How to reduce stress by paying attention
Home office feels a bit worn out after trying it out for more than a year. Many of my colleagues as well as clients I hear on the phone tell the same story. While most people like to have more flexibility, being constantly away from the office and the team demands more micromanagement. More emails, more calls, more questions, more things to verify and a lot more miscommunication.
Due to the increasing number of emails people start to work on weekends to finish up some things and others login during their vacation time. So far I was able to resist that by setting rules that I uphold. After I finish my 8.4 hours I shut the laptop down, no matter how many unread emails I have. But the longer this situation goes on the more I feel pressure that I should do more because everybody is doing it. No one is telling me to do it and everybody says they have too much on their plate, yet no one seems to actually do something against it. Last week was particularly bad and on Friday my batteries were down and out for good.
Spring is here, birds are chirping happily, days are getting longer but most home office warriors are glued to their screens. This is not how it is supposed to be and while walking in the forest on the weekend I was thinking what to do about it.
Withstand the urge and pay attention
When a distraction or discomfort appear we try to avoid these feelings at all cost. This is a lost battle because they will come up again. Don’t get lost in thoughts about a particular issue or person that annoys you. Rather accept the discomfort and pay attention to the feeling by acknowledging it. Focus on the feeling instead and not on a person or a task. Accept that you don’t like it and move on with your work. If it shows up again (which it will) do the same again.
Don’t chew over an encounter or something that a person said which will only stress you out more. Accept that it is your minds natural way of working and let it pass.
Creating space in our mind
What we want to achieve is to create space in our mind. It is a bit like open the windows in the morning to let the air from the past night out and let the room breath. Our mind works the same, if we keep our windows closed the room will get more stuffy. If we open up and relax we can breath better and use the open space in our mind for positive things. Like this we will find solutions to every obstacle in the way.
Don’t judge a book by its cover
Another way to create space is to stop judging everyone. For me that was about all the people working on the weekend which will result in my mailbox be even fuller on Monday. I can complain about this or get annoyed the moment I turn on my laptop. But that doesn’t solve my issue and it will only darken my mood. Instead I can anticipate that my mailbox will be full because I have no control of it anyway. So when I opened Outlook this morning it was a mess but it didn’t bother me as much as it used to because I accepted the situation as it is. What I can do is look at it with a positive attitude by doing my best and staying calm.
Attack is the best defense
A lot of misery comes from only reacting to your environment. This will lead to a lot of discomfort and unhappiness. By being more present and accepting the pain points that might arise we are more aware or our surrounding. Remember that we are not our thoughts and all is just a way of looking at a certain situation. Same goes for how you feel about yourself, if you have confidence in yourself even when things don’t go our way life is much easier. That doesn’t mean you have to be cocky but just be aware of who you are and what you are capable of.
I started this Monday morning with a 30 minute walk looking at the mountains far away in the horizon where the sun rose slowly. The sky was purple blueish and the clouds were saying hello to each other. This is a short week before the Easter weekend. There will be a lot of work coming my way, some situations will be last minute and hectic but that is okay. I welcome the challenge and while writing this sentence I have a smile on my face.
Have a great week.