10 Tips to Create Greater Balance at Work
By Debbie Eisenstadt Mandel
There is a Zen saying, “Your work is to discover your work, and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” Some of us are fortunate to be passionate about our work, totally immersed losing track of time. Most of us settle into a routine and a regular salary. While compromise is a good life strategy, it also makes us more sensitive to daily stressors. Here are 10 tips to help you de-compress in order to be healthier, more productive and fulfilled.
- You will feel better if you eat properly. Begin the day with a balanced breakfast. Human beings are not creatures of deprivation. During the day eat when you are hungry; you need to be fueled. Snack on nuts or fruit. Avoid stimulants like caffeine and sugar. Drink herbal tea instead. If you feel tired, drink plenty of water. Fatigue can be a symptom of dehydration. Avoid eating a heavy, big lunch which will make you feel sluggish in the afternoon.
- Take mini-breaks from your computer screen during work. Look out the window to stretch your eyes from detailed work. If you have no window, close your eyes and imagine a panoramic view. Rub your two hands together to generate heat and then place them gently over your eyes for thirty seconds.
- If you feel distracted and can’t concentrate, be in the moment by focusing on your breath. Inhale two counts through the nose, exhale four counts through the nose. It helps to visualize a white fog on inhalation and a dark fog on exhalation. Repeat for ten breaths.
- When you feel tense in your body, particularly in your lower back, make sure to stretch. While sitting in your chair, plop your upper body down like a rag doll. Feel limp and relaxed. Breathe in and out. Stand up tall and perform an overhead palm press up. To prevent carpal tunnel syndrome rotate your wrists clockwise and then counterclockwise. Also, gently pull on each finger to release tension. During lunch allocate some time to take a brisk walk outside in the fresh air and light; particularly important when the days are shorter to help you deal with seasonal affective disorder.
- Prioritize your work. Make a daily list and cross off the accomplishments. Learn to delegate tasks and be a team player. Share, don’t hoard information. Ask for support when you need it and give support when others need it. Cultivate a support system.
- Use an inspirational quote or the words of a song that hold special meaning for you as a screensaver.
- Keep a photo of your last vacation on your deskto remind you to take a vacation.
- Always allow more time for a project than you anticipate. A deadline is just thata dead line. If you finish ahead of time, you are a hero.
- Clean out the clutter and organize your desk.
- Cultivate a sense of humor. Quickly re-interpret the situation with a comic eye.
On your way home from work do something pleasant for yourself before you greet the family and their problems. Go to a gym to exercise your stress away and raise your endorphins. Listen to music and audio books during your commute. If you are experiencing difficulties, speak to positive, life affirming people about them; expend your energy on a solution, rather than worrying. Most importantly, let go the myth of perfection and express yourself truthfully. Go to sleep early enough to wake up rested. While nobody brags to the boss about how much sleep he got the night before - quite the contrary, make sure you get your rest. Otherwise you will begin your workday with an energy drain. Anything might set you off and your creativity will be diminished.
Be calmly active and actively calm: this is the secret to success at work.
Debbie Eisenstadt Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Brooklyn College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WLIR 92.7 FM in New York City and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com