"Recall that in a line six inches long, there are infinite numbers of points, and in a line one inch long there are just as many. Well, then, how many moments are there in fifteen minutes, or five, or ten, or forty-five? It turns out we have plenty of time, if we are willing to hold any moments at all in awareness."
-- Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Wherever You Go, There You Are”
In a time where it is difficult to find the line where work-life ends and family-life begins, how can we remember to slow down and bring awareness to our moments? The answer: mindfulness.
Here are three simple ways to incorporate mindfulness at work into your daily routine.
1) Be Intentional in Your Thoughts and Actions
The idea behind intentionality is that we step out of “auto-pilot” and step toward the person we want to be. Over time, this intentional shift from doing to being can lead to a lower perception of stress and an increase in mindfulness and self-compassion. So, how can you do that?
Being intentional with work breaks
We should be careful of letting breaks be fueled by subconscious addictions, like mindlessly scrolling through social media. By shifting our focus to optimize work breaks, we have to consider how we can make the most of them in the time we have.
And we can do this by being present.
Stepping outside and reflecting for just a few minutes can help slow down how fast our breaks feel. During this time, we can process the day and hopefully return with a refreshed perspective.
Connecting with non-work-related activities
What are your hobbies? It is important to develop a sense of self outside of work.
For example, after work, I find myself picking up a pen and paper to express myself creatively. However, some of my friends find engaging in hobbies after work to be exhausting. They save the weekends for their favorite hobbies and relax or play video games during the week.
Setting aside you-time
Deciding that you will not work outside of hours is not enough. Find a time to thoughtfully cater to yourself and recharge. This looks different for everyone.
You will know if a you-time activity came from good intentions by assessing how you feel afterward. Do you feel drained, heavy, or apathetic? Then the decision was likely from subconscious habit rather than mindful intention.
Whether the you-time activity is taking yourself to a baseball game, setting up a candle-lit bath, or simply cleaning the house, be sure to provide intentional you time in addition to no-work time.
2) Pick Your Cues
Based on Pavlovian principles of classical conditioning, we know creating strong associations is a powerful way to modify behavior. We can incorporate mindfulness into our everyday by taking a daily activity and reframing it as a mindfulness reminder.
Here are some examples to inspire you.
Sometimes we get in the zone or the to-do list never seems to end, but our lunch break is a perfect opportunity to recharge both mentally and physically. Regardless of what is going on, take your lunch break! If possible, take this break away from all electronics so you can really be with yourself.
Slowing down an activity from our morning routine helps set the tone for the rest of the day. Whether it’s letting the coffee brew, stretching, or stepping outside, there are numerous morning activities that may serve as a space for us to be more mindful.
Other daily activities
Which events or chores can we reframe to be a slow-paced check-in—where we soak up the smells, identify new colors, and appreciate the simple things? Turn a daily activity into a mindful activity, and ensure your blessings do not become burdens.
3) Allow for Flexibility
Working toward a mindset of mindfulness is a powerful decision that will make you a better person, not only for yourself but also for the people around you.
With that said, mindfulness should not feel like a battle.
Mindfulness is a loving ebb and flow that includes listening to your body and reacting accordingly. This dance will look different for everyone, so here are a few things to keep in mind on your mindfulness journey.
Find the silver lining
A vast facet of mindfulness is gratitude. Whether it be for the little things or the unexpected things, there is always an opportunity to re-frame the event.
The more often you reframe an unfortunate event to be a positive gift, the more you strengthen your gratitude muscle, making it more natural as time goes on.
This is not a race
There is no finish line to rush to. As mentioned, finding mindfulness is an infinite dance that we continue to refine throughout our years.
We should not compare our mindfulness journey to another’s, nor should we insist others join us on this path.
When you are caught up in comparison, turn your focus inward.
Every day is different
When you have had a few really successful days, it can feel overwhelming to wake up with no energy for anything beyond the bare minimum.
Perhaps you finally sat quietly with yourself for five minutes, and today you cannot seem to slow your mind down. This feeling is normal! Part of mindfulness is fine-tuning that communication between you and your body.
Whether it is an unexpected surprise that throws your whole day off, or you simply woke up on the wrong side of the bed, meet yourself where you are without judgement. Leave expectations at the door and check in about how you feel today, right now, in this moment.
Sometimes, the hardest part of taking care of ourselves is showing up. We cannot rely on our jobs to make room for mindfulness; it comes down to the individual taking responsibility.
The first step is to not fall for the lie that you are too busy. Remember—you are the priority.
Mindfulness at TransPerfect
Just like how every day is different, every team at TransPerfect is different, too. Across our family of companies, teams find unique ways to practice mindfulness and personal growth.
For example, one of our Special Projects teams starts every Monday with a group meeting, followed by morning meditation.
At the company level, TransPerfect supports mindfulness through our affinity groups and Well-Being Employee Resource Group initiatives.
If you are interested in learning more about the culture at TransPerfect, please email CareersNotJobs@transperfect.com. You can also apply to join our team here.