One of my main goals of using mindfulness is to help prevent an overwhelming build-up of stress throughout my working day. For me, stress comes a little too easily. I get myself worked up over simple tasks and beat myself up over easy mistakes. I’ve only recently started working full time and now suddenly I am getting migraines regularly when I never used to get them at all.
When I first started exploring mindfulness, I figured it was just a thirty-minute meditation per day and then that was it. I actually began to worry I would never find the time to do it. Thankfully, my course taught me to “check in”. This involves stopping for a minute, or two, or three, during your working day and grounding yourself in the present moment. This can be done through focusing on your breath, but it is also encouraged that you check in with your thoughts. As Penman and Williams put it, checking the “weather pattern” of your mind. Are you panicking? Day-dreaming? Planning? Once you’ve established where your mind is, gently bring your attention back to your breathing.
I’m still working on this. Unfortunately, I find it difficult to remind myself to check in when I’m busy. When it’s quiet, however, it’s easier. Don’t worry, it’s not essential that you close your eyes, you can simply lower your gaze. If you work in an open plan office, like I do, that’s quite a relief!
Earlier this week I was forced to call in sick due to my newfound migraines. When I went into work the next day I had tonnes of work waiting for me. I was determined not to let it get the better of me and made a point of checking in whenever I could. It helped, that I can say for certain. I kept a headache/potential migraine from building as I continuously focused on my breathing. I took one task at a time depending on priority and I left that evening feeling content.