“Mindfulness in the Workplace”

I took a class at Kapiolani Women’s Center today called Mindfulness in the Workplace.  I ran out the door, twenty minutes late.  Boy! Did I need this.  I thought I’d share the list we were given as I thought it would be useful.

1. Take a few minutes in the morning to be quiet and meditate – sit or lie down and be with yourself…gaze out the window, listen to the sounds of nature or take a slow quiet walk.
2. After getting in the car – take a minute to quietly pay attention to your breathing or your posture.
3. While driving, become aware of body tension, e.g.:  hands wrapped tightly around the steering wheel, shoulders raised, stomach tight, etc. Consciously work at releasing, dissolving that tension…Does being tense help you to drive better?  What does it feel like to relax and drive?
4. Decide not to play the radio and be with yourself.
5. Stay in the right lane and go within the speed limit.
6. Pay attention to your breathing or to the sky…tress, etc. when stopped at a red light.
7. Take a moment to orient yourself to your workday once you park your car.  Walk mindfully (feel your steps) from your car to your work place.
8. While sitting at your desk, keyboard, etc. monitor bodily sensation – tension levels, again consciously attempting to relax and let go of excess tension.
9. Use your breaks to truly relax rather than simply “pausing.”  For example, instead of having coffee and a cigarette, take a 2-5 minute walk or sit down and recoup or try closing your door and take some time to consciously relax.
10. Be mindful of the activities in the bathroom.
11. Be aware of likes and dislikes mental states without clinging or judging.
12. Decide to “stop” for 1 – 3 minutes every hour during the workday (an hourly chime is helpful).
13. Use the everyday cues in your environment as reminders to be present.  For example, the telephone ringing, time at the computer terminal.  Pause and relax and/or have one or two mindful breaths or simply be mindful of what you are doing.
14. Remind yourself from time to time to be present.
15. At lunch, changing your environment can be helpful.  Chose to eat one or two lunches per week in silence.  Use it as a time to eat slowly and be with yourself.
16. At the end of the  workday, retrace your activities of the day, acknowledging and congratulating yourself for what you’ve accomplished and make a list for tomorrow.
17. Pay attention to the short walk to your car – breathing the crisp air.  Feel your steps, the feeling of the cold or warmth or your body.  Try to accept it rather than resist it.  Listen to the sounds outside the building.  Can you walk without feeling rushed?
18. After getting in the car, feel your breath or y our posture.  Make the transition from work to home – take a moment to simply be – enjoy it for a moment.  Like most of us, you’re heading into your next full-time job – home!
19. While driving, notice if you are rushing.  What does this feel like?  What could you do about it?  Remember you’ve got more control than you might imagine.
20. When you pull into the driveway or park on the street, take a minute to come back to the present.  Orient yourself to being with your family members or friends.
21. Change out of work clothes when you get home; it helps you to make a smoother transition into your next “role”.  You can spare the five minutes to do this.  Say hello to those at home – center yourself at home.  If possible, make the time to take 5-10 minutes to be quiet and still.

Adapted from "List of 21 Ways to Reduce Stress During the Workday" by Saki Santorelli.

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