- Posted Tuesday October 10, 2017
It can be all too easy for all of us to lose some perspective and forget to take care of our mental health. However taking the time to do just that is not only good for our wellbeing, it’s also important for the sustained delivery of the jobs we do.
After recently gaining a diploma in mindfulness, I thought it would be a great opportunity to share some reflections… and maybe even a recipe!
Mindfulness simply means enjoying and appreciating the here and now. More often than not we can get preoccupied with either reflecting on the past or planning for the future - so the present just gets taken for granted.
But as the old adage says:
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift
and that is why they call it the present.
It can be far too easy to get so caught up in a process that you forget to enjoy what you are doing. Mindfulness is about paying attention to positive things too - mindful appreciation is simply paying more attention to five things in your day that usually go unappreciated.
It’s safe to say we all experience frustrations at work, so it’s important to have coping strategies that remind us to enjoy what we do. I have recently discovered two methods that seem to work for me - one is slightly macho and the other a bit less so.
The first one is ‘box breathing’, a calming technique used by members of the Special Forces. If you need to take a timeout during a stressful work day, this is an easy way to grab a few moments of calm and relaxation. If you’re in your office, try sitting straight in your chair with both feet squarely on the floor. After that it’s simply a case of measuring out your breaths to the count of four.
This exercise can be done for a few seconds or as long as three minutes where time permits. It is particularly useful during or after a situation that causes stress, such as a heated telephone discussion or perhaps receiving a confrontational email. If possible, walk away from the situation to the kitchen or rest room. If this is not possible then remain where you are to complete the breathing exercise.
The second technique that works for me is more in the spirit of Mary Berry – spending some time in the kitchen to wind down. Whilst I may not be a master baker I do have a signature bake which I enjoy preparing and can share with you now for your delectation.
So there you have it – a couple of simple things that work for me to help cope with life’s everyday frustrations. I hope they can help you and your practice staff deal with stress and pressures at work that little bit better. Why not give them a try and please share your most effective coping strategies with fellow PMs by posting them in the comments below.
Want some more tips on practicing mindfulness? First Practice Management members can download our Mindfulness Toolkit from the Toolkit section of our Members’ Area. It explains the benefits of mindfulness and includes some great techniques to try out!