Self-care? I don’t have time!
“…Early on, my solutions all involved efforts that required time and other resources I did not have to spare…“
Do you feel overwhelmed by your job responsibilities? How about your life responsibilities? We all get overwhelmed from time to time. It’s easy to find ourselves out of balance and no clear plan on how to restore the balance.
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Throughout my corporate career I found myself in this predicament on several occasions. Early on, my solutions all involved efforts that required time and other resources I did not have to spare. One tool that I discovered and that helped break the cycle was practicing mindfulness.
Throughout the remainder of the article we’ll look at how you can leverage mindfulness exercises to gain mental and physical health benefits with a minimal time investment.
What is “mindfulness” and how can it help?
What is “Mindfulness”?
“…consciously and purposely focusing your attention on your present self and/or environment for some length of time…”
If you’re not already familiar, you may be asking what is “Mindfulness”? In brief, it can be defined as “…awareness of one’s internal states and surroundings…” Another way thinking about it is that you are consciously and purposely focusing your attention on your present self and/or environment for some length of time.
In an article by PsychCentral mindfulness is summarized as two types of meditation:
- Traditional meditation. This is the practice that commonly comes to mind when thinking about “meditation” – sitting calmly with your mind on your breathing, body, etc.
- Activity meditation. This is the practice of focusing your attention on your current environment, body, etc. while you’re performing activities like walking, performing household chores, showering, exercising, etc.
I can hear some of you saying something similar to “But Ron, I don’t have any time in my schedule at all! Much less time to take a retreat to a Tibetan monastery for a months-long sabbatical!” Fortunately, you can get the benefits from mindfulness exercises with only a few minutes of investment.
What are the potential benefits of practicing mindfulness? For professionals lowering stress levels, improving sleep, increasing attention span, reducing “negative emotions,” and reducing anxiety may be benefits of interest. For others, benefits such as helping as part of a weight management practice, chronic condition management, combatting cognitive decline, and more may be realized.
Will you receive all these benefits within the first minute of practicing mindfulness? Unfortunately, no. While the length of the practice seems to be less of a factor – doing so regularly seems to be more of a factor. That is, making mindfulness a routine habit can be beneficial.
The first step is finding a routine that works for you and starting to use it a few times per day. Personally, I found that breathing exercises between meetings or if I was facing an anxious situation (public speaking, receiving/giving bad news, etc.) helped with focus and stress.
There are many great resources regarding mindfulness exercises so rather than rehashing those in this article, I’ll reference a few that I find particularly helpful to get started.
We all get overwhelmed by responsibilities and tasks throughout life. Working on focus and wellbeing doesn’t require a huge time or money commitment. While mindfulness may not immediately produce results, it can help restore balance and focus if practiced regularly as part of your daily routine.
If you feel like you need more guidance to explore mindfulness or other options to help you achieve balance and fulfilment, a career coaching session or program may be a good next step – reach out to me through this link and I’ll be glad to discuss options with you.
What techniques have you found successful for restoring focus and balance in your life/career/job? I’d love to get your thoughts and feedback on this and other blog posts. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram. And sign up for my newsletter below to be notified about upcoming articles and events from Mindring Consulting!
Resources and Attributions
- Definition – American Psychological Association – APA Dictionary – https://dictionary.apa.org/mindfulness
- Intro – mindful.org – https://www.mindful.org/what-is-mindfulness/
- Intro – berkley.edu – https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/mindfulness/definition#what-is-mindfulness
- Benefits – PsychCentral – https://psychcentral.com/blog/surprising-health-benefits-of-mindfulness-meditation
- 1-Minute Exercises – https://psychcentral.com/health/minute-mindfulness-exercises
- A Real-World Application of Short Mindfulness-Based Practices: A Review and Reflection of the Literature and a Practical Proposition for an Effortless Mindful Lifestyle – National Institute of Health (NIH) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6796228/
- Exercises – GoodRx Health – https://www.goodrx.com/health-topic/mental-health/mindfulness-exercises
- Video: Breathing – Breathing Exercise – Mindful Breathing Exercise
- Video: Grounding Visualization (2.5 min) – Managing Anxious Thoughts And Stress With Mindfulness
- Video: Box Breathing (>3 min video; >1 min exercise) – Box Breathing Relaxation Technique: How to Calm Feelings of Stress or Anxiety – Box breathing relaxation technique: how to calm feelings of stress or anxiety
- Licensed Images from Envanto