Our western culture, puts a large emphasis on staying busy, productivity, and accomplishing. This has served our economy, but it has wreaked havoc on our emotional and physical lives. The below studies show some of the repercussions of our current lifestyle.
The European Agency for safety and health reports that stress is the primary factor for 50% of absenteeism. Stress is also acknowledged responsible for over 75% of doctor visits by the American Institute of Stress in NY.
Additionally, stress is the primary reason for people not exercising regularly, falling off from healthy eating, and engaging in unhealthy behaviors. In general, when we are stressed we seek sugary or high fat foods to bring energy into the body and we often drink and smoke more to numb and distract. Stress often creates more anxiety, thus making it harder to sleep and then also making it harder for us to see the good in our life.
Mental stress is usually associated with worry, negative thinking, depression, and anxiety. When these are combined with physical stress symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, and/or upset stomach it can be very hard to achieve health and well-being.
When we are under chronic stress, this can negatively impact our adrenal glands, which over long periods of time can make us more susceptible to high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and depression. However, one can restore healthy adrenal gland function by carving out time for self care.
As a wellness consultant, I work with individuals and organizations on how to foster more self care in and out of the workplace. One of my areas of expertise is creating a more mindful culture at work. It is shown that the more breaks we take during the workday, the more creative and productive we are. Please read below and you will learn some of the tips I teach in my mindfulness curriculum.
You can take a break anywhere and feel good about it. Here’s how:
First you need to recognize when you feel you need a break. Examples of this might :
- you recognize the creative juices aren’t flowing as they were
-or you are just feeling too wound up to sit at your desk anymore.
Second, you take a break
It’s time for a break!
- Take a tea break
Get up from your desk and make yourself a cup of tea, smell the aromas, and enjoy drinking your tea slowly.
- 3 mindful breaths
In this exercise, you can stop and take 3 conscious in breaths and 3 conscious out breaths, just paying attention to your breath. he world has a chance to open up to us in that gap. We can allow space into our state of mind.
- Eat your lunch outside
Taking a break in the middle of the day will help you be more productive later on. Take your lunch away from your desk. Eating it around nature, let’s you be more present of your natural surroundings and allows you a pause from the rest of your to do list.
- Sing a song
All you need is one. Singing often allows us to be in the moment, happy, and open to our surroundings.
- Walk mindfully
Just as with sitting meditation, walking meditation can be done anywhere and helps to allow one create a gap in their day. Allow yourself to slow down your pace and say to yourself “Breathing IN and Breathing OUT” or “I am walking, I am breathing.”
- Take a stretch break
You can do some simple stretches throughout the day or even find a yoga class to attend.
- Take an afternoon workout break
Sometimes taking a longer break in the afternoon can allow you to come back to work with lots of new ideas and more energy.
- Take mindful eating moment
Take a break up for a little sustenance and let yourself focus just on the taste, texture, and enjoyment of what you are eating.
- Use a mindful mantra to purify the mind and heart
If you find you are feeling edgy during the day, all is needed is a small mantra such as “May I be calm” You can say this to yourself for a minute or two and see how you feel afterwards. You can incorporate any kind of mantra that will be helpful.
- Learn the pause practice
You can do this anywhere, when you are brushing your teeth, when you are washing up, etc. Just pause and be where you are!
- Take a play break
Let yourself shift out of serious mode to play, you can allow the energy to loosen and free up any tension. Play is associated with physical, intellectual, and social-emotional development at all ages. The Greater Good magazine published an article by David Elkind about the importance of play-