Humor me: let’s start with a mindfulness exercise. Hold your phone in your non-dominant hand, extend your arm in front of you, and maintain this position for two minutes.
Now, take a moment to reflect on the experience. How did it make you feel? Did your mind wander, or were you able to stay fully present in the moment? Perhaps you found it challenging and experienced a mix of emotions and physical sensations such as fatigue, discomfort, or even a tinge of guilt. What appeared as a simple exercise unexpectedly revealed deeper feelings. Burnout can blind us from our needs until it is too late.
In this post-pandemic era, burnout has become a pervasive concern for both employees and employers alike. Companies are actively exploring innovative ways to keep their workforce engaged, from flexible work arrangements and four-day workweeks to wellness programs. While these strategies have proven effective, there’s another powerful tool that’s often forgotten: mindfulness.
In today’s grind culture, busyness is king. Many measure their worth by the number of meetings etched into their calendars. However, busyness without self-awareness can lead towards burnout. Dr. Gabor Maté reminds us, “If you can’t say no, your body will say it.” Thus, the pivotal key to preventing burnout lies in the practice of mindfulness.
During a transformative session with The Originals, High Alpha Portfolio’s DEI Committee, mindfulness expert and corporate advisor Alex Maizuss introduced the concept of mindfulness: the act of intentionally paying attention to the present moment. To help us achieve mindfulness, Alex shared an acronym: RAIN.
R – Recognize your emotions and feelings
A – Allow yourself to fully experience those feelings
I – Investigate the root causes of those emotions
N – Nurture and care for your emotional well-being
As you navigate through this article, take a moment to tune into your body. Do you notice any discomfort in your neck or back? Are your shoulders tense, raised to meet your ears? Can you remain fully present, or does the lure of checking your email distract you? The techniques to cultivate mindfulness are simple, yet the true challenge lies in staying present and honoring our body’s needs.
So, how can companies actively promote mindfulness? It must be embedded in your culture.
You Need Breaks to Seek Mindfulness.
Empower employees to take genuine lunch breaks, creating a space where they can detach from work and attune to their feelings. By giving yourself permission to step away, you become better equipped to recognize and address your emotions.
Sometimes a Coffee Break Isn’t Enough. You Must Encourage PTO.
Implementing a robust paid time off policy is just the first step. Employees must feel comfortable using it. Sometimes, going into a quiet room for five minutes isn’t sufficient. Severe cases of burnout demand extended time away from the office. Encourage and support employees to utilize their PTO when needed.
Mindfulness Will Become a Core Value Once Leadership Sets the Example.
The behavior of leaders sets the tone for the entire organization. If employees witness their managers consistently working through lunch or forgoing their own time off, they are likely to emulate this behavior. To embed mindfulness practices within the company culture, it must be fostered from the top down.
The level of employees’ innovation and creativity can be hampered significantly if they’re suffering from burnout. Moreover, it is not just a matter of productivity, but also an ethical responsibility for founders to prioritize the well-being of their workforce. Embrace an enduring commitment to prioritize self-care and well-being.