One of the biggest themes I see when recruiting Finance and Accounting professionals into new opportunities is a desperate need for work life balance. Work life balance is always at the top 3 of the wish list of around 90% of the candidates I speak to. Many candidates are feeling drained from the 12-16 hour plus days around the accounting cycle and find that this leaks into their time off. Candidates are finding themselves overworked, tired, drained, and generally unhappy with their current situation.
What if there was something that you could incorporate in your everyday life that could alleviate some of this stress? Something that you can do in small increments throughout the day to clear the noise in your brain? Enter the art of meditation and mindfulness. Incorporating these two things into your daily routine can reduce stress, anxiety, give you a more positive outlook on life and increase general health.
What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is best described as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations”. Think of it as turning off auto-pilot and the constant need for “go go go.” Meditation is a practice that you can think of as exercise for your brain. The more you practice it, the better you get at it. It’s taking a few moments each day to sit and be still and to just be. In today’s world we are constantly on the go, rushing from one thing to the next and find ourselves constantly distracted. Meditation allows us to sit with ourselves and gives our mind and body the chance to unplug.
The best part about this practice is you don’t have to spend hours doing it. If you have five minutes to yourself you can start to incorporate this habit into your life. Yes, we all have five minutes. If you don’t, think about all of the time you spend scrolling on social media throughout the day. We all have time.
Ways to incorporate meditation and mindfulness throughout your day
How you start your day sets the tone for the rest of the day. Instead of waking up and immediately checking your phone for work emails, why not mindfully start the day and ease into the day in a calm and peaceful way. Set aside 30-60 minutes in the morning if you can to create a morning ritual. Sit in silence and enjoy your coffee. Take a few minutes to listen to a meditation app. Many apps like Calm and Insight Timer have 5-10 minute guided practices that will help you to unplug and go within.
Let’s face it, in accounting and finance, you are encouraged to eat lunch at your desk and work through the day during busy times of the month and quarter. This practice adds a lot of unnecessary stress. Take a break, even if it’s for 10 minutes to step away from your work and to go outside and just breathe. Leave your phone at your desk and just enjoy the few minutes away from screens.
Similar to the morning routine, an evening one is crucial to winding down. Make it a habit to put all devices on do not disturb for an hour before bed to give you some time to mindfully reflect on the day. What were some successes throughout the day? What were some struggles? Being able to ask these questions and observe the answers that come up help you to understand yourself better. Try doing this the next time you just feel like zoning out on Netflix before bed. I promise, you’ll feel much better the next morning when you take some time to incorporate mindfulness in your routine.
One of the best ways to de-stress on the weekends is what I like to call: “The art of unplugging.” Pick a day of the weekend and turn off your phone. Literally just unplug. Try to go without any screens for the day and get outside into nature, spend time with a loved one without any distractions. We spend so much time on screens throughout the week (up to 17 hours a day!!) that this is a great practice to get into in order to reinvigorate yourself for the week to come.
Written by Stacey Anderson