Have you ever been in this situation?
You wake up on Monday, ready to take on the world. Your work week is laid out in front of you, you (think that you) have a great schedule laid out so that you can balance your work life and home life, and you are sure that everything is going to go according to plan.
And for most of Monday, it does.
Then, the unthinkable happens. One of your clients has an urgent request that needs finishing before the week is over… schedule ruined. That simple shift in routine does more than make you feel overwhelmed at work — it affects your mood and increases your stress levels, and before you know it, your healthy work-life balance has been thrown out the window, and you’ve brought work problems home with you.
We know this feeling all too well at DotConnect, and even though you may think the sky is falling when your workload changes or you need to alter your plans, it’s not the end of the world!
Added stress happens from time to time, but with the proper routine, you can overcome any obstacle that stands in your way.
Today, we’ll dive into three essentials to our days at Dot that can help you achieve the balance you want in life. And no, we’re not talking about the Pomodoro Technique, time blocking, and scheduling hacks — even though we love those things too.
Instead, we’re about to look at the routine outside of work and the essentials for achieving an inner calmness that gives you the clarity to handle life’s unexpected changes with poise.
Motivation: Let Your Journal Be Your Guide
Let’s face it — our emotions significantly affect our ability to stay motivated and overcome everything life throws at us.
For us to truly process our experiences, we need an effective way to understand the feelings surrounding them. For us, that means incorporating journaling into the daily routine — there’s just something about the smell of fresh paper and the feeling of a quality ballpoint pen that makes us happy.
Now, you may be thinking. I’ve tried journaling before, but it didn’t work for me.
We totally understand where you’re coming from! Journaling is difficult for many, and that’s because staring at a blank page with a pen in hand can be intimidating without guidance.
Thankfully, there are plenty of resources out there that provide excellent prompts for jumpstarting your journaling efforts. One of the internet’s highest-rated journaling tools, Journey, recommends choosing one of the following areas to get you started.
Use Your Journal As a Check-in Tool
When you crack open your journal and get ready to start writing, do a quick diagnostics check with yourself. Ask the following questions:
- How am I feeling today?
- What made me happy today?
- If I could change one thing about myself, what would it be? Why?
Answering these questions can help you unpack negative feelings about yourself that you need to address, give you inspiration about what you want to accomplish, and maybe even motivate you to overcome obstacles in your life.
Journal About Experiences You’ve Had
Venting. We all do it, but sometimes we choose the wrong outlet. If you’ve had a day like we talked about earlier and feel like the world’s against you, it’s the perfect time to break out the journal and ask yourself the following:
- What did I do well today?
- If things went wrong, where did they go wrong?
- If I could do today over, what would I change?
These questions will help you gain a better understanding of what you’ve experienced, and they will also help you acknowledge your significant accomplishments to promote self-encouragement.
Write Letters You Don’t Intend to Send
Writing letters you never intend to send isn’t just an opportunity to pretend that you’re leaving a one-star review before Yelp existed. It also helps you understand why you react to others in specific ways. Here are some questions to ask before starting a letter-style entry:
- Who could I thank with a letter today?
- How would I write a letter telling someone I could have done better?
- Is there someone who negatively affected me that I would like to write to?
Exploring a range of emotions is key to keeping a meaningful journal. Choosing prompts with a focus on both positive and negative experiences makes journaling a rich experience that helps you see the world differently.
Meditation: Answer the Call for Stillness
Between maintaining our work, family, and social lives, it’s pretty safe to say that everyone is busy these days, so moments of stillness may be hard to come by.
However, we’ve found that taking time to stop and be still is absolutely essential for staying grounded in life. When you incorporate regular meditation into your daily routine, incredible things happen.
Meditation unlocks a superpower when you practice it regularly, and that superpower is mindfulness. Staying mindful helps you break away from immediately responding to every encounter, and it also allows you to make decisions with consciousness.
Remember the bad day we talked about earlier? When you practice meditation and mindfulness, situations like increasing workloads will still cause stress. However, instead of reacting with panic, you will be able to take a second to breathe and respond with a mindful awareness that allows you to tackle difficult situations with clarity.
