Three ways to use mindfulness to switch off over the festive season

21 December 2017 -

Office ZenRelaxing over the holiday period is essential to return refreshed and rejuvenated in the new year

Guest blogger Philip Cox-Hynd

“You’ll never catch me, you’ll never catch me, if you don’t run any faster, you’ll never catch me”, went the old gag that I remember hearing on the radio many years ago.

Many managers and leaders are in a race. We are working faster without ‘catching’ anything. The international, ‘24/7’ world of business can prompt feelings of ‘running but never quite getting anywhere’. Even with an out-of-office on, it can be difficult to detach and unwind over the festive season.

Taking practical steps that are ‘mindful’ or a conscious way of becoming less reactive, can help slow your inner world a little. Many people see mindfulness as entirely separate to the day-to-day cut and thrust of life. In truth the two can become interdependent.

Three mindfulness tips you need to relax over the holidays

1. Sit quietly on your own for ten minutes a day

Training your mind to stay in the present is the essence of mindfulness. By observing things you crave or wish to avoid or the stresses caused by working life, you should start to feel able to simply observe these impulses, rather then be a ‘slave’ to reacting to them.

Set the alarm on your phone for ten minutes. Close your eyes, breathe in and focus on your breath as it comes in and out of your nostrils. Notice your thoughts but keep bringing your attention back to your breath.

If you feel an itch, observe it but don’t act on it.

2. Mindfulness is about being more conscious of what you choose to do

Turn off the ‘push’ function for email from all your devices. If you need to check email over the festive season, set three alarms on your phone, for waking, lunchtime, and late afternoon. These are the only three times you check email. This way you respond by choice, and not to the demand of others.

3. Merge your daybook with your diary

Many leaders keep a daybook, or a rolling list of ‘things to do’. The problem is that the list of primary tasks never seems to end, and how you spend your diary dictates your time.

Start a new habit of putting everything you need to do – both for work and leisure – into your diary. Each evening review what you achieved and look at the next day’s list. Be honest with yourself if the list looks unachievable. Move less important tasks to other days.

Philip Cox-Hynd is a change implementation specialist and author of Mindfulness and the Art of Change by Choice

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