Mindfulness and wellbeing are two words that seem to be thrown around a lot on social media and in the office – but what exactly do they mean, and why are they so important?
So, mindfulness is described by the NHS as being a state in which you're paying attention to what's going on around you.
Essentially, it's being aware of the moment.
This awareness can be anything from being aware of your breathing to your mood and current feelings and can also extend to being aware of other peoples thoughts and feelings.
The next step of mindfulness is to then act on these feelings. For example, if something is making you unhappy or is making you stressed, then the mindful thing would be to remove yourself from the situation or change your approach to make you feel more comfortable.
The NHS also says that this state of awareness or mindfulness can often help us to enjoy life a little more and can help us be more engaged with ourselves and others. Sounds good, doesn't it?!
Wellbeing refers to being content, healthy and happy – not just physically, but mentally too. It's about ensuring that you're feeling happy in yourself and being aware of situations or tasks that make you feel stressed or unhappy – so that you can either change them or cut them out of your day.
So the next big question has to be... how do you achieve these two things?
For an answer to this, we turned to Dennis Relojo-Howell, founder of Psychreg, who's an expert in both of these things!
How to be mindful at work
How do you stay mindful while you're at work?
The most simple thing to do to achieve mindfulness is to become a single tasker. Many people engage in multitasking, which is not good – because not only does it reduce our efficiency but it also distracts our thoughts and can give us stress.
What would your tips be for someone who's wanting to be more mindful at work?
There are a number of companies who promote mindfulness for their employees, such as Apple and Google. They offer mindfulness through meditation programmes. But if your company does not offer this, you can use mindfulness apps. The app 'Insight Timer' is very popular.
You can also do mindful eating – instead of rushing through without noticing the texture of what you're eating, slow down and focus your attention on the food by focusing on the texture and the flavour.
Looking after mental health at work
How do you look after your mental health while at work?
I work from home. The way I look after my mental health is making sure that I don't work after 6 pm or during weekends. These can be very tempting for those who work from home. Also, I listen to relaxing music while I'm working. It helps me to focus and relax.
What would be your tips for someone whose mental health is suffering while they're working?
If anyone is suffering from mental health issues at work, it is best to seek professional help. At Psychreg, we run a directory where people can find professionals who can help them: https://www.psychreg.org/mental-health-service-providers-uk/
Also, it is best to speak to your boss. They may come up with some arrangements for you to help you with your mental health issues, in relation to your work.
How do you like to unwind after a rather stressful day?
On a weekday, I read a good book and during the weekend, I do gardening or go sailing. These activities really reinvigorate me.
How do you ensure you keep calm under pressure?
It is crucial that we understand our emotions. We have to learn why we feel stressed or anxious. If we identify the cause of these emotions, we can better manage it. For instance, are you anxious because you have to speak in front of the audience? Perhaps you can benefit from coaching or from practising what you have to speak about.
And what are your top self-care tips?
This would include: mindfulness, rewarding myself when I have done a good job, speaking to a mental health professional, getting plenty of sleeping, and reflecting on good things that happen to me each day.
Thank you so much to Dennis for your wonderful tips and advice – they're all things that we're going to look into doing in the Farillio office!