bit earlier to earmark extra time, but the immediate payoff throughout the work day far outweighs the 15 minutes or so spent sleeping.
Yogis call this a sadhana, or a daily morning practice. No matter what you call it, its an evidenced-based approach to establishing greater balance by consciously creating time in a world where there seems to be so little.
2. Establish a Daily Intention and Write It Down
Structure is a key component to attaining balance, so each and every morning should include a definitive intention for the day. After completing your waking-stretching routine, set aside a few moments to outline your goals for the day. This process can be as simple as identifying a few objectives for the work day and making a mental note, or composing a list in a planner or notebook.
The point is, simply blind-firing your way through the day leads to a lack of motivation and purpose, and can ultimately snowball into fatigue and exhaustion. Your intention can be as simple as to be helpful to others, or more complex such as starting or finishing a long-awaited project. Writing it daily allows you to commit to it beyond thinking and move you into doing.
3. Plan Your Meals
Your diet is fundamentally associated with living a vigorous, yogic life. Having the foresight to plan meals throughout the work week as opposed to succumbing to the relative ease of deliveries and drive-throughs instills discipline and provides the appropriate fuel to maintain overall health. Living in a more conscious way and giving your diet the attention it deserves is a central aspect of nurturing your inner equilibrium.
4. Make Time for In-Office Meditation
As a workforce, we spend far too many minutes reacting to external stimuli as opposed to responding to them. The capacity to switch from a reaction to a response is determined by ones ability to self-regulate, which is a physiologically driven factor that can be harnessed with a regular yoga or meditation practice. Three to five times during the work week, designate a time to establish a relationship with silence and conscious breath. The ability to create a parasympathetic response in your body is easily triggered mentally and can do worlds for your inner-office self.
Shutting your office door or finding an unobtrusive location to spend as little as 11 minutes focusing and reflecting on a simple thought such as let go or be here now can provide that centered feeling we enjoy on vacation or during the weekendsmack dab in the middle of your work day. If feasible, take this practice a step further and sign up for a local yoga class near your self-storage facility so you can substitute your typical lunch hour for a 30-minute yoga tune-up series, and a smoothie on the go.
Everyones experienced the physiological reactions that accompany stressful situations at worka racing pulse, sweaty palms and an overwhelming feeling of anxiety. It doesnt have to be that way. Setting aside time to self-regulate by creating a connection with your breath and silence can allay these physical responses and allow you to become far more objective and productive.
5. End the Day With a Grateful Mind
Before you retire at night, just as you set an intention for your day, you should ration five minutes for conscious, gracious reflection. Identify three things you were grateful for about that day and write them down. This practice involves the area of constructive self-talk, and cements the positive mindset that youll carry into the following morning. What you focus on you create more of, and by diverting your attention to what worked, chances are youll experience more of the same.
In a time of economic uncertainty and turmoil, business professionals are clamoring for operative ways to achieve an authentic inner balance. By incorporating these steps, youll begin to transform from the inside out and find the contrast that was once so stark between work and home are now blended into greater consistency. By virtue of the corporate yogi youve become, youll find success both within and without. Namaste.
Chris Walling, a speaker, consultant and former academic medical executive, operates Chris Walling Consulting, a business and personal consulting firm dedicated to empowering leaders to create innovative, creative solutions to today's complex and chaotic business environment. Having expertise in biomedical research and healthcare administration, the company help clients leverage their innate resources amid challenging times and uncertainty. For more information, visit www.chris-walling.com .