Feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks on your to-do list? It’s easy to get lost in daily responsibilities without leaving time to take care of yourself.
General burnout aside, it is unrealistic to expect that people can maintain the same level of enthusiasm all day. Practicing mindfulness is a skill that PR professionals can incorporate into their schedule to ensure an extra boost to stay energized and present.
Being mindful is a personal and customizable practice, however the end goal is the same: to focus on being aware of what you are sensing and feeling in the moment, without any interpretation or judgement. Also, remember that what may work for someone else may not work for you.
If you’re feeling lost in the stressors of your day, here are some mindful practices to bring you back to focus (that all take less than five minutes):
1.Take a minute to really, really breathe.
Prioritizing a quick meditation can seem like a ludicrous use of time on jam-packed days, but it’s precisely these times when you can benefit from this practice the most. Whether you’re working from home or siting in an office, one-minute meditations can help you slow down the thoughts racing through your mind. Taking one minute to ground yourself can ultimately help improve your focus, make you feel refreshed and increase your productivity.
If a guided meditation is the practice for you, there are many free one-minute meditations that can be found online.
If you’d rather take a different approach, try a breathing technique. If you’re like me, guided meditations can sometimes feel like too much pressure. Taking the time to pay attention to how deep your breath is can help you slow down and achieve the moment of calm that you are looking for.
2. Use mindful listening.
Most people aren’t as skilled at listening as they think they are. Sometimes when people speak to us our minds wander, from an idea for a new project to what ingredients need to be picked up for dinner—it’s just a part of the human experience. Mindful listening can be used as an asset for PR professionals, whether you’re implementing it into conversations with clients or collaborating with team members.
To practice mindful listening, follow these tips:
- Put away distractions before your conversation. If you know that you’ll want to check your phone when a notification flashes across the screen, eliminate the option completely by putting your phone away before the conversation begins.
- Recognize when your mind has wandered. It’s alright for your mind to lose focus every once in a while; we’re all human. The important thing is to make yourself aware of when it happens, that way you can recognize when it does and snap yourself back into focus.
- Don’t assume that you know the answer to what a person is telling you. It’s easy to jump ahead and try to predict the outcome of what someone is saying. Coming to conclusions on your own can cause a disregard for detail, which ultimately allows your mind to wander away from the conversation.
3. Know when to log off.
It can be easy to justify the urgency to complete a project that can realistically be picked back up the next day. Sure, when a client calls with an emergency, working past the classic 9-to-5 is unavoidable, but on a regular ol’ Tuesday? Log off and do something that brings you joy.
If this feels foreign and daunting to you, don’t sweat it! Start small—go for a 10-minute stroll after work, cook yourself a meal that makes you feel good or queue up a few songs that you can’t help but sing along to. The time you allow to take care of yourself will reflect in the quality of your work.
Overall, when adding new practices into your day, start small and claim those tiny victories. You might not even notice the difference that something like a one-minute meditation can make after the first time you try it. Play around with what practice works best for you and continue to use it if it feels right.
Sophia Padua is PR associate at A.wordsmith, a boutique communications firm located in Portland, Oregon.