Cheyenne Ellis, like most Americans, is no stranger to workplace burnout. After different positions in just about every type of environment, she realized that the health of the workplace culture "wove throughout each office, each cubicle, and impacted each organization’s overall growth and success."
Besides the overall health and sanity of employing mindfulness, other benefits include a positive office culture, an increase in productivity, and enhancement in creative thinking.
Below, Ellis offers how you can stop burnout in its tracks through breath work and simple movement.
Burn off burnout by Cheyenne Ellis
In today's world of work, we are constantly available whether via email, text, Slack, we're working harder and longer hours than ever. Sure, it means we can do more, and work from any part of the globe, but it also means it's more difficult to develop and maintain the elusive concept of work-life balance, making the burnout potential more possible. We've updated our workflow style to adapt to the pace of today's modern office, and I believe our tools to combat workplace-stress and burnout deserves an update too.
My two key tips to avoid burnout and cultivate a more resilient workplace perspective are to first breathe and
Breathing? Sounds quite simple right? Your natural reflexes are (hopefully) doing it right now, but deep, consistent and intentional breathing is quite radical these days. Between the emails, spreadsheets, deadlines, occasionally office drama, it's so easy to operate in trance-like behavior while at work. Given the stress of the day, we usually move through our day, aiming to quickly complete our tasks and resort to taking just these tiny, short sips of air.
Let's burn off any burnout by redefining how we breathe throughout our day. Try placing one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Take a natural breath and observe which hand is rising - is it the hand on your chest or belly? My educated assumption is you are likely breathing through your chest, feeling the hand covering your chest rise higher than the hand covering your belly. To combat the stress of your day, your personal life and your work life, try breathing through your belly instead. Feel your belly move forward on your inhale, (it may look like you have a food baby growing in there!), and then pull your belly deeply in towards your spine on your exhale. Ensure these breaths are slow and relaxed. Begin to also relax your jaw, and muscles in your face too. Most of us subconsciously hold so much tension in our jaw. Belly breathing helps calm the nervous system, enhance blood flow to the brain, and lower stress levels, (all things that can help your performance in life and at the office).
Try this style of breath for five cycles, and then check-in.
How do you feel now? Begin to just take notice throughout your day, without judgment, on how you breathe and how you feel when you add deep belly breathing.
Another tool to combat burnout also might sound simple and obvious. Make movements! Make movements frequently, and make them fun! Given our daily routines, we often hold our body in a sedentary way. Whether that's sitting most of our day, bouncing from seated meeting to seated meeting, or we're on our feet. The truth is our bodies weren't designed to stand all day or to sit in cubicles, even if they include ergonomic chairs and keyboards.
Set a timer to move every 30 minutes. Switch the position of your physical body, reach your arms up to the sky to open chests and tight shoulders, flick your fingers to open up tight wrists, twist your torso to open up your lower back, or my personal favorite involves a forward fold, (this looks like folding at your hips, releasing your upper body down towards the ground and relaxing your head). Movements are proved to get the blood flowing in your body and your brain, lower your cortisol stress levels, both of which allow you to be more productive and resilient at work. Combine more frequent movements with belly breathing, and watch out inbox!
While these two tips are not the end-all magic tricks to solve all your workplace woes, when combined with other general healthy workplace habits, (clear communication and workplace leadership), they can help to cultivate a physically and mentally healthier approach to life at the office - a pretty positive ROI for both yourself and your organization!