Making time for the activities that contribute to your spiritual growth has little to do with being selfish. Modern life compels us to rush. Because we feel pressured to make the most of our time each day, the activities that sustain us, rejuvenate us, and help us evolve are often the first to be sacrificed when we are in a hurry or faced with a new obligation. It is important we remember that there is more to life than achieving success, making money, and even caring for others. Your spiritual needs should occupy an important spot on your list of priorities. Each task you undertake and each relationship you nurture draws from the wellspring of your spiritual vitality. Taking the time to engage in spiritually fulfilling activities replenishes that well and readies you to face another day. Making time for the activities that contribute to your spiritual growth has little to do with being selfish and everything to do with your well-being. Regularly taking the time to focus on your soul's needs ensures that you are able to nurture yourself, spend time with your thoughts, experience tranquility, and expand your spiritual boundaries. It is easy to avoid using our free moments for spiritual enrichment. There is always something seemingly more pressing that needs to be done. Many people feel guilty when they use their free time to engage in pursuits where they are focusing on themselves because they feel as if they are neglecting their family or their work. To make time for yourself, it may be necessary to say no to people's requests or refuse to take on extra responsibilities. Scheduling fifteen or thirty minutes of time each day for your spiritual needs can make you feel tranquil, give you more energy and allows you to feel more in touch with the universe. Writing in a journal, meditating, studying the words of wise women and men, and engaging in other spiritual practices can help you make the most of this time. Making time to nurture your spirit may require that you sacrifice other, less vital activities. The more time you commit to soul-nurturing activities, the happier and more relaxed you will become. The time you devote to enriching your spirit will rejuvenate you and help you create a more restful life.
Have you ever felt exhausted by your work, even if you love what you do? Or perhaps you’ve felt like you were swimming upstream overwhelmed at your growing to-do list and facing the limited hours in each day. If you have experienced this, you’re not alone.
Exhaustion and burnout can take many forms, but signs of emotional and intellectual burnout are often less visible than physical burnout. This ailment is so prolific that the World Health Organization officially characterized burnout as a medical condition in 2019. According to a recent Gallup study, “76% of employees experience burnout on the job at least sometimes, and 28% say they are burned out “very often” or “always” at work.” The study also discovered that it was how individuals experience their workload that made the most significant impact on their well-being.
Mindfulness supports the development of self-awareness, the first competency of emotional intelligence. When you strengthen this internal capacity, you can discern how you are experiencing and relating to your work. With this knowledge, you can better manage your energy, acknowledge when you need rest and recovery and build capacity for intensive high-performing work periods.
Our world’s current and future challenges require caring and value-driven leaders and community members to envision and embody the future we want to see. In these distinct and challenging times, rest and self-care are essential forms of activism that develop the mental agility and emotional fortitude required to build that future together.
For many years, work culture hasn’t valued rest due to the myth that we are more productive when we power through. This myth perpetuates as we email colleagues at all hours, and they respond—usually within minutes, or when we ask employees to show up early or stay late, and they do. Vacations, where we’re not tethered to working remotely, are almost obsolete. This requirement to be always-on is impacting our well-being and relationships. In the days before cell phones, internet or email, work actually ended at 5 p.m. At today’s pace, there’s limited time for the brain to recover, which is an essential step to building resilience.
Contrary to the antiquated understanding of resilience as forcefully surpassing our limits and depleting our energy reserves, rest and resilience are deeply interconnected. The first step to building resilience is developing a sense of inner-calm; this requires us to press the pause button, whether for a short, 30-second breathing exercise integrated into your workday, or a longer rest period by taking an extended vacation where we fully unplug. Researchers Zijlstra, Cropley and Rydstedt refer to these as ‘internal’ and ‘external’ recovery periods: “internal recovery refers to the shorter periods of relaxation that take place within the frames of the workday or the work setting in the form of short scheduled or unscheduled breaks, by shifting attention or changing to other work tasks when the mental or physical resources required for the initial task are temporarily depleted or exhausted. External recovery refers to actions that take place outside of work—e.g. in the free time between the workdays, and during weekends, holidays or vacations.”
Integrated Daily Self-Care
So how can you create integrated breaks throughout your day for recovery and resilience? The key is to rest the mind, allowing it to pause states of high cognitive or intellectual arousal. Without these breaks, you may deplete your inner-resources and experience exhaustion or burnout.
When we open our computer in the morning and notice the growing list of tasks, it is easy to become so consumed that we neglect our basic needs; hunger, thirst and ‘nature’s call.’ In this heightened state of stress, our nervous system is overactive, leading to increased cortisol, which, if experienced in prolonged periods, can result in illness and disease. Throughout your workday, pay attention to your body’s signals to know when it’s time for a break. How does your body feel as you are working—Is it tensed? Are your breaths short? Are you holding your breath?
