Pack Your Zen Kit
When we pack our workday kit, we often think in practical terms: do I have enough pens? Will I need my laptop for this meeting?
But in a stressful work environment, it’s vital to surround yourself with gear that calms you down, even as you power through a busy schedule.
Meditation recharges your brain to make you more focused and productive. You can do it almost anywhere — so why not do it at the office?
Swamini Supriyananda, a monk from the Chinmaya Mission who teaches meditation, says the technique is used to give the brain a break.
“It reduces the number of thoughts that you would have per minute. The more thoughts we have, the more anxious we are. It doesn’t slow down your brain, but makes you more aware of what you are thinking about at this moment.”
Some people prefer meditating with music. So have a good playlist ready to ferry you to that quiet place. Try some of Jagjit Singh’s classics, or this online mix of over 900 curated meditation playlists.
What to pack: Noise-cancelling headphones to tune deeply into guided meditation, even at your desk during lunch. Or just slip them on to slip into blissful silence.
Bonus tip! Houseplants make for happier workers — in one study, people with plants on their desk became 15% more productive. So purchase a potted plant to add greenery to your space.
While meditation requires you to sit still, yoga makes you focus while moving. It has been described as mindfulness in action, as the movements are slow, prolonged and often need to be held for a period of time for you to get that perfect muscle tone.
“The reason I do yoga is because it is slower and I like the free pace of it. I find the gym too fast-paced, noisy and dreary in terms of the routine,” says 33-year-old sourcing manager Sharan.
What to pack: Lightweight and easily cleaned, a rolled up yoga mat under your desk means you can sneak into the break room for a quick ten-minute stretch, or escape to a local park.
3. Scintillating Scents
As anyone who has caught the whiff of fresh-baked naan knows, smell can boost our mood. So why not keep pre-packaged essential oils at your desk? Uncap them whenever you need to stay centred and calm.
Essential oils are made up of tiny molecules that are absorbed into the bloodstream within seconds of application. Each oil is a unique blend that can improve circulation, open airways and in some cases even kill bacteria, experts say.
What to pack: A small box of bottled essential oils. Pick between lavender for relaxation, rosemary for awakening, or eucalyptus to open up any blockages in the system.
Bonus tip! Perhaps your most important tool is the humble water bottle. In a survey of 300 UK doctors, one in five patients go to the doctor with fatigue-like symptoms “that can be caused by not drinking enough water.”