Today, I saw a Buzzfeed article which listed 9 little things we can do to feel less anxious at work. It popped up in my feed during a week when I have been feeling slightly anxious; not about work necessarily, but just about things in general. The article helped me refocus on my mindfulness practice, which I’ve let slip recently and can notice the change.
Luckily, I still maintain a practice when I feel things are getting on top of me in work. Here are 10 small things I do, which really help:
- Listen to your favourite radio station. Obviously, I am lucky in that I can listen to music through my headphones while at work. If you can, try and do this. I listen to Radio Paradise, which plays laid back music throughout the day with very little talking and no commercials. The music relaxes me, and effectively distracts my mind from worrying.
- Take 10 minute breaks when you can, and remove yourself from your desk. Go outside, make a cup of tea, wander about the building noticing things you may not have noticed before. Just move away from that work station!
- Keep a small reminder on your desk to stay mindful throughout your working day. I have a little stone telling me to be in the present on my desk. It helps me to remember that worrying won’t change what will happen tomorrow, it will only rob me of today.
- Take a full lunch break. Just because your colleagues work through lunch and eat at their desks, doesn’t mean you have to. A full break for lunch to eat, chat, read a book or listen to music without thinking about work will not only make your afternoon more productive, but it will remind you that life isn’t all about work.
- If it’s getting too much, and you can’t leave your desk, breathe. Just breathe. A few seconds, a few minutes, no one will notice. Just concentrate on the breath until you feel better.
- Smile. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but making yourself smile will really help you feel a little bit better! Smile at someone else as you walk by. Smiles are contagious, and seeing another one will brighten your day a little bit.
- De-clutter! Tidy your desk, as I find a messy desk gives me a messy mind. You’ll feel more organised and able to concentrate.
- Put photos or an inspiring picture on your desk. I have some wedding photos and a swimming medal on mine – two of the best days I’ve had. They make me feel happy and remind me of how important my life is outside of work.
- Try some camomile tea, or something else caffeine free. Camomile helps me to feel calm, as well as feeling like I’m getting a warm hug.
- Talk to someone you trust. I have a very understanding line manager and HR contact. Not everyone is so lucky. If you don’t have anyone to speak to in work, there are people you can call. Being honest and open with someone at your work will make you feel so much better, and you may be surprised at the support you receive.
If you see someone in your workplace struggling, please ask them:
“Are you OK?”
These three small words can make such a huge difference.