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I’ve had OCD and anxiety since I was a child and finding ways to navigate school, university and work has been a tumultuous work in progress. As a teen I found myself taking quite a lot of time off, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when I entered the world of work I wanted to find some new coping strategies. I had been practising yoga and meditation for a long time and found that they made a really big difference to my mood, thought patterns and levels of anxiety. I tried to take 10 mins for these activities at lunch time or during breaks but finding the time/space wasn’t always possible.
In my mid 20’s I trained as a yoga and meditation teacher and immediately knew I wanted to bring these practices to the workplace. I started teaching in offices, colleges and town halls, reaching people who might not normally try yoga, and talking about its benefits in the context of work stress, pressure and anxiety.
There is lots of research to demonstrate that these activities improve general wellbeing, as well as creativity and productivity, and though it is possible to use them independently, for example meditating in a nearby park at lunch time, it is much more beneficial if an organisation supports and encourages these practices. If your employer offers yoga, mindfulness or a similar well-being pursuit, it could make a surprisingly big difference to your working week.
I currently teach a class at Time to Change, the mental health charity where I work. It’s a brilliant way of getting to know colleagues you never normally talk to and provides a set time every week to focus on self-care.
Here are some tips for introducing yoga and meditation at your place of work:
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