7 Top Tips For Wellbeing In The Workplace!
Mindfulness and well-being in the workplace have never been more important. Our work environment and pressure can start to seriously compromise our basic human needs, running us down and making us inefficient, irritable and jaded. Here I introduce my top 7 tips for staying in top form!
1. Take breaks from your screen & expose yourself to natural light
Computer (and phone) screens irritate the hypothalamus of the brain, keeping the nervous system over-stimulated. We become entranced and immersed with the screen after short periods of time, losing connection with our body sensations.
Hungry? Tired? Thirsty? These and other creative needs keep you balanced, but after 20 minutes you lose awareness of these.
Once we have taken a break from our screen, we have the benefit of being reconnected with our feelings, along with some time to regenerate ourselves. And just think about how much time flies by whilst sat at a screen! Is this how you want your life to go by?
As for the natural light – glass filters out the spectral rays that need to hit your retina, so you must get outside into daylight for your body & mind to recognise daytime!
2. Quality sleep
It sounds absurd to discuss sleep in the same article on work habits, but the reality is we work late – sometimes very late. As we discussed in point 1, we can often end up spending longer on the screen than expected. Due to the aforementioned irritation of the hypothalamus, your nervous system can actually take hours to switch off – even after falling asleep! The result is much less energy the next day.
Try to stay away from ‘blue screen’ devices a couple of hours before sleep and engage with an old school approach such as picking up a book.
Eating before bed also leaves the body processing while you are trying to switch off – so try to avoid food a couple of hours before.
Mindfulness is the ‘glue’ and overarching quality that makes the rest of this article possible. Without increasing awareness of what you’re doing, how can you be conscious of taking a break or that you are tired and need to move? What about the need to talk to a fellow human to become re-energised and refocus on work?
Mindfulness brings you back to your senses – literally. We spend a lot of time in our ‘left brain’ intellectual capacity, and lose touch with our ‘right brain’ senses and creative capacity. This presents a danger, with the conceptual part of our brain creating stories and plans that our instincts don’t actually agree with and our body can’t keep up with. Basically, we end up being lost in thought and don’t notice our senses starting to shout with pain, exhaustion and emotional distress!
Mindfulness comes in many forms – when you put your attention back into your body, it starts to rebalance itself and bring you back to your senses.
Every now and again when you have moments of self-awareness between periods of concentration, choose wisely about what you do with your attention. Put it into your body, senses and particularly your breath which has numerous benefits, leading us nicely on to the next point…
Stress will inhibit and constrain your breathing pattern, affecting our subtle perception and emotion. The more severe the stress, the more we tend to ‘hold’ our breath. In a state of tension, your adrenals switch on in various degrees of fight or flight, almost like your abdomen freezes – literally holding your breath. There are numerous ill effects of this, not least on how it impacts your digestion.
To break the cycle as noted above, catch your moment of self-awareness and put your attention immediately to your breath and in turn, this will tell you all you need to know about your state and how stressed you are, stimulating your ‘right brain’ and calming the nervous system, activating a relaxation response.
Try it right now! Drop your attention down to your abdomen (pro tip: focus on a point about two finger widths beneath your belly button) and notice what happens – your breathing immediately deepens. Thankfully, you are also giving yourself some quality attention, which is soothing. This also increases your subtle radiance and the sense of presence to those around you.
Movement is important to rescue your posture from being moulded into the shape of a chair. Organs also require movement in order to function most efficiently by dispersing a sense of restlessness and pent-up emotions that get ‘stuck’ in the body.
Movement also starts to re-balance the body’s natural Yin/Yang polarity. To be healthy, we need distinct periods of activity which help to facilitate periods of deep rest and vice-versa.
6. Relaxation: amplified stress creates the need for amplified relaxation!
As someone who spends large periods of time living both in the exquisite peace of nature and the exquisite chaos of the urban world, you must believe me when I say residing in a city alone is stressful. The pollution, the noise, the discordant electromagnetic energy (see below) and the sheer density of people compromising your personal space can grind you down – and that’s before the work pressures, deadlines and transport issues!
Our default stress level is already on high, so you need to concentrate on relaxation time. 20 minutes of deep relaxation can be equal to 4 hours sleep (some yogic sages state it’s even higher) – that kind of regeneration will certainly leave you in a sharper state the next day!
Find yourself a yoga class that has a strong relaxation component and enjoy!
7. Get out into nature and embrace negative ions!
The air around us is full of ion particles (you can even see them sometimes as tiny sparks in the air when the light catches them). In a natural setting, these ion particles have a nice, refreshingly negative charge. There tends to be a particular proliferation of them where there is running water. Think about how refreshing it is near a waterfall, or even when you’ve had a shower.
Pollutants in the air, technological devices and air conditioning tend to turn these ion particles into having a positive charge, creating a subtle sense of irritation. Think of a stuffy air-conditioned office in a polluted city and you should start to see the picture!
The remedy is to get regular periods of time in nature to reset your balance and help you refresh.
So we have a rather neat summary!
- Take regular breaks from your screen which enables you to come back to your senses.
- In these moments of self-awareness, you can breathe deeply and make choices to regularly get out of the office, such as for lunch, where you get some natural light.
- While outside try and access a natural environment, such as a park, or pass through one on your way home, via your yoga class a couple of times per week of course
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