Hack Your Job

We’ve all been there- set off for the office with a clear plan for the day ahead, a list of things to accomplish, only to arrive back home 9-10 hours later with only a few ticked off. Half the day we can’t even recall what we did the other half we spent zoning out in meetings and firefighting the onslaught of e-mails, WhatsApp notifications and Insta likes pinging into our consciousness.

Most of this is attributed to working on Autopilot and getting ourselves into productivity-sucking habits. Ive pulled together a few handy tips, tricks and mindful methods that can be used to help yourself towards a work life that is a little easier and far more productive.

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walking kev

Walking mindfully is a fantastic way of incorporating mindful practice when there just isn’t time to set aside for formal practice in your schedule.


 

Here’s some steps to get your started:

  1. Start by becoming aware of your posture and the sensation of standing. Feel your feet on the floor, grounded.
  2. Pause and take a conscious breath in and out
  3. If possible, walk slowly so that you can feel the sensation of the striking of your heel on the ground all the way through to your toes lifting up
  4. Notice the shifting of the weight across your body before taking the next step.  And repeat.

Optional: You can move on to focusing on other areas of the body, perhaps feeling your clothes swishing around or the sensations in your calves, knees and arms as they swing.

When out and about I like to take in my surroundings. I’ll establish presence first, focusing on my footsteps to feel grounded before shifting my focus to external things like street art, architecture, trees, sounds of the bustling city and feeling the breeze.

Tip: If you feel self-conscious walking without an obvious purpose or if you just fancy having a go why not take a camera and practice some mindful photography whilst you’re at it.


 

Here’s some things I spotted on my latest trip to Portishead on a British beach-y October day:

flower close

mindful walkdead plant 2

lighthouse

Have a great time out and about. As always I love hearing about what you get up to.

 

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dandelion vase

Photo taken from Kate Walters’ Eat Knit and DIY blog

As another year is nearing a close and it seems all my friends are getting married, promoted, buying a house, getting the cutest dogs. I’m feeling that in these life goals I’ve definitely…. flatlined!

The narrative of ‘I should’ is, to take Trump’s phrasing, “yuuuuuuge” and can be a big old hindrance to moving on past other people’s success noise and becoming effective at working towards creating your own success story.

When mulling over last week’s theme of loving kindess I recalled the traditional Sufi story of dandelions that was shared during my MBSR Mindfulness course. The story encourages us to embrace radial acceptance and learn to live with and even love the dandelions that may spring up before us. 

 


 

emma dandelion

Learn to Love Dandelions:

A young man named Nasreddin planted a flower garden, but when the flowers came up so did a great crop of dandelions amongst them.

Wishing to eliminate the unwanted guests, Nasreddin consulted with gardeners far and wide to rid the dandelions but none of their solutions worked.

Finally, at his wits end, Nasreddin travelled to the palace to seek the wisdom of the Royal Gardener. But alas, after hearing many suggestions Nasreddin had already tried all of the methods suggested by the kind old man. Silently they sat together for a good long while.

At last, the gardener looked at Nasreddin and said “Well then, the only thing I can suggest is that you learn to love them.”


 

What the Royal Gardener was suggesting was radial acceptance, that we should acknowledge the present reality rather than waste energy in fighting it. Now I’m not saying give up on your dreams and accept everything (I need me that house with the blue door!!) but to quieten the judgments and beliefs of how things ‘should be’ and instead focus on being effective and do what’s right.

quieten judgements

I know, I know…it’s easier said than done but radial acceptance can apply to literally anything. I read a great anecdote in The Mindfulness Bible by Dr Patrizia Collard about a woman who had terrible eczema and hated the time and effort it took to apply the various topical creams. When she stepped back and looked at her situation with acceptance in mind she decided to start applying her creams as a mindful practice, becoming fully present during the experience. For the woman, something she hated doing each day became a new part of her self-care regime and she no longer saw applying cream to her eczema as a burden but more of a personal treat.

The main photo used for this post is from the Eat Knit and DIY from Krista Walters. She has learned to love the dandelion gifts given to her from her daughter and has created beautiful DIY vases to hold them.

” Most people think they are weeds.  To my daughter, they are beautiful little flowers that she picks for me everywhere we go.  She presents them to me with such  pride.  She tells me in her little girl voice that she picked them for me because she loves me.”  – Kate, EatKnitDIY

To tie all these themes of loving kindness and radial acceptance up with a bow I’ll just leave this beautiful passage by Rumi here. This passage is one of my absolute favourites and I hope you enjoy reading too:

 

Guesthouse

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Sorry magazine you’ll have to go!

How often do you just eat? It sounds silly as we eat meals every day,  but how often do you just sit there and do nothing but eat?

While on a Mindfulness retreat I experienced a huge revelation in Mindful Eating. My food tasted better, I was fuller sooner and I absolutely loved every mouthful. This experience has really stuck with me and so I now try and incorporate mindful eating as much as possible with my meals.


 

TOP TIPS FOR MINDFUL EATING:

  • Put your food on a plate – Eating out of a bag doesn’t help the practice, plus you can’t easily monitor how much you are actually eating
  • Sit at a table – Formalising the eating habit fill help focus attention on the intention to eat mindfully
  • Breathe and be thankful – Before digging in take a time for a mindful pause to breathe and feel gratitude for the processes that led to this moment
  • Eat in silence – Pop the TV off, hide your phone and put down that magazine or book. This helps draw our attention to what we are eating and enhances your experience
  • Tune in with all 5 senses – Notice the colours, aromas,textures, shapes and even sounds of your food
  • Chew more – Try to taste and identify all the different ingredients This is particularly fun at restaurants, when you didn’t make the food yourself. An added bonus is it may also help you become more creative in the kitchen.

Tip: Try making something really snazzy for your first experience, this will keep up your intrigue. I particularly like making a delicious healthy vegetarian salad like Pomegranate, quinoa, bulgar, feta, cucumber and lemon oil dressing for a colourful, zesty feast.


 

Becoming more in-tune with the foods we eat and being present has great effects on helping us eat more healthily and prevents over-indulging. When we notice what we eat we tend to eat less and enjoy our food more. This can be great for establishing a healthy diet and is even a tool for weight loss.

For more read:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-13684/5-ways-eating-mindfully-can-help-you-lose-weight.html

http://www.mindful.org/6-ways-practice-mindful-eating/

I hope that putting the phone down, switching off the telly and shunning the magazine isn’t too daunting and you try this at home.  Let me know below if you try it and what you think!

 

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IMG_4786

So in case you hadn’t already realised my love for Mindfulness, how its changed my world flip 360 and now guides pretty much my every waking moment (when I’m not on autopilot 😉 ) Last year I decided to enrol on a course to take this love to the next level. Certification Station 1 –  The TTR1 at MBSR Mindful Academy in Solterreno Spain.

Home to the wonderful Bodhin Phillip Woodward and his family, Solterreno provides a real gem of tranquility hidden from the hustle and bustle, in which to immerse yourself in the course material. The perfect environment to deepen your own practice and practice giving guided Mindfulness meditations to other (guinea pigs) prospective teachers!

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