No matter where you are in life, you can never go wrong with a well thought out plan. Whether it be your extensive travel itinerary to some far-flung country, or your grocery list for the week. Having a plan helps set the tone, helps you determine what is deemed as necessary or unnecessary and ultimately helps you reach your intended goal.
As remote workers, we may ask ourselves, in what ways can having a plan benefit me holistically? We can all agree that even when working from home, the stress is still present. Now, what is the best way to formulate a plan that could aid you in achieving more mindfulness and less stress at work?
Mindfulness, what is it?
Mindfulness is being in the present. It is being aware of what is happening here and now. Mindfulness is reacting and interacting with the world in a state of consciousness that allows us to reach a level of calm regardless of the chaos.
How does mindfulness help us manage stress better? Studies have shown that mindfulness is especially effective for reducing stress, anxiety and depression. By doing this, we help ourselves manage stress in ways that are calmer and more professional at work.
Here is your one-week mindfulness plan that will change how you manage stress.
Monday: Pick an activity and be aware of it.
For discussion’s sake, let us use your first meal on Monday as your intentional awareness activity. Be aware of what you are eating, pay attention to the details, the colors, take note of the aroma, and how it tastes. Tune out and be aware of your first Monday meal, have that delicious 20 minutes to yourself and learn the art of creating a peaceful thought bubble.
Tuesday: Sit Properly and Meditate
The next day, channel all your energy into sitting upright and properly. Focus on your breathing and be aware of how your posture contributes to the releasing of tension in your body. You sit, close your eyes, and focus your attention to your breathing while noticing thoughts, sensations, and feelings. Do this in an undisturbed place for 45 minutes and watch yourself feel more at ease afterwards.
Wednesday: Do Mindful Yoga
Yoga is in the center of most mindfulness practices. Yogic mantras focus on the intentional movement of the body in poses that contract the muscles and facilitate deep breathing. Tune in to how your muscles contract, and keep in mind the rhythm of all your deep breathing. For people who aren’t used to tight and heavy yoga, flow yoga or stretch yoga would be a perfect choice, especially for night shift workers who just seek to wind down.
Thursday: Practice Responding Versus Reacting
We have all been there. That sudden rush, and surge of anger or needing to be right. The uncontrollable urge to react with aversion or sadness to an event that doesn’t deserve our energy, but somehow manages to take it anyway. Instead of feeling this, do the S.T.O.P. method: Stop whatever you are doing, Take a deep breath, Observe your emotions, Plan your next steps then proceed.
Friday: Practice Facing Emotions
Once we successfully manage to understand how to react, we can slowly face how we feel with kindness and compassion. Most people normally turn to distractions to avoid negative emotions but sitting in them and allowing yourself to feel these emotions without prejudice aids us in building emotional resilience and flexibility. Mindfully release yourself from doing anything when you feel sad, angry, frustrated, or disappointed. Sit properly, take a few deep breaths, ask yourself: “What can I do to show up for myself right now?” and think of whatever affirming statements you have, and say it repeatedly either out loud or silently in your head until the negative feelings calibrate better.
Saturday: Practice Mindful Communication
By this time, we have experienced being able to respond versus react, sit in our emotions, and practice mindfulness methods to help us reach a more balanced state of being. Now, we can slowly work on communicating with others in a way that is more mindful. Learn to listen and observe each time you have a conversation with someone. Take note of their body language, their tone of voice, and the way they respond to you. Take a few seconds to sift through words that can be appropriate for the conversation, and really invest in the conversation and where it is going.
Sunday: Practice Compassion
Compassion and being present, is the end-goal of mindfulness. Compassion for others, for all sentient beings, and compassion for yourself in moments of silence. Compassion as an offshoot of mindfulness is a powerful construct that aids a person in being centered even during chaos. This is a soft skill that is so important these days.
Extra Activity: Plan this Into Your Schedule
The above-mentioned steps were lifted and adapted from the 8-Week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Therapy Plan created by Dr. John Kabat-Zinn in the 1970S. The program was created and proven to reduce stress and develop ease during chaos for multiple individuals. While the 8-week plan seems more comprehensive, we summarized them all into a seven-day mindfulness plan that is just as efficient.
May is mental health awareness month and at Rocket Station, we place immense value in the mental health of every Rocketeer. This month, we will be tackling topics that delve deeply into mental health for the remote worker and the things we can do to aid in nourishing and caring for one’s mental health.
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