The virus has affected us all in some way or another and many of us have found ourselves confronted with the reality of having to work from home.
Working from home has many obvious benefits. No more anxiety inducing commute, no more dry, so called ‘sandwich’ forced upon ourselves for lunch at the computer, no more uncivilized alarm clocks at stupid O’ Clock…Nope… Now is the time of Zoom calls and disheveled hair or at best, self care consisting mostly of what is visible from the waist up.
Now, life in many ways, is much more on our own terms. We get to set meetings based on our own personal body clocks rather than those dictated by those archaic Victorian working times that went out with bustle skirts.
That’s not to say that working from home has been easy, in fact some days it’s anything but. New reality consists of juggling home schooling, Zoom meetings with noisy pets, little ones seeming to have a sixth sense of the best time to interrupt, distractions of what is on the other person’s bookcase….
Working from home has meant completely relearning how to exist and be in the world. For many of us, our whole lives we have been spoon-fed what to do when; actually being in charge of our time and schedule has been an eye opening experience.
Working from home and the inability to disconnect
Working from home has meant the boundaries between work and home life all but seem to have disappeared and are now but a distant memory. We now answer work emails and do our social media well into the evenings.
Now more than ever it is difficult to switch off, to disconnect, to do something, (anything!) for pleasure without feeling a pang of guilt for wasting our precious time. Now more than ever we are our jobs, they have all but consumed our whole identity.
Meditation means a Clearer Mind and less anxiety
When there is so much to do, it is easy to start the day on the wrong foot. It is easy to wake up overwhelmed and already feeling like you are behind and what we need to do just isn’t possible. If we are not careful, the day has barely begun and we already feel like a failure.
Starting the day with yoga and meditation can change that. It might be the last thing that you think you have time for but in actual fact, you will be doing yourself a favour.
Meditating clears away the detritus from the overwhelmed mind and helps us to think more clearly. Rather than seeing a jumbled mass of ideas, competing thoughts and to-do lists, meditating helps us to organise our thoughts and to recognise each individual thought. This serves as a kind of pre-planning activity. In our mind we are mentally carrying out the tasks so when the time comes to actually physically do it, our brain thinks it is doing it a second time.
This saves precious time later and enables us to move calmly and gracefully between tasks.
Our brains like our muscles need a good work out. Without practice and constant use our brains, like our muscles, atrophies and deteriorates.
Fortunately our minds are pretty amazing and it doesn’t take much practice to train our brains to become sharper and better focused.
Meditation has been found to have profound effects upon the brain’s ability to function and we can literally change our brains through mental training.
Scientists refer to the brain’s ability to rewire itself as Brain Plasticity.
Meditation enables us to focus on the task at hand, prevents our minds from wandering and even helps us make fewer mistakes.
When we are distracted, which is inevitably going to happen in your new work from home environments, with practice, mediation helps us to refocus our attention and return to a productive frame of mind.
Meditation Teaches Patience and Acceptance
Meditation also teaches us to be patient. Patience is a virtue or so the old adage goes. But did you know that it is also linked to success. The ability to delay gratification, to accept things as they unfold and the recognition that in fact most things are outside of our control are not life skills that we are taught in schools but play a major role in how we experience life and the state of our mental health.
Continuing on our journey without losing hope and without ever being sure that our efforts will prove fruitful or recognised is a reality for all of us in the hustle economy. Meditation and the quality of it, is outside of our control. Whether we are able to get into a transcendental state or just sit still and quietly for a few minutes and recognise that too as something of benefit is a good skill for everyday life.
Patience teaches us that good things take time and to accept an outcome regardless. Whether we succeed or fail can be outside of our control or take longer than expected. We need to learn to carry on regardless and not to associate our success or failure with our value as a human being.
Higher Self Esteem
Meditation also helps with our self esteem. Meditation and being calm feels good. When we take the time to meditate we get a dose of happy hormones that promote relaxation and a sense of wellbeing.
When we invest in self care, in listening to what we intrinsically feel we need and making sure those needs are met consistently, something happens. Our essence, or soul or being ( whatever you wish to call it) begins to relax, to be at ease and to trust us again.
When we are nice to ourselves we start to feel maybe we are in fact worth something and we do have some value after all!
If you add something to your daily rituals, make that something mediation. It adds to your sense of wellbeing, your chance of success and even your sense of reality. You will thank yourself and others will thank you for it. I guarantee, it will be the best spent (two?) minutes of your day…
- Choi, Charles Q. Meditation Sharpens the Mind
May 07, 2007 retrieved january 13th 2021
- Schnitker, Sarah. An examination of patience and well-being The Journal of Positive Psychology Baylor University July 2012 (retrieved january 14th 2021)
- Dariush DFARHUD, et al. Happiness & Health: The Biological Factors- Systematic Iranian Journal of Public Health 2014 Nov (retrieved january 14th 2021) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449495/
- John A. Bargh and Ezequiel Morsella. The Unconscious Mind Perspect Psychol Sci. 2008 Jan; 3(1): 73–79. (retrieved january 14th 2021) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2440575/
- Kihlstrom J F. The cognitive unconscious 1987 Sep 18 (retrieved january 14th 2021) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2440575/
- Soren R Ekstrom. The mind beyond our immediate awareness: Freudian, Jungian, and cognitive models of the unconscious 2004 Nov;49(5):657-82. doi: 10.1111/j.0021-8774.2004.00494 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15533197/