Does it already feel like your holiday was months ago? January can be a mixed blessing. The weather’s great, but you’re trapped inside at your desk. Maybe you’re in endless planning meetings leaving you overwhelmed at what the year ahead is promising. So, what’s the recipe for office harmony (if you’ll excuse the pun) and setting yourself up for a healthy, productive year?
Love thy neighbour. A good place to start is to remember that everybody is coming in to the new work year from a different space. One person might be ready to go gangbusters after two weeks of reading on the beach. Another might be exhausted from running around after their kids for weeks. Others may have had little or no time off at all. Pay attention to where your own energy level is and be sensitive to how others may be feeling.
Apply the handbrake. If you’re one of those feeling a little beaten by 2019 already, don’t worry, you can change that. The most powerful question you can ask yourself, or anybody feeling stuck or overwhelmed, is: What is going to create relief in this moment? What’s the one thought you could have, or the action I could take that would give me relief right now? You can’t go from being stressed to super-relaxed in a nano-second, so it’s about stopping to recognise what will help right now. It might be just to remind yourself to take things one bite at a time and that you don’t have to deal with the whole year, or a whole project, right now.
Reverse the spiral. Once you’ve given yourself that moment of relief, you have space to create a more positive pattern. A helpful thought to remember is “your attention is your energy”. Whatever you focus your attention on grows; focus on being stressed and suddenly it seems as though you have 1000 things racing around your head. Instead, think about one aspect of what’s overwhelming you to focus on. If you’ve reminded yourself to take things one bite at a time, what’s the first bite? By narrowing your field of focus to one thing, your attention - and therefore your energy - won’t be so stretched. By focusing your attention on the one thing you want to create, you free up the energy to be creative and to focus your attention. Congratulations – you’re now in a constructive pattern instead of a destructive spiral.
Sense and sense ability. Remember your mind is one of your senses. You can quieten your mind by bringing the other senses into balance. Sit quietly for two minutes. Notice how your body feels in the chair; notice what you can hear, see and smell. The minute you do that your mind can’t be so active. It allows you to step out and regroup so you can be deliberate and focused when you step back in.
Step outside. While we’re talking about stepping out, make sure you get outside at least once a day. Notice the trees and the sky, breathe deeply and try to find something you appreciate in your life, about your co-workers, about the day, or, heaven forbid, even about yourself!