With the ongoing spread of COVID-19, many companies have instructed employees to work from home for the coming weeks. Between team lunches, coffee meetings, and chatting in the hall, workplaces provide most of us with the bulk of our social interactions each day, and while limiting in-person interactions with others will certainly help curtail the spread of the virus, it has also left many feeling isolated and anxious.
Meditation is a great way to remain centered as we navigate these uncomfortable feelings, and the Be Meditation team has compiled four practices for your home office below.
- Object meditation: This exercise is perfect for when you are in a contained space or limited in time. All you need is an object in your vision, and you’re set.
- Sit in a comfortable position. If you stay in your office chair, turn away from your computer and phone to get the most out of this exercise. Loosen your shoulders and take a few deep breaths.
- Find an object: Identify something in your immediate vision—a tree outside your window, a pen lying on your desk, or a piece of art on the bookshelf.
- Settle into your gaze: Look at the object, letting your mind take in the details as well as its full shape. If your mind wanders, bring it back to the object. Keep this concentration as long as you’d like—ideally 3-5 minutes.
- Return to yourself: When you are ready to end the meditation, close your eyes, breaking your gaze on the object, and breathe deeply three times. Open your eyes and observe your environment, slowly bringing your awareness back to your full experience.
- Body scan: This exercise can be done anywhere, whether you’re sitting in your office chair or lying in bed, and helps release tension and pent up emotions.
- Get comfortable: Find a comfortable seat, even if it’s just a matter of pushing your chair back from your desk. You can also do this meditation lying on your back. Take a few deep breaths, concentrating on the flow of air in and out of your lungs, and let your thoughts fall away.
- Start at the top: Close your eyes and move your awareness to your head. Notice any tension in your forehead or jaw and take a deep breath to release it.
- Move down: Move your awareness down your body to your neck, shoulders, back, hips, legs, and feet, concentrating on one area at a time. Take this process slowly, breathing deeply and noticing any sensations that arise
- Take it all in: Now, concentrate on how your body feels overall. If any additional areas of tension arise, narrow your concentration to that area and think about loosening those muscles or breathing into those aches. If you need help anchoring yourself, consider how the ground feels under your seat or back. You can also concentrate on your breath.
- Open your eyes: When you’re ready, take one last deep breath and open your eyes.
- Walking meditation: This exercise is a great way to increase your awareness through movement—and it helps change your environment, breaking up the monotony of working from home.
- Find a good path: Find a nice lane outside where you can take in pleasant scenery and enjoy nature. If this isn’t possible due to weather or your location, find a walkway in your house or building, ideally away from your working area.
- Anchor and breathe: Start by standing at the beginning of your path in a comfortable posture with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a few deep breaths, concentrating the flow of air in and out of your lungs, and where your feet are rooted into the ground.
- Step by step: Begin your walk, keeping a slow and measured pace, and bring your awareness to your gait. Think about the way you lift one foot, swing it forward, and touch it to the ground. Feel for the beginning and end of each step as you move. If your thoughts wander, just bring your concentration back to your gait.
- Notice: As you continue your walk, move your awareness from your gait to your surroundings. Take in the color of the nearby trees, the breeze against your face, or the way the light casts shadows across your path. Sink into the current moment.
- End with a pause: As you come to the end of your walk, stand in a comfortable position again and take three more deep breaths.
These exercises are just a few ways to help feel centered while working from home. Feel free to modify or combine them to find what works best for you. The key is to set aside time to check in with yourself and don’t pass judgement if you find it hard to concentrate or keep your thoughts neutral. Be kind to yourself during these uncertain times, and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Have you been stuck working from home? Let us know how you’ve been keeping centered and caring for your mental health below.