Mindfulness Expert Dana Zelicha presents five steps to unleashing your inner Wonder Woman and finding the right work-life balance using mindfulness
Are you a working woman who feels pressure to find balance? Is fear or uncertainty stopping you from making leaps or moving forward? Society and instinct have made women primary care-takers, however we cannot constructively and in a healthy manner take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves first.
Taking the time to become mindful of who we are as women can give us clarity and empowerment to discover our strengths and unleash our inner Wonder Woman. The clearer we are with our thoughts and needs, the better we become at communicating with our families, friends and colleagues, and less reactive to the demand and expectations of our surroundings. Being able to accept ourselves and our emotions without judgement can help us feel more confident and live with more intention and meaning.
Wonder Woman symbolises many of the values of the women’s culture that feminists are now trying to introduce into the mainstream – strength, self-reliance, sisterhood and mutual support, as well as peacefulness and esteem for human life. However, in today’s society and the modern workforce, women continue to face challenges to push past boundaries and surpass societal expectations.
Here are five mindfulness tips for all of the Wonder Women out there who are interested in empowerment and reaching their full potential while keeping their values and morals and remembering who they really are.
Digital detox time – Make sure to turn all screens off at least 30 minutes before getting into bed – that means no phone, no laptop and no iPad; try to store devices in a different room to the bedroom overnight. This stops us from using them straight before sleep, which is important since issues can sometimes coexist with technology addiction. Getting out of bed can sometimes be the most challenging part of your day, particularly if you have a busy schedule ahead. Bombarding your brain with a barrage of information before giving your mind and body a chance to properly wake up is only going to result in increased stress. Instead, open the curtains and take a look outside, get a breath of fresh air and stretch your body.
Start uni-tasking – The belief that multi-tasking helps us accomplish everything we have to get done is a myth; research has shown that multi-tasking negatively affects performance and decreases productivity by up to 40 per cent. Unexpected problems may pop up throughout the week, but carving out one permanent ‘uni-tasking day’ can help you feel effective and more in control. Try to choose one day a week where you make it your goal to only focus on one task at a time and to really be attentive to whatever you’re doing. Divide your workday into ‘uni-tasking episodes’ – define each one, and dedicate a specific time for each task. For instance, 10am to 11am can be scheduled for preparing the presentation you haven’t had time to work on, then only focus on completing that task with all of your attention and effort.
Plan your day – To calm your mind, to get restful sleep and to avoid feeling overwhelmed the next day, dedicate about 20 minutes a day to write down a plan for the following day. Go through all the meetings you have, how much free time you expect and what you can realistically achieve in the designated time slots. Try to prioritise tasks and assess whether
or not you need to call on any colleagues to help. This enables you to pre-empt issues that could arise and go to sleep feeling prepared for the next day.
Meditate 10 minutes a day – You’re probably thinking, “Meditation? I don’t have the time to meditate, I’m too busy!” While you’re very busy juggling your personal and professional life, you may feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day. The good news is that meditation can be done in just a few short minutes when you find a spare moment or in between tasks. Think about all the times you idly scroll through your Facebook newsfeed or browse the internet for the same (if not more) amount of time. Using those pockets of downtime for meditating could be just what the doctor ordered to get you refocused and back on track.
Eat mindfully – Throughout the workday always ask yourself: “Am I really hungry right now? Does my body really need that?” Being more aware while you’re eating helps to avoid overeating or snacking when you’re not truly hungry. Many of us have also the tendency to ‘stress eat’, but making a plan to have a mindful lunch where you get to fully enjoy your food helps curb these unhealthy habits and gives time in the workday to look forward to. So instead of sitting at the computer and inhaling a sandwich, try to change your scenery and sit somewhere quiet so that you can actually enjoy your food.
Dana Zelicha is a leading academic on the topic of mindful leadership, a graduate of the London School of Economics and a former corporate high-flyer whose first-hand experience with the mounting stress of the modern workforce inspired her to launch The Well Being Agency. Her goal is to help the organisational world become more mindful. Follow her on Twitter at @WellBeingAgency, or visit her website at wellbeingagency.com
Dana will be speaking at PA Life Training Day on 25 September at the InterContinental London – The O2. Her sessions will focus on time management and handling stress. To book your place, visit palife.co.uk/training-day