Although having a regular sitting practice is what helps to develop the ‘fruits’ of our mindfulness practice in our lives; we all have periods when it is difficult to find time to do that. At those times we can keep our mindfulness practice going by utilizing every day tasks and routines as opportunities to practice. Here is a list of 10 routine activities to keep mindfulness going at work. It might even turn that ‘boring’ or unpleasant routine into something pleasant, calming, centering and even inspiring!
- While your car is warming up, take a minute to quietly pay attention to your breathing.
- Pay attention to your breathing, to the sky and trees or the quality of your mind when you stop at traffic lights.
- Take a moment to orient yourself to your workplace once you park your car. Use the walk across the parking lot to step into your life: to know where you are in the moment and where you are going.
- Use everyday cues in your environment as reminders to ‘center’ yourself, e.g. the telephone ringing, washing your hands, breaks between activities.
- During your breaks, instead of having coffee, a cigarette or reading, try taking a short mindful walk using all your senses to take in your surroundings and breathe mindfully
- Take some time at lunchtime or other moments in the day to speak with associates. Try listening mindfully.
- Choose to eat one or two lunches per week in silence. Use this time to eat slowly, mindfully experiencing the food – take a moment to really pay attention to the taste, texture and how your body reacts to the food.
- Pay attention to your walk back to the car – breathe in the air, feel the cold or warmth of your body. Can you open to and accept these environmental conditions and body sensations rather than resisting them? Listen to the sounds. Can you walk without feeling rushed? What happens when you slow down?
- While your car is warming up, sit quietly and consciously make the transition from work to home – take a moment to simply be – enjoy it for a moment.
- When you pull into the driveway of your home, take a minute to orient yourself to being with your family and entering your home.
Tips for keeping mindfulness going at work Adapted from Saki Santorelli “Mindfulness and Mastery in the Workplace: 21 ways to Reduce Stress During the Worksday.