Hitting the Pause Button

If you are like most people, the people and devices around you at work require constant interaction. Emails demand a reply. Meetings fill your calendar and require participation. Social media portals buzz, click, tweet and ping – insisting that you respond in kind. It’s easy to spend an entire day reacting and responding, without actually accomplishing anything.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed; if it seems like you never get any traction on the projects that you truly care about, try hitting the pause button. The next time someone insists that you take on a new task, ask for a moment to think about it. If you’re at your desk feeling pulled in ten directions, close all your files (paper and digital) for a minute. Hit the pause button, allow your brain to re-boot and discover its priorities. Pause long enough to evaluate what efforts are worth your time and what can simply wait.

Sometimes, you may discover that you need to say, “no,” to the latest demand for your attention, or “not now.” Sometimes, you may decide to put down whatever you’re doing and address a more pressing issue. Pause, recalibrate, and move forward with your day. Take a few moments to decide what matters most.

Letting nature help

Mother nature is a powerful tonic for whatever ails you. When it comes to work and the people, places and things that upset us, nature can pull us out of obsession, worry or frustration in a minute. You may not have the time or the inclination to walk along a sandy beach or hike up a rocky mountain trail. Still, you can soothe your mind and refresh your energy by taking just a few moments in your busy day to observe and absorb some aspect of nature.

Even urban settings provide blue skies, racing clouds, bright sun and shimmering moon. Perhaps you catch a flock of birds soaring overhead. You may notice the hearty smell of the earth as you walk to your bus or car or train.

Try it. Just a moment of ingesting the air, trees, grass, reeds, birds, squirrels, water, sky, or whatever form of nature thrives in your environment.

Take it in. Feel your feet on the ground. Become aware of your place in the bigger picture. Exhale and move forward with your day.

Accepting what we don’t like

One concept that is very hard to comprehend but very powerful when practiced is acceptance. Most people mistake acceptance for something else; they think that accepting a person or thing is the same as approving of it.

“I’m not going to accept my supervisor’s moodiness. That would be condoning the behavior.” Wrong. Acceptance is looking at what is and saying, “this Is my reality.”

So, for example, you can accept the fact that the economy is reeling but you don’t have to like it. You can accept the fact that your lazy coworker always finds reasons to dump work on your desk, but you don’t have to complete his or her assignments. You can accept the fact that you don’t like a certain customer without having to forfeit the business.

The simple act of stating what is and accepting it as your current reality breathes some air into the problem; makes it a little less dense; acknowledges your reality.

When something bugs you today, try accepting it. Just say, “I accept the fact that I’m caught in a traffic jam,” or “I accept the fact that my computer is down,” or “I accept the fact that Joyce talks incessantly.” Write down the facts about the people or things you don’t like then practice accepting them.

You’ll be amazed at the results.

Adjusting your routine to feel better

I know, I know. You’re too busy and too tired to do anything for yourself. You don’t have time for exercise or relaxation or spending time with good friends. You don’t have the energy to do anything that would actually alleviate your stress.

You’re busy working longer hours, not taking lunch, eating take-out, staring at your smart phone, and crashing into bed after you pass out in front of the computer or the t.v.
Think again.

Just a slight adjustment in your routine could make a world of difference. It could be 15 minutes of exercise a day, or a brief morning meditation, or going to bed a half hour earlier, or walking to work instead of taking the bus. It could be one less cup of coffee, or bringing healthy snacks to work, or attending one spin class a week.

Whatever the change, commit to it, and build it into your routine. Don’t wait to be rescued. Only you can make the time to feel better.

Try inserting a small activity into your routine for 90 days, and see how you feel.

Do you unhook?

Unhooking is a system for changing your reaction to emotionally upsetting circumstances at work. It could be a difficult coworker, a demanding boss or an impossible client. To unhook, you have to stop waiting for the other person to change, and start taking back your power. The first step in unhooking is physical.

Unhook physically by taking actions to release the negative energy stored in your body from dealing with someone else’s bad behavior. Methods for unhooking physically include washing your face, taking a walk, playing sports, working out, doing yoga or simply breathing slowly and deeply. Try it today. If you feel your head throbbing, your neck aching, your stomach churning or your arms tingling, do something physical to unhook. You’ll be glad you did.

It’s warmer outside…Get moving!

Okay, no more excuses. As the cold and frost move out, it’s time for exercise to move in. We know. You’re too busy to exercise. Sure. That’s why you spend HOURS watching tv, playing video games, and tweeting. Exercise doesn’t have to take long — 15 to 20 minutes a day — and it’s the single best remedy for stress. So follow our Ask K2 advice about Dealing with Heavy Stress at Work, and unhook physically from anything that bothers you.