Celebrating Employee Health and Fitness Month: The Benefits of Mindfulness at Work.

Why mindful breaks are essential for remote workers

Working from home – a setup once seen as a temporary solution or a privilege for the few – has now become a widespread reality for many. While this shift offers remarkable flexibility, it also blurs the lines between personal life and work. This May, during Employee Health and Fitness Month, a UN initiative designed to advocate for workplace well-being, we're turning our focus to the importance of taking 'mindful breaks' to maintain health and productivity when working remotely. 'Mindful breaks' is our Work-Life Balance Challenge this May. Follow us to take part.

The challenge of work-life balance in a home environment

Remote work can often lead to longer hours with fewer breaks. The APA's 2021 Work and Well-being Survey indicated that after more than a year of working during the pandemic, the American workforce reported increased stress and pressures affecting their work and personal life. This included observations that work-life balance had become a significant challenge for many, impacting their ability to perform their jobs effectively and influencing their decisions about staying with their current employers. These findings are reflected again and again in studies and surveys globally, not just in the US.

This is where mindful breaks come into play. Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine isn't just beneficial; it's necessary for maintaining mental and physical health – and for living a balanced life that doesn’t just revolve around work.

What are mindful breaks?

Mindful breaks are intentional pauses during which you step away from your work tasks to clear your mind and reduce stress. Unlike regular breaks where you might scroll through social media or catch up on the latest news – activities that can often increase feelings of anxiety – mindful breaks are designed to rejuvenate the mind and body.

Let's explore some ways mindfulness and mindful breaks can help reduce stress at work. Of course, things like meditation can help. However, it can also be very simple things if meditation isn’t your thing.  Let's dive in…

Incorporating mindfulness into your working day

Here are some actionable tips for finding moments of mindfulness during a busy workday:

1. Start with a mindful morning

Begin your day with a five-minute meditation or breathing exercise to relax and set you up for the day ahead. This sets a calm, focused tone for the day or work day in front of you. There are numerous apps that can guide you through short meditation sessions. Make this a non-negotiable part of your morning routine, as consistent practice enhances the benefits.

2. Schedule mindful breaks throughout your day

Just as you schedule meetings, pencil in your mindful breaks. These can be brief – just five to ten minutes. During this time, step away from all digital screens. Try a short walk, some light stretching, or a window-gazing session where you simply observe the outdoors and let your mind wander. These micro mindfulness breaks during the workday can help to reduce stress and give you a 'big picture' view. We can all be guilty at times of letting work take over, these short breaks can help us find our focus on a larger scale.

3. Use technology wisely

Leverage technology to remind you to take breaks. Apps that prompt you to hold a minute of mindfulness or signal it's time to stretch can be invaluable. Why not set an alarm for when the working day starts and finishes, to remind you it’s time to open and close your DropTop™ - helping maintain a healthy work/life rhythm.

4. Embrace micro-mindfulness exercises

Incorporate micro-mindfulness exercises into your workday. This could be as simple as taking three deep, mindful breaths before answering a phone call, or paying attention to the physical actions you make. These small practices can significantly reduce stress and enhance focus. Give them a go.

5. Mindful eating

Remote work can often lead to snacking out of boredom or stress. Use your lunch break to engage in mindful eating. This involves paying attention to the taste, texture, and smell of your food, which can improve digestion and reduce overeating.

6. Wind down mindfully

End your workday with another short meditation or try reflecting on the day's wins – it's important to take stock of these and take pride in your work, rather than always moving on to the next thing on the task list. Celebrate the successes.

This not only helps transition from work mode to personal time but also assists in processing the day's events, making it easier to let go of work-related stress.

Mindfulness at work and DropTop™

For those of us navigating the remote work landscape, DropTop™ offers a practical solution for delineating between 'work time' and 'personal time'. Its workspace setup helps remote workers physically close off their work environment at the end of the day, reinforcing the psychological boundary between work and leisure, a crucial element in work-life balance. DropTop™ helps to create more mindfulness moments when working from home.

valhery doing yoga in a bright bedroom infront of a droptop

Conclusion: mindfulness as a path to a balanced life

Implementing mindful breaks throughout your workday can lead to significant improvements in both mental and physical health, helping you to maintain productivity without sacrificing well-being. This Employee Health and Fitness Month, let's commit to these small but powerful practices. After all, in the world of remote work, finding balance is not just about managing our time; it's about managing our attention and our intentions.

References

  • GEHFM (Global Employee Health & Fitness Month)
  • APA (American Psychological Association)
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