What 100 days of Meditation can do for your career
At the beginning of December, 2017 I found myself in a new city, at a new job and stressed to the max. I was excited to be in a new company, but between learning the ropes in my new position and being hired during the organization’s busy period, I felt overwhelmed and a little lost. On top of that I also had been throwing a new business idea around in my head, was enrolling my son in special needs therapy, and was trying to establish myself in a new city.
One evening between working on a project for work and preparing dinner and I caught the reflection of someone in the mirror and screamed. I legitimately did not recognize myself and it took a few seconds to realize that a stranger hadn’t walked into my home, it was me! I had circles under my eyes, I looked disheveled (which is your classic, busy working mom end of day look), and could not remember the last time I had a good night of sleep, but more than anything I looked incredibly unhappy. And I am always happy (like own a bright yellow car and have the nickname “sunshine”, kind of always happy). Once I recognized this unhappy stranger was me, I decided it was time to do something about it.
I spent a lot of time researching what to try to get back to my happy self that was affordable and holistic and it was clear that mediation was the best option for me. I gave myself the challenge of meditating every single day for 100 days and if that didn’t get me closer to my happy, then I would try something more drastic, like Komacha injections or running away to Bali. The beginning wasn’t easy. Every few seconds a thought would interrupt my peace and before I knew it my 15 minutes were done and I felt exactly the same. I was ready to turn in the towel and was reminded that I promised myself 100 days, so I changed gears. I started focusing on guided meditation. Guys, what. a. game changer. Through guided meditation I was able to learn the fundamentals of mediations, like breathing methods to help me concentrate and meditations focused on where I needed the most help. I also started listening to sleep meditations to help me have a better quality of sleep. Here’s the results of my 100 day experiment:
· I have never slept better in my life, which keeps me more focused at work and ultimately, a lot nicer to be around.
· I have more clarity during the day, which helps me be more productive at work and helped me develop a new business plan during my down time.
· I have noticed a dramatic decrease in my anxiety at work, something that has plagued me for years, that is now barely background noise.
· Because I feel more focused and calm at work, I feel less pressure to continue to work as soon as I get home, which helps me balance my work/life and business.
· It helped me feel more self-assured, which has let me take risks on projects and gain trust in my new position. Because meditation makes you stay mindful and connected with yourself it makes it easier to tap into the best version of yourself, which for me, is a lot more confident.
Interested in starting to add meditation to your routine? Here’s some pointers:
1. Find the time – it is suggested that best time to meditate is first thing in the morning. It’s a great way to get your day started, clear your mind and then set your intentions for the day. This may mean you need to start your day 30 minutes early to get meditation time in, but once it become habit you wouldn’t want to start you day any other way. Another time would be on your lunch, work breaks or anytime you are feeling stressed. I’ve done a few meditation breaks in my car when I feel overwhelmed or anxious.
2. Use an app – While meditation is all about disconnecting from everything, you are going to want to connect with one of these apps. Insight Timer and Headspace are two of the top meditation apps. Headspace does a great job taking you by the hand if you are new at meditating by giving you the meditation principals and guided meditations to help you stay centered. Insight timer has a timer you can use with background music, or you can chose from over 10,000 guided meditations from teachers all over the world on a multitude of categories from sleep to gratitude to letting go of limiting beliefs. These apps are great to help you experiment with the meditation style that works best for you.
3. Don’t get discouraged if you are unable to clear your mind -This is why they call it the “practice of meditation”, it takes practice. Don’t judge yourself if you’re unable to let go of thoughts, just focus on your breath or the voice on your guided meditation and you will get there. There are people who have been practicing for years who still struggle to get a clear mind, but the purpose is in trying and making this time for yourself.
4. Propose a meditation break for work - According to Fitspot Wellness, big companies like Apple, Google and Nike have meditation rooms and meditation retreats for staff. More and more companies are promoting meditation at work because they see the difference in both productivity and moral. While you don’t need to convince your employer to spend a lot of money to encourage mindfulness through meditation, you could propose a 10 minute break once a week where staff are welcome to join a large room to meditate, or even encourage meditation through your company internal newsletter.
I have made it past 200 days in a row now with this challenge and I have no intention of stopping. You don’t have to commit to 100 days to see a major shift in your career and in your life. Try meditating for two weeks for just 10-15 minutes a day and I can guarantee that if you stay committed you will feel a real difference. This action of self care will help you feel more centered, but also a better person at work and a happier version of yourself. You deserve that.