If you’re thinking to yourself, They already want me to pick up journaling. Now they want me to spend even more time meditating? Our answer is a resounding, “Yes, and you don’t need to spend hours in meditation for it to be effective!”
Meditation Is as Easy as Counting Down From Five
One outstanding regrounding method we’ve found at DotConnect is from Jay Shetty — a former monk turned influencer who uses practical advice that encourages people to be more mindful.
His “5,4,3,2,1” grounding practice gives people the opportunity to recenter and stay mindful in any situation. Here’s how it works:
- Five: What are five things you can see? Look around yourself and notice five things that you can see right now. Then take a deep breath and let it out slowly.
- Four: What are four things you can touch? It could be the clothes you are wearing, a beloved pet, or the keyboard under your fingers. Take another deep breath, and let it out slowly.
- Three: What are three things you can hear? Is it the rustle of the wind in the trees, traffic traveling down your street, or music playing in the background? Breathe in, breathe out.
- Two: What are two things that you can smell? If you’re at home, it could be the scent of the last meal you cooked or a candle you have burning in your room. Now breathe deeply, and let it out.
- One: What is one thing you could taste? It could be your toothpaste from brushing your teeth earlier or the coffee you recently drank. Take a second to notice what it is, then breathe out and back in.
This grounding exercise takes very little time and opens the door for you to start your day off on the right foot, practice mindfulness while you’re working, or reflect on your day once you make it home. The more you practice it, the more you will be able to work from a state of mindfulness instead of reaction.
Movement: Unlock the Power of Exercise
We’ve heard our entire lives that staying active is one of the keys to staying balanced, but did you know that it really doesn’t need to take up that much time?
The NHS recommends that adults only need 150 minutes of physical activity a week. That’s a whopping total of 2.5 hours, which is a little over 20 minutes a day (or 30 if you want to take the weekends off).
And the benefits of exercise are worth the sacrifice of one episode of the show you’re currently binging. Exercise can improve our overall brain function, release endorphins that fight depression and anxiety, and help us maintain higher energy levels.
If that weren’t enough, daily exercise also helps us sleep better and improves overall health, including lower blood pressure and helping us maintain a better weight.
So, how can you incorporate a bit more movement into your routine? We’re glad you asked.
Some of Our Favorite Ways to Get Moving at DotConnect
Incorporating movement into your routine may seem impossible at times, but you’ll notice that it becomes easier once you start incorporating it into your daily rituals. Here are some easy ways to sprinkle a little exercise into your schedule:
- Go for a walk during your lunch break
- Stop by a park on your commute home
- Incorporate yoga into your morning mindfulness routine
- Get off the bus one stop earlier so you can walk a bit further to work
There are many different ways to increase your activity levels, but one thing to keep in mind is that you need to find what works for you. You’re not going to get active if you’re trying to force exercise into your routine — that just makes it a hassle for you and everyone involved.
Remember that you don’t need a gym membership and hours a day to stay active. Instead, find something you enjoy doing that meshes in with your current life.
Execute Your New Routine: We’ve Got Your Back
Now that you can see the benefits of incorporating mindfulness practices and exercise into your daily routine, it’s time for action.
Start by taking a few minutes to evaluate your current routine and look for gaps in your schedule that you can fill in with a bit more mindfulness. When and where you add these practices into your routine will be unique to you — embrace that and start finding ways to be more mindful today!
As you’re practicing your journey to mindfulness, you may realize that you need a shift in your occupation that allows for a better daily routine. When that happens, we’ve got your back at DotConnect. We’ve helped thousands of workers connect with their dream jobs and also offer opportunities to incorporate more freedom into your life with our Path Connect coaching program.
And if you’re an employer looking to grow your team and create a stellar work environment for your people, reach out to us! We’ve helped companies like Samsung NEXT, Beautycounter, and ZenDesk build their dream teams, and we can do the same for you. Check out our success stories to learn more about how we’re changing the face of recruiting today!