How to Meditate at Work: Practical Tips for Beginners
Adding peace and quiet moments during the day can be as beneficial as eating healthy or participating in fitness activities. When you meditate at work, you complement your other health efforts. Over time, positive changes to your overall health will occur, such as lowered stress levels, lower blood pressure, and improved mental clarity.
Here are some tips for beginners meditating at work:
Your Most Alert Time
If you feel very sleepy when you first arrive to work, after lunch or late in the day, this might not be a great time to meditate. Attempting meditation when you are already sleepy is challenging because the focus is on getting a quick nap. Try to meditate before lunch, before heading home, or even right after a daily work meeting. You could also do it when everyone rushes to the break room for coffee and a snack. Use part of any downtime to re-balance yourself, and you will have more fuel for the rest of your work shift.
Compress the Duration
Sitting for 30 minutes during the workday to meditate is not required. Break-up those 30 minutes into several 5-minute practices throughout the day, or simply practice for a shorter set.
Deliberately taking one to five minutes out of the work routine helps relax the mind and physical body. You can add more time once you have mastered this shorter time-frame. Following a consistent, doable plan sets you up for success in the long run.
Schedule an Appointment
Just like a business meeting or conference with team members, these things must go onto the schedule. If you miss it, there are repercussions from your boss, right?
Treat your meditation practice like an appointment. This helps establish a consistent, self-caring habit. Over time, you will look forward to this daily meeting with yourself. Give it as much importance as other items on your daily work schedule. If something urgent does arise that requires an adjustment to your schedule, be flexible. Immediately find a back-up slot so that you stay on schedule with your self-health priorities.
Be Patient with Yourself
Meditation is a practice like most everything else in life. At first, you put effort into figuring out the best approach for incorporating meditation into the workday. If the mind is not as quiet as the day before, learn to be okay with that. It is part of the practice.
Self-bullying defeats the purpose of this quiet activity, doesn’t it? Be kind to yourself through all the stages of establishing a new routine. Practice regularly, and the process will become as automatic as driving a car.
Take a Hike
Maybe your job does not have a designated break time, or lunchtime is not an ideal time for you to meditate at work. Try taking the long way to the bathroom. Use the distance and extra time for a meditative walk.
When delivering documents to another part of the office, take a few flights of stairs while breathing consciously. Stay to the back of the elevator and ride it a few extra floors until your alarm sounds for the end of your meditation session. A few minutes alone with some deep breathing can calm a worked-up nervous system, and better prepare you for the day’s work.
Find a Friend
Make a game out of meditation practice with the addition of a few of your co-workers. Sync your calendars for a short meditation practice, whether your desk is two floors down or in another state. Friends help hold you accountable and are a great support for attempting something new. See who can stay with the process the longest. Do your best to stay with it even if several people drop-out. The many benefits of meditation, such as steadying the emotions, dampening anxiety, and uplifting the mood, make it worth setting as a priority and sticking with the game plan.
Ditch the Devices
Change the habit of going straight to your electronic devices whenever a break shows up. Replace it with a quick meditation practice and actually utilize your break time for re-balance. Turn airplane or driving mode on for keeping tempting texts and alerts at bay. Set an alarm, put the phone out-of-sight, and go right into meditation. Be fully present in your practice by setting an alarm. This guarantees you will not miss any upcoming tasks or appointments for the day.
if you are the lucky one with a beautiful view, set up a dedicated chair beside the window. Close the office door or put up a sign on your cubicle when it is time to meditate. These simple actions not only let others know you are not available, but they are like “muscle memory” for your new routine. Get rid of as many distractions as possible, so there is minimal preparation when it comes time to meditate at work.
Set the space for focusing on meditating. If possible, physically take yourself into a new scene by stepping out into nature. Separate from anyone who overly stimulates you, silence unnecessary alerts, and put away any snacks. People do not usually bother someone who wears headphones. So put some on, with or without music, and use them to your advantage.
Regular returns to a consistent meditation practice require ease of access and being as comfortable as possible in the environment. Keep a small blanket or sweater handy if the office is cool. Slip out of your shoes for the few minutes of practice, or close the blinds a little to block intense sun or streetlights. Putting on one of those bedtime eye masks during meditation sends relaxation signals to the body, which is similar to turning off the lights when going to sleep at night.
Use your imagination to create other ways of bringing meditation to work. Meditation is a trial-and-error process. The improvements in your overall well-being are worth the initial efforts put into it.