Are you someone who takes power naps on your work break? Does that allow you any time to quickly cram in a lunch? Instead of a nap, how about practicing a short but restful mindfulness meditation? A paradox of mindfulness meditation is that it can be both restful and energizing at the same time.
When it’s break time, take 5 minutes to quiet your mind. This is now your time and you deserve to savor it. If you need to set some boundaries with co-workers and kindly tell them to scram, then I urge you to practice that too!
Close your office door, sit comfortably upright with your feet planted on the floor, and rest your hands on your lap. Take several deep and calming breaths. Focus on the sensation of the air coming into your nostrils and flowing deeply into your lungs. Don’t worry about breathing ‘properly’, just breathe comfortably. Upon exhaling, breathe out through your mouth noticing the air breeze by your lips. Notice any tension in your body, perhaps rolling your shoulders and breathing into that tension. Your feet are grounded on the floor, your lungs are full of fresh air, and your mind is clear of stress for this moment.
Finishing The Day Mindfully:
Now you can do the same practices from part 1 in reverse after work. You can drive back home mindfully, eat dinner mindfully, and maybe you even shower or wash-up before changing into nightclothes. So how will you honor the day and set your intention for a restful sleep—free from thoughts about what you didn’t get finished today or what you have on your plate for tomorrow?
While lying in bed, before dozing off, just be mindful of the people in your life. Start with yourself and just give yourself a loving acknowledgment and appreciation. A simple message wishing yourself wellness and hapiness.
Next, do the same for someone who is closest to you. This may be the partner lying next to you or a close family member. Think a kind thought of appreciation for what they mean to you and wish them peace and happiness.
Repeat this step again, this time for someone who you encountered during your day but perhaps aren’t as close to. Think of a co-worker or acquaintance.
Finally, try sending a genuine wish for wellness and happiness to someone who you are not close to. Perhaps this is someone with whom you had a disagreement or someone who annoyed you today. Wish them well and unburden yourself of negative energy before sleeping. Then breathe comfortably, slowly, and deeply before dozing off.
This loving-kindness exercise involves more intentional thought and structure than the other mindfulness practices, but it is still one in which you are present in the moment, aware of your reactions and suspending your judgments. It is a clearing practice that brings about a peace, openness, and stillness as you get ready to sleep.