Mindfulness, WFH and social distancing
It’s a strange time to be working and studying right now. The events and activities that usually made up most of our days have gone digital, and our social lives are now basically reliant on a good internet connection, social media, and finally nailing your perfect selfie angle for those video calls. It also means that we’ve lost some of those boundaries between work and home. It still feels a little weird to clock off for the day when that basically just means taking your laptop from your desk to your couch.
So now that all these notifications, alerts and txts have become a bigger part of our workdays and we’re being actively encouraged to look at our phones more, how can we stay cool as a cucumber when it’s harder than ever to switch off?
What is mindfulness?
‘Bah, new age mumbo-jumbo!’ I hear you cry (in that strange, scratchy fake-old-person voice I’ve decided to mentally give you for this exercise). Wrong! Mindfulness can actually be a really great tool to keep you productive and switched on while working, and can help you set up the mental space to step away when the day is done.
Google dictionary – aka the most reliable source known to man – describes mindfulness as: ‘a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.’
Basically, it’s all about drowning out the distractions and being centred within yourself, your body and your current task. A little bit like at the end of a yoga class, when you’re doing shavasana and the instructor slowly drones to you to ‘focus on your toes’ and ‘wiggle your fingers’ – that feeling of being at peace within yourself, while still being acutely aware.
3 mindfulness tips for when you’re working or studying from home
You should be doing it anyway, but taking a few minutes out of your day to do some deep breathing exercises is a great way to chill your nervous system out and focus.
Here’s a good 15-minute exercise you can try when you need to re-centre yourself and work through stress.
While you may no longer have to travel anywhere, for a lot of us the morning commute is a dedicated time to listen to podcasts, read, catch up on group chats, and basically just do something you enjoy that lets you be in your own head for a bit.
Rather than waking up 10-minutes before you’re meant to start your day, try to schedule your day to give yourself some of that ‘commute’ time to do something stress-free before logging on. It can help your brain still get those sweet relaxation endorphins so you’re less likely to be distracted and can focus when work starts.
Take walking and stretch breaks
You won’t be moving around as much when you’re stuck at home, so you may find yourself feeling more restless which can make focusing even more difficult than normal.
Try to set a little alarm every hour or so to take a walk around the house, or some desk stretches. If you have capacity to go for a walk or jog around your garden or local park to burn some excess energy then even better!
These are just a couple of the numerous ways you get into a mindful head space, but if you want more tips and exercises here are a few great articles to help you out:
- 10 Mindfulness Techniques to Practice at Work
- 21 Mindful Habits You Can Adopt Today
- How mindfulness can help during the coronavirus outbreak
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
By Mia Casey