There is a lot of talk about wellbeing in the workplace at the moment but how do we translate that into the working day and in publishing in particular? Publishing, creative and interesting as it is, can be an inherently stressful career: deadline-based, competitive and for those of us working from home or freelance, it can, perhaps counterintuitively, be particularly challenging. Here are some ideas for staying calm and introducing mindfulness during your working day:
- Develop a healthy morning routine
Carve out some time before you log on and incorporate yoga or other simple wake-up exercises, meditation or just a space between waking up and opening up your computer/device.
- Do something different
Perhaps take a different route to work, look up instead of down (safely of course if outside!) – even a small change can alter your perspective for the tasks ahead.
- Sit well
With your feet on the floor, your knees over your ankles, a tall spine and with your head on top of your spine. When the head is even a small degree in front of the spine, which is more frequent now as people look at the computer/on phones, it causes a disproportionate strain on the neck muscles to support your head which can cause achey shoulders/backache etc.
- Take regular breaks
Get outside, go for a walk which can help you gain perspective and clear the mind. A recent study also found that it is the small interactions in daily life which help contribute to happiness – saying hello to the regular server in your local cafe etc. I work from home and on my daily walk, I am waving my way down the street to my various restaurant and cafe friends! This can really alter my outlook, particularly if I have a whole day at home.
- Take a few steady, slow, deep breaths
When faced with one of those emails (and I am sure you know exactly what I mean!), even a few slow, deep breaths will help you regain perspective and manage the gap between trigger and response.
- Give your full attention to whatever you are doing
If you have more monotonous tasks to complete or for example, the same format of meeting regularly, pay full attention to what you are doing. This is related to a yoga philosophical principle from the Bhagavad Gita, part of the epic text, The Mahabharata, on letting go of the ‘fruits of the action’: the idea of being fully engaged in the task in hand, without any thought of the result. I have found this particularly useful over the years – letting go of expectation can be freeing.
- Be curious
If, for example, you have regular meetings/interactions, a way to feel engaged and inspired is to be truly curious about the other person.
- Acts of kindness
Diane von Furstenberg in a recent article in the magazine ‘Entrepreneur’ mentions that she sends two emails at the start of each day purely to help others, e.g. to connect two people.
- Switch off
Try not to look at devices a couple of hours before going to bed (not easy I know!).
Make time for your favourite yoga or other movement class/activity. Practices such as yoga involve a mind/body connection – when you start to slow your breath, you may notice your thoughts start to slow also. They also activate the parasympathetic nervous system or relaxation response and can help increase self-awareness which impacts how we conduct ourselves in the world.
Sian O’Neill is managing director of independent publisher, Globe Law and Business (www.globelawandbusiness.com). She is also a British Wheel of Yoga accredited yoga teacher and Editor of Yoga Teaching Handbook and Yoga Student Handbook (Jessica Kingsley Publishers). For further details, go to www.yogawithsian.co.uk.