Keeping calm at work isn't easy. When your inbox is steadily filling up and you have a dozen tasks to tick off your list before 5pm, it's no surprise that you start feeling stressed and overwhelmed. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to bring some calming mindfulness into your daily working life.
It may not be on the top of your to-do list, but fitting five minutes of meditation into your day can help you reclaim balance and refocus. You don’t need a full half an hour and an empty room to meditate; you can do it any time, anywhere. Once you’ve finished a task, sit back from your desk. Straighten your back and shoulders. Take your hands away from the keyboard and clear your mind of work. Take slow, deep breaths and focus on your chest filling with air, then emptying again.
It may sound like a no-brainer, but controlled breathing is key to keeping calm at work. When you’re focusing hard on a task, your breaths can become short and shallow. These shorter intakes can increase feelings of panic and anxiety. When you feel this breathing pattern starting, stop and take long, deep breaths that fill your chest. Imagine all of your stress and worries leaving your body with each exhale.
Becoming less overwhelmed at work is all about changing your mindset – so take control, be decisive and organise your day. Make a list every morning showing the tasks that you’ll complete that day. Review the list at lunchtime and again in the evening before you go home. This will help you keep on top of your to-dos and give you a realistic view of what you can achieve. When busier days start to get on top of you, put things into perspective by asking: will this matter in one week, one month, one year? (Hint: the answer is usually no).
Your stress stores itself in your muscles. When you’re particularly on edge you’ll feel your shoulders and neck tensing. Take time to loosen up these knots and stretch your back and neck to release the stiffness. Stand up as much as you can from your desk, and take regular walks.