Last week while on a business trip to a conference in Boston, I found myself in need of a break. It was the second day of thought-provoking talks that I attended with a great group of people. I had acclimated to the time change and felt good. But there was something “off” inside of me around 4:00 p.m. and I needed a “restart”.
My colleagues and I agreed to take an hour and a half before dinner to go to our rooms, rest, work, or do whatever we wanted before we met up again. I felt antsy because I had work I needed to catch up on and my mind was trying to absorb information I’d gathered from the lectures that day. I needed alone time after being surrounded by crowds of people at the conference.
While I had to do a bit of work before dinner, I knew it was more important to calm my mind first. I recognized that working in an overwhelmed state would not be an efficient use of time. So I sat on the floor of my hotel room, set the timer on my phone for ten minutes, and took a “meditation break”.
I took a few deep breaths and tried not to think of all the information I had learned that day. After all, it would still be there when I was done! I focused on my breath and relaxed. After ten minutes I felt much calmer, so I took out my computer and started working. Surprisingly, I finished everything pressing within the hour and a half and I did not feel anxious. Plus, after I completed my work, I meditated for another ten minutes before dinner.
This got me thinking. Why don’t I do this more often? It was the first time I really took a short ten minutes to meditate in the middle of the day to relieve anxiety. This quick break allowed me to work more efficiently, and therefore it was a useful part of my workday.
Normally, I save meditation for the early morning, and while it’s a great way to start off my day, I’ve realized it’s beneficial to do again throughout the day when my brain is overloaded.
This leads me to my challenge for you. When you are overwhelmed with your to-do list or if something just doesn’t feel right, give yourself ten minutes to meditate. Sit still, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Thoughts will come and go, but stay focused on your inhales and exhales and don’t judge yourself. When the ten minutes is up, notice how you feel.
I recommend this as a daily practice, maybe after lunch, or right after work but before the drive home. It’s entirely up to you and your schedule. The important thing is to recognize when you need it.
If you’re completely new to meditation, check out the video below of our yoga and meditation instructor, Phyllis Pilgram, on “How to Meditate”. Enjoy your state of calm!