Working from home affecting your personal life? Take a mindfulness moment

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As you settle into your new normal, it’s the perfect time for you to create new routines and look after your mental health and wellbeing, says mindfulness expert Sabina Vittaca.

The world as we know it has altered. Changed for many, are our routines of leaving home in the morning, heading to the office and returning home at night. Now, working from home has become a necessity for many, not a privilege and offices have been turned into ghost towns overnight.

With EA communities and teams used to collaborating, brainstorming and managing busy executives in person, the dynamic of these professional relationships has been forced into change.

Dubbed as the ‘largest work from home experiment’ ever undertaken, it’s fair to say that a distinct blur has appeared between our personal and professional lives, as we adapt and find our new normal.

Heading to the office now has a new meaning which for many is sliding downstairs, logging onto the computer and remaining there for much of the day. As a busy EA, you’ll likely be used to extensive travel, meetings and face-to-face requests which have probably morphed into many more emails and a revised way of approaching project-based work.

At the close of your workday, and at weekends, the computer remains in situ, with 40 percent of professionals tempted to log on ‘after hours’ to check work emails, quite possibly putting more pressure on EAs.

The lack of distinction between home and office life has never been so prominent and without preventative measures, with no end date in sight, this could be incredibly damaging to our wellbeing.

Your health depends on balance and not feeling overwhelmed by change, but it’s all too easy to let the scales slide in the wrong direction now with no clear differentiator between home and office.

You’re likely finding it more challenging to stay in close communication with your boss and other executives in their team which (for the parent population) coupled with homeschooling children, means that office life at home has arguably become more stressful.

Almost a third of workers struggle to switch off in their own time, figures which can only rise with such large portions of the population self-isolating at home.

In the 1920s, American physiologist Walter Cannon identified that when the mind can’t switch off, our bodies naturally go into a fight or flight mode which releases stress hormones and renders us unable to think coherently or clearly.

It’s not just the blur of balancing your personal and work lives which is causing overwhelm, it’s the unusual challenge of being confidantes to stressed leadership teams who need your vital support, more than ever.

It’s time to create a new routine to inject some more mindful actions into your day, to calm any ragged nerves and to find the ‘off’ switch, so vital for your wellbeing.

Mindfulness is a personal journey and for those at the beginning, should be learnt with small steps. Like anything worth doing, conscious thinking takes practice, and the initial key is to understand that your own awareness brings choice—choice as to how you take mindful action, choice of when you do it.

Allow yourself to practice ‘spot meditations’ which are small pockets of time, which might otherwise be wasted, turned into calming, focusing moments to release tension and stress.

Try downloading a mindfulness app, such as Insight Timer and listen to my meditations which can be practised quite literally anywhere—at your desk, in the calm of your car before you drive or before bed at night.

The basic exercise of taking in three deep breaths while counting to three (in your head), then on the exhale, releasing your shoulders and counting down from three again is an effective way to put yourself in a more mindful frame of mind. Do this repeatedly, and you’ll find you can alter your state, to one of clear presence and calm. The longer you maintain it, the deeper and more present you become.

Form robust habits now, for increased ability to manage the changing ways of working and schedules of your executives and increase wellbeing in tomorrow’s uncertain world.

THE EXPERT
Known as ‘The Personal Trainer for the Mind,’ over the last 10 years, Sabina has helped 100’s of professionals to become more present in their day-to-day life through her workshops and one-on-one Meditate Now program. With a passion and drive to help people feel less stressed and frustrated, make better decisions, and feel less overwhelmed, Sabina is improving workplaces one professional at a time. www.sabinavitacca.com