Don’t have time for a luxury break to replenish yourself? That’s okay. Rather than putting life on hold so that you can take a break, instead infuse your life with mindful pauses.
Mindfulness involves coming off autopilot and learning how to come home to yourself with an open, kind attitude. It is an art of attentive presence. And the good news: no cushion required. You can start just where you are.
While your coffee cup is being filled, take a moment to come back to yourself. Feel
your footprints on the ground, sense your physical body. You might offer yourself a kind intention. May I know peace. May I be fully present in this moment. May I be free.
Let your jaw soften and your forehead smoothe out a little. Sense the top of your shoulders, as though someone has rested a hand there. Be reassured that it’s okay to rest for a moment. Your shoulders may drop a little, your shoulder blades sinking down your back. Letting your breath be natural simply sense your living body at this moment. Then enjoy your coffee.
Choose an element of your working day to be a moment of sanctuary. It might be filling a water bottle, tapping a key card, walking down stairs or sitting down in a meeting room. Choose something and train yourself to take refuge in it. For example, the hand dryer in the bathroom is a classic sanctuary. Usually, we dry our hands without conscious attention, hooked in our thoughts to the work waiting outside the bathroom.
Instead, take a breath. Let yourself be curious about your hands, the warmth of the air, the sensation of movement. In this one moment of your life, you literally have nothing else to do except allow your hands to be dried. You can rest.
Just add space
Between noise, emails, interruptions, changing priorities and looming deadlines, it’s easy to feel that you don’t have enough space for yourself. Cultivating a spacious quality reduces stress and unhooks us from addictive thinking.
Deliberately notice space anywhere you can. Anytime you walk outside notice the wide expanse of the sky, feel the fresh air, sense the space that exists around you. Even moving between work areas can help. Let yourself rest in your steps and know that you have space around you. Your space. A space in which you can relax.
Cultivating a mindful presence helps protect your energy and can ease the feeling of being consumed by our thinking.
Orlaith consults on corporate mindfulness solutions, working to create resilient communities that can innovate, problem-solve with clarity and work positively with change. You can find out more here.