Thursday, December 29, 2016

Work Stress - Working with Jon Kabat Zinn's Hints and Suggestions

Here is my progress with working with Zinn's suggestions for work stress.

1.  When you wake up take a few quiet moments to affirm that you are choosing to go to work today.  If you can, briefly review what you think you will be doing, and remind yourself that it may or may not happen that way.

This one is very hard for me. I have tried it and I will keep trying it but I am resisting it a lot.

2. Bring awareness to the whole process of preparing to go to work.  This might include showering, dressing, eating and relating to the people you live with.  Tune in to your breathing and your body for time to time.

I have been working on this - making a ritual of my morning routine. Showering, Making Tea are big parts of it. I would like to add in Sun Salutations but I haven't been successful at that.  I do sometimes put my legs up the wall while the tea is boiling.

3. When leaving the house, don't say goodbye mechanically to people.  Make eye contact with them, touch them, really be "in" those moments, slowing them down just a but.  If you leave before other people wake up, you might try writing them a brief note to say good morning and express your feelings toward them.

My husband is always sleeping when I go to work.  I have been giving him a kiss on the check.  I haven't written a note yet.  I will try that soon.

4. . . . As best you can leave your cell phone alone.  Try smiling inwardly.  If driving, take a moment or two to come to your breathing before you start the car. Remind yourself that you are about to drive off to work now. Some days, try to drive without the radio on. Just drive and be yourself, moment by moment. Leave your cell phone alone. When you park, take a moment or two to just sit and breathe before you leave the car. Walk in work mindfully. Breathe. If your face is already tense and grim, try smiling, or try a half smile.

The cell phone is very hard to leave a lone because I am addicted to it but I have done it several times since working with this exercise.

I like breathing in the car before I get out.  I enjoy smiling and walking mindful to the office.

5. At work, take a moment from time to time to monitor your bodily sensations.  Is there tension in your shoulders, face, hands or back? How are you sitting or standing this moment? what is your body language saying? Consciously let go of any tension as best you can as you exhale and shift your posture to one that expresses balance, dignity and alertness.

My posture seems to be very bad and worsens as the day goes on.

I have a lot of knee and foot pain lately.  But I will keep working on this.

6. When you find yourself walking at work, take the edge off it. walk mindfully. Don't rush unless you have to.  If you have to, know that you are rushing. Rush mindfully.

I have really enjoyed walking or riding my bike mindfully.  I do this when I go from the office to the stage to the office or the office to the stage.  This has been a wonderful addition to my routine.

7. Try doing one thing at a time and giving it the full attention that it deserves for as long as it deserves, without distracting yourself or allowing yourself to be distracted, such as by incoming emails and texts. Overall, the evidence from studies shows that not only does multitasking not work, it degrades performance on every task you try to juggle.

This is shocking for me and hard to do.  I have spent most of my life priding myself in my ability to multi task, but I am working on this and will continue to work on this.

8. Take frequent breaks if you can and use them to truly relax and renew. Instead of drinking coffee or smoking a cigarette, try going outside the building for three minutes and walking or standing and breathing. Or do neck and shoulder rolls at your desk. Or shut your office door if you can and sit quietly for five minutes or so, following your breathing.

I have been doing neck and shoulder rolls from time to time at work.  Sometimes I use my yoga blocks and go into a restorative position on do leg stretches with the strap.  I haven't remember to go outside.  But I will keep working on this,

9. Spend your breaks and lunchtime with people you feel comfortable with.  Otherwise, maybe it would be better for you to be alone.  Changing your environment at lunch can be helpful/ Chose to eat one or two lunches a week in silence, mindfully.

I have been deliberately now eating at my desk and taking my lunch into the conference room and eating sometimes by myself or sometimes with Keith and Josh.  I really like this!!!

10. Alternatively, don't eat lunch.  Go out and exercise, every day if you can, or a few says a week.  exercise is a great way of reducing stress. Your ability to do this will depend on how much flexibility you have in your job.  If you can do it, it is a wonderful way of clearing the mind, reducing your tension, and starting the afternoon refreshed and with a lot of energy.  Many workplaces now have wellness centers that provide organized employee exercise programs both at lunchtime and before and after work.  If you have the opportunity to exercise at work, take it! But remember, an exercise program takes the same kind of commitment that the formal meditation takes. And when you do it, do it mindfully. That changes everything.

