If you’ve read my last few posts, I think I’ve made it pretty clear about where I stand on the whole wellbeing-at-work thing, and employee wellness being disguised with one-off wellbeing days or weeks in an attempt to (well I’m not sure what they’re attempting to do if I’m totally honest).
Anyway, it’s Monday, YAY! Another week ahead of motivating meetings, juicy deadlines, exciting emails, office politics, lovely late nights and early mornings, time-saving lunches at the desk, and all the other delights that come with trying to climb that corporate ladder.
How does this make you feel? Totally fine I hope, but I wouldn’t rule out that for some reading this, it may bring on that knotty feeling in the gut, you know the one, where the chest gets tight, maybe a little short of breath and a racing mind? Some call this Anxiety!
Ok so I know this has all started a bit heavy for a Monday morning, but I can assure you that it doesn’t have to all be doom and gloom. I will attempt to help those feeling the fear by planting a few seeds that I hope will grow into feelings of calm, peace, acceptance and make the rest of the week (almost) a doddle.
I currently work with both individuals and teams to reduce (in the aim of elimination) the stresses and anxiety levels that many experience on a daily basis and not just on a Monday. We work together to find simple ways in which de-stressing practices can be assimilated into your average day without any dramatic changes needing to be made.
Before I go into the practices that are designed to make your week a little easier, I’d really like to emphasise the point on those feelings of stress and anxiety are NOT normal, they are NOT part of having a job and they should NOT be accepted as so. We oftern hear clients say things like… ‘Yeah I’m stressed, buts that’s normal’. This narrative is dangerous and a fundamental cause of the increase in avoidable metal health issues.
This viewpoint keeps us holding on to ‘little stresses’ that may seem quite minor, a little stress that you can deal with. But all of these little stresses got stored. They are the straws piling up towards breaking the poor camels back. Don’t be the camel.
So, here are three easy steps to make the week a little more erm…. For now, let’s just say manageable.
Is to mindfully acknowledge the feeling of stress. recognise it, it’s ok, sit with it for a bit and understand that whatever the external cause was, it’s now your choice on what to do with it.
You have a few options. You can let the stress lead the way and dictate a response (which 9 times out of 10 is an emotional one), or you can bring a little calm back to the mind, logically think about the situation that’s causing the stress. If it’s something you have to do… either do it or don’t. All the stressing in the world won’t change the outcome. If it’s something that’s already happened, it’s already happened, you may amp up your stress 10x if you like, but I can guarantee it still will not resolve anything. So, you choose how you wish to proceed.
The list of possible stress triggers would be too long and quite stressful in itself to read but the principle remains.
The mindful acknowledgment of our stresses is a powerful tool. It allows more control over our actions, our reactions and this positive behaviour change will be noticeable almost immediately. It reduces the size of the ‘thing’ that would usually trigger the stress, but most importantly it will reduce the amount of time your body/mind spends in stress-mode, and lessen the risks from the myriad of health symptoms that stress can lead to. For more on this, have look back on my post from a couple of weeks ago.
It’s all about you, it really is. So step 2 is – ‘time for YOU’. Why wait until the pressure is unbearable before you decide that you need to step outside and take a breather? Try setting a reminder for a 5-10 minute break every 90 – 120 minutes.
You will be amazed at the increase in focus and productivity this brings. Give your mind a break, just like you would need to sit down after running around for hours on end, don’t make your brain do all this leg work without any break, let it take a seat before you put it back on the treadmill.
Remember, this is your mental health we’re talking about, so it’s not to be taken lightly. Here is a lovely explanation that was written by Debbie Hampton about ‘Why you need to give your brain a break‘
Dare I encroach on your personal out-of-office-hours time? I do because this really is where the magic happens, but also where a little graft is needed. At Mind Work, our ethos is the Mind Matters Most, and we all need to understand that it must be treated as so if it’s to be kept fit and healthy.
What’s your meditation? Find it. Sitting in quiet crossed legged for periods of time has tremendous benefits, but let’s just take one step at a time. Find your meditation, find your zen, walk in a park, workout, read something that makes you feel good, build that brain muscle. Going home and watching junk TV like Love Island is literally like taking a dump in your head. Avoid this.
We always hear the term ‘you get out, what you put in’ the mind is no different. I encourage you to think about this seriously. This also means that what goes in needs to come out, like pretty much everything else. So I’m sorry to say that the pub also won’t do you any favours in clearing out the mental negative-junk that your poor brain has consumed throughout the day.
Everyday stresses are stored, and they build up gradually without you noticing, and by the time we do realise we’re stressed/anxious or unhappy, we’re often already in the hole with an uphill to climb ahead of us.
Look, I have supported many people out of some really deep holes, so if you feel that’s where you are then fear not because it is impermanent I promise, there is a way out and it is within your power to get you there, however, prevention is better than cure right? Why wait for the shit to hit the fan before you start making the steps towards improving your mental health, towards personal development, towards being able to live a happier, better-balanced life?
Make the decision to make the change and look into employing these three simple practices into your days. So lets recap:
Mindfully acknowledge the stress/anxiety – Sit with it, understand its cause, react with rational thought.
Give yourself a mental break – Rest the brain often, avoid overworking the mind.
Find your meditation out of the office – Take your mindfulness home with you, find your release, not your suppressant.
Wishing you all a less stressful week ahead. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in contact.
You can email directly via firstname.lastname@example.org