How to Feel Like You Went on Vacation by Meditating for 15 Minutes
In 2008, the University of Illinois concluded that U.S. workers should go on vacation more often. A psychology professor there published his findings in Cognition, a journal focused on the way the mind works. He and his team found that even minor diversions, much shorter than a weeklong vacation, could boost productivity and help renew one’s energy. This included meditation breaks.
Meditation can actually be a type of mini vacation if you do it right. Not only will it help you release some of the stress that builds up over the course of a workday, but also it could actually make you more energized and productive when you return to work. Here are a handful of ways you can squeeze in a 15-minute meditation break at work, and make it feel like a mini vacation in the midst of your day.
- Go home over lunch. Sometimes a break from all the stimulation present in your workplace is necessary to really sink deep into a meditative state. So, if you have a whole hour to spare, consider going home to meditate. You only need to spend 15 minutes of your break doing so—still plenty of time to eat. Start by simply shutting your eyes and sitting quietly, noticing the patterns of your own breath. Focus on what you’re feeling in that precise moment, and let it guide you as you continue to inhale and exhale. Focus only on your breath, the silence, and how you feel as you continue to sink deeper and deeper into a meditative state. Just make sure you set a timer for 15 minutes, because you might get carried away to another time and place over the course of your meditation.
- Find a quiet corner of your office. If you don’t have time to go home over lunch, you can make meditation work wherever you are. Find an empty conference room or another infrequently disturbed spot in your office and settle in. You can sit on the floor or in a chair, just follow the same guidelines as the at-home meditation break. If you can’t even find a spot like this somewhere in your workplace, try noise-canceling headphones in your cubicle. If you shut your eyes, you can travel to a far-off destination without ever leaving your desk chair.
- Try an app. Meditation doesn’t come naturally to everyone, which is why there’s now an app for it. Actually, there are several apps, but the highest rated is called Take a Break!. Available for both iPhone and Androids, Take a Break! pulls guided meditations from a popular podcast, one that’s 7 minutes (the Work Relaxation meditation) and one that’s 13 minutes (the Stress Relief Meditation). Depending on how much time you have, pick one and let yourself get swept away in the soothing voice that doles out meditation instructions. You can even add music or the sounds of nature to promote deeper relaxation.
- Make it a routine. Regardless of which meditation approach works for you, practice will make perfect. That means you should spend some time meditating every day or at least most days, allowing yourself to be swept away on a calming mini vacation every time you eat lunch.
10-Minute Meditation Breaks [The Chopra Center]
You’ve Been Taking Breaks All Wrong. Here’s How To Do It Right. [Huffington Post]
Take a Break, Meditate! [The Art of Living]