I recently attended the Well-Being Festival in Birmingham. It was an inspiring, motivating and energising experience. I had the opportunity to listen to experts talk about neuroscience, meditation, nutrition, yoga, and mindfulness. Not to mention spend my day drinking green juices and turmeric lattes!
Sat in the car driving home I found myself thinking about my candidates (and clients) and the industries that we work in. It made me think about how well-being is so important to every single one of us.
I have met with some great clients over the last 2 weeks and what is brilliant to see, is how focused they are on creating a great work-life balance and looking after both mental health and physical health of their employees in the workplace. From providing personal training sessions, on-site gyms, walk and talks and access to counselling sessions. Not to mention open-door policies to encourage people to talk about their concerns.
Work can be stressful. Whatever industry you work in brings with it, its own challenges. Working within the PR and creative industries can be stressful as you are faced with sometimes demanding clients, changing priorities and fast approaching deadlines. Workload can be high with many plates spinning and it might feel as though everything needs to be done now (or yesterday!). It’s not surprising that people may feel anxious or stressed; may feel overwhelmed or tired and starting to feel the pressure build. No matter what working environment you work in, whether you are lucky enough to be supported by your team where you can take the office dog for a walk around the fields, or grab a coffee with a colleague and take time to talk things out. No matter who you are, what job you do or where you work, we all have one thing in common. We all have an underrated superpower... the breath.
At the Well-Being Festival, I listened to talks about how to practice self-care in the office and they talked about how the breath is one thing that we all have and can utilise at any point in the day. You might not be able to take an hour out to practice mindfulness, but you can breathe. You can breathe when you are sat at your desk, when you are driving to a client meet that you are anxious about or when you are sat in a meeting. You can even breathe when you are stood waiting to give a pitch or presentation.
This simple breathing tip that was shared may seem insignificant or obvious to many people who are reading this, or you may be thinking, why is she even telling me this? But don’t knock it until you have tried it. I left the talk wondering if a few simple breaths could really make a difference and I have already used this and felt the benefits.
When feeling anxious, overwhelmed, nervous or as though your mind is racing at 100mph from one task to the next and your thoughts are spiralling, breathe.
Simply breathe in slowly and deeply for the count of 6, and then breathe out slowly and controlled for the count of 6. Repeat this for 2 minutes and just see how you feel. This is called ‘equal breathing’ (or Sama Vritti for the yogis out there) and it calms the nervous systems and promotes relaxation and increases focus.
By breathing in this way, you are slowing everything down, when your breathing slows, the anxiety will begin to feel different and your mind and thoughts will begin to slow down too.
This isn’t a guaranteed way to stop feeling anxious or nervous or busy completely, but it will help you to slow down and then everything feels a bit easier, becomes a little more manageable and puts you back in control.
Never underestimate the power of the breath.
I’d be interested to hear how this works with you.