Welcome to Ayurveda in the Workplace, where we offer tips to help you meld the seemingly conflicting energy of your daily work life and your Ayurveda practice.
As part of the “Ayurveda in the Workplace” series, let’s talk about part 3: How to Avoid Burnout.
First, let’s start with a little story about schedules. In grade school, we get breaks, recess, lunch, plenty of outdoor activities, and our day ends at 3:30. In high school, we get short breaks while we walk to the next class, lunch, and study hall (I mean let's be real, who studies in it?). In college, we have breaks between classes and most classes are only 1 hour long. Some labs might be 3-hour chunks. So, for the first 20 years of our lives, our days have been broken up by little bits of walking, nourishment, and pause.
But then we get a job-job. We start working a minimum of 8 hours a day, often with no pause, sometimes with no lunch break, and almost never with an outdoor activity thrown in the middle. Sometimes we come home from work and work more. And we do this…forever. WTFruit?!
Even if we LOVE our jobs, maintaining a schedule like this will create a slow burn. Without daily replenishment it will cause mental and physical fatigue, which gets worse over time. We won't feel it right away and in fact, we might even feel a "jolt" from achieving impossible deadlines. "Yay me!" But those "jolts" are stress jolts, which build and affect our health over the long term.
Now, we all need jobs. They are our livelihood and keep the world spinning!
Taken from the book The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz (highly recommended for anyone in the workplace, especially managers!), our minds and bodies can really only focus on a task for 90 minutes. Then they need a pause for replenishment so that we can perform for the next 90 minutes. Many of us "work" for 8 hours but are monkey-minded, jumping from one thing to the next so it takes longer to get things done. If we cut the distractions for 90 minutes, knowing we will be rewarded by taking a walk around the block, it gives incentive to stay focused and productive.
Here are some ideas for a refreshing 10-minute break:
• Cue up a meditation on your smart phone or laptop. Disappear into a conference room and meditate for 10-20 minutes.
• Plug in headphones while listening to your favorite Pandora station and journal 10 things you are grateful for today.
• Take a 10-15 minute walk outside (keep a spare pair of sneakers in your drawer).
• If you are in an office, close the door and do 5-10 sun salutations.
• Spritz your face with rosewater, make a cup of your favorite herbal tea, and read a chapter in your favorite spiritual or creativity book.
• Share the love! Invite a friend to practice these breaks with you.