Maintaining strong emotional and mental health reserves is critical during times of uncertainty and crisis. Because daily stress and anxiety can drain our energy and strength, consciously investing in positive daily practices that boost energy and build reserves is vital for optimal health and resilience. Now more than ever.
Set an intention
Starting each day with an intention purposefully directs our energy and focus to what matters most. It allows us to choose how we decide to show up and experience our day, instead of allowing the events of the day to sweep us along.
When setting your intention, keep in mind that an intention is not a goal. You need not attach an expectation or evaluation to your intention. Rather, it’s an attitude or purpose you want to align yourself with throughout your day. You might set an intention to listen, to be present or compassionate, to demonstrate grace or patience, or to remain neutral and non-judgmental in your interactions with others.
If you aren’t sure what your intention should be, think about what your biggest challenge is for the day. What might you need to handle that challenge more successfully? More consciously? Perhaps you have a schedule filled with meetings. You might set an intention to be present. Before each meeting, take two minutes to breathe and get centered. Repeat your intention: Today, I am fully present and engaged.
Here are some recommendations for successfully creating a daily intention-setting practice:
- Make it a Ritual. Many people find it helpful to align setting their intention to an already-established morning ritual. For example, as you make a cup of tea or coffee, set your intention as you take the first drink. Or, before you check your email for the first time, take a deep breath and set your intention.
- Create a New Practice. Establishing a simple morning intention-setting practice helps you begin your day by connecting with your body and breath.
- Make it Visual. Write down your intention on a sticky note and put it on your laptop screen or somewhere else you’ll see it frequently. Make it your screensaver or jot it in your daily planner. Return to the intention as often as you need to throughout the day.
Take time to meditate
Another daily practice that goes hand in hand with intention is meditation. Taking mindful breaks or time to meditate each day restores our energy, reconnects us to our intention, and offers countless mental, physical, emotional benefits like reduced stress and anxiety, greater self-awareness, improved creativity and much more – all of which leaders especially need in times of uncertainty. Harvard Business Review’s March 22 article Why Leaders Need Meditation Now More Than Ever talks more about this, and provides ideas for morning and evening meditation, along with strategies for working through unproductive work patterns.
If meditation is a new practice or one you’re looking to refresh, there are many resources and apps available to help you get started.
- Mindful Magazine has many resources to help you begin a meditation practice and make it a daily practice.
- Headspace is currently sharing best practices on compassionate leadership and offering employer resources and tools on stress and meditation, along with some free meditations.
- Calm is also offering a number of free meditations during the COVID-19 crisis
- Peloton is offering the Peloton app free for 90 days. The app has numerous meditation classes.
At a minimum, start by taking just five minutes at least once a day to close your eyes and just breathe. This simple Five Mindful Minutes practice will help reset your parasympathetic nervous system, which will quiet down anxiety, regulate your breathing and heartbeat, and help you relax.
These are two of the nine positive daily practices used by the Beehive team to fuel our energized culture. Learn more about Beehive’s nine positive daily practices below.
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