I have gone to the 11am yoga class when I can sneak away instead of eating lunch.  I love doing this but sometimes I get worried because I am on call for work.  I don't want to let anyone down.  I like doing this when I can chose the appropriate day and know that I am not taking advantage of my employees.

11. Try to stop for one minute every hour and become aware of your breathing. We waste far more time than this daydreaming at work.  Use these mini meditations to tune in to the present and just be.  Use them as moments in which to regroup and recoup. All it takes is remembering to do it.  This one is not easy, since we so easily get carried away by the momentum of all the doing.

I can't seem to remember to do this every hour. I will keep working on this.

12. Use everyday cues in your environment as reminders to center yourself and relax-the telephone ringing, downtime before a meeting convenes, waiting for someone to finish, something before you can start in on it. Instead of relaxing by "spacing out" relax by tuning in.

I have done restorative yoga or breathwork or taken a pause or a walk when waiting on people.  In TV there can be a lot of waiting.  I have been working on this.

13. Be mindful of your communication with people during the workday.  Are they satisfying? Are some problematic? Think about how you might improve them.  Be aware of people who tend to relate to you in a passive or hostile mode.  Think about how you might approach them more effectively. Try seeing your fellow employee with eyes of wholeness. Think about how you might be more sensitive to their feelings and needs. How might you help others at work by being more mindful and more heartful? How might awareness of tone of voice and body language, your own and that of others, help you when communicating.

I am working on mending communication with a co worker and seeing the world more from her point of view.  I am been leading our conversations with empathy and compassion for the hard work she does,

I still am not clear on my body language.  I am trying to be more communicative with lighting department by texting them what is coming up.

I am trying to sincerely thank everyone and also let people go when the work is done.

14. At the end of the day, review what you have accomplished and make a list of what needs to be done tomorrow. Prioritize the items on your list so that you know what is most important.

I haven't remembered to do this yet.  I want to do this!

15. As you leave work, bring your awareness to walking and breathing again. Be aware of the transition we call "Leaving work."  Monitor your body. Are you exhausted? Are you standing erect or bent over? What expression is on your face? Are you in the present moment, or are you getting out ahead of yourself in your thinking mind?

I also haven't remembered to do this, but I will continue to try to do this when I go back in January.

16.  (After work) if you are driving, take a moment or two once again to sit in your car before before you start it up. Drive home mindfully.  Leave the cell phone alone unless it is hands free and essential that you make the call then and not later.  Can you be aware of that decision? Can you be aware of the impulse to simply ignore your decision and make the call anyway?

I like this sitting in the car and centering.  I cleaned my car today so this will be an even more enjoyable process.

17. Before you walk in the door, realize that you are about to do so. Be aware of this transition we call "coming home."  Try greeting people mindfully and making eye contact rather than shouting to announce your arrival.

I often take a pause in the garage before I get out of the car and go in the house.  I am trying to make more eye contact with time and not shouting to announce my arrival but it is shocking him right now.
He yells - Is that you?  Is that you?

18. As soon as you can, take your shoes off and get out of your work clothes.  Changing to other clothes can complete the transition from ork to home and allow you to integrate more quickly and consciously into your non-work roles.  If you can make the time, take five minutes or so to meditate before you do anything else, even cooking or eating dinner.

This is something when I have done it makes me feel a lot better.  Often I am so tired I sleep in my clothes.  Making a conscious effort to change my clothes is huge for me.

I haven't meditated when I get home. I usually come from yoga and have done some meditation there or I am really exhausted.

19.  Keep in mind that the real meditation is how you live your life from moment to moment.  In this way, everything you do can become part of your meditation practice, if you are willing to inhabit the present moment and embrace it in awareness, in your body "underneath' thinking.

I have been meditating or at least watching the breath at physical therapy.  I really enjoy doing it there.  I like to get to yoga class early and do a big body scan or just watch the breath as I lie on my back.

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