Short breaks such as this 2-minute awareness practice can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system so you can recover and approach your work from a relaxed state. When you sense that you need a recovery period, try a meditation, go on a mindful walk or take a real lunch break—without your phone or computer. Brief recovery periods like these improve focus and productivity upon return to work.
Extended Rest and Recovery Periods
Extended recovery periods aren’t solely about taking time off—it’s also how you spend your time off. If you take your vacation days glued to a screen, sending work emails on your days off, you are not allowing your mind to rest in the way that constitutes genuine recovery.
Unplugging can be challenging, especially from our interconnected world. Most managers and leaders do not fully unplug when on vacation, which can unintentionally lead to the breakdown of company culture. Each email you send while on ‘vacation’ conveys a message to employees that time off isn’t actually time-off, and they should expect to be accessible even while on vacation. If your company values employee well-being and you advocate for it, model it by unplugging when you take a vacation. Taking time away from your phone and computer has many benefits, including better sleep, which is another opportunity for you to recover and build the reserves needed for the challenges that lie ahead.
Sleep is crucial for the body and mind to gain external recovery each day though many struggle to get a good night’s sleep. One sleepless night can triple the number of lapses in attention, impair our emotional regulation capabilities, and intensify our negativity bias. To improve the probability of restful sleep, unplug from your devices 30 minutes before bed, set a regular sleep schedule and try a body scan to relax.
Rest and recovery are essential to our well-being and expand our capacity for sustainable high-performance. The emotional intelligence competencies of self-awareness and self-management are critical to discerning when you need rest, and having the mental courage to press pause.
Text by Search Inside Yourself
Like a tree, our growth depends upon our ability to soften, loosen, and shed defenses we no longer need.
Trees grow up through their branches and down through their roots into the earth. They also grow wider with each passing year. As they do, they shed the bark that served to protect them but now is no longer big enough to contain them. In the same way, we create boundaries and develop defenses to protect ourselves and then, at a certain point, we outgrow them. If we don’t allow ourselves to shed our protective layer, we can’t expand to our full potential.
Trees need their protective bark to enable the delicate process of growth and renewal to unfold without threat. Likewise, we need our boundaries and defenses so that the more vulnerable parts of ourselves can safely heal and unfold. But our growth also depends upon our ability to soften, loosen, and shed boundaries and defenses we no longer need. It is often the case in life that structures we put in place to help us grow eventually become constricting.
Unlike a tree, we must consciously decide when it’s time to shed our bark and expand our boundaries, so we can move into our next ring of growth. Many spiritual teachers have suggested that our egos don’t disappear so much as they become large enough to hold more than just our small sense of self — the boundary of self widens to contain people and beings other than just “me.”
Each time we shed a layer of defensiveness or ease up on a boundary that we no longer need, we metaphorically become bigger people. With this in mind, it is important that we take time to question our boundaries and defenses. While it is essential to set and honor the protective barriers we have put in place, it is equally important that we soften and release them when the time comes.
In doing so, we create the space for our next phase of growth.
Based on text by Daily Om
There is beauty and power when we listen to the whisper.
You may have noticed that when you want to speak to someone in a noisy, crowded room, the best thing to do is lean close and whisper. Yelling in an attempt to be louder than the room’s noise generally only hurts your throat and adds to the chaos.
Similarly, that still, small voice within each of us does not try to compete with the mental chatter on the surface of our minds, nor does it attempt to overpower the volume of the raucous world outside. When we want to hear it, no matter what is going on around us or even inside us, we can always tune in to that soft voice underneath the surrounding noise.
It is generally true that the more insistent voices in our heads delivering messages that make us feel panicky or afraid are of questionable authority. They may be voices we internalized from childhood or from the culture, and as such they possess only half-truths. Their urgency stems from their disconnectedness from the center of our being, and their urgency is what catches our attention.
The other voice that whispers reassurances that everything is fundamentally okay simply delivers its message with quiet confidence. Once we hear it, we know it speaks the truth. Generally, once we have heard what it has to say, a powerful sense of calm settles over our entire being, and the other voices and sounds, once so dominant, fade into the background, suddenly seeming small and far away.
We may find that our own communications in the world begin to be influenced by the quiet certainty of this voice. We may be less inclined to indulge in idle chatter as we become more interested in maintaining our connection to the whisper of truth that broadcasts its message like the sound of the wind shaking the leaves of a tree.
As we align ourselves more with this quiet confidence, we become an extension of the whisper, penetrating the noise of the world and creating more peace, trust, and confidence.
Based on text by Madisyn Taylor
In a world where we have routines to get everything done, we rarely have a routine for our spiritual self. In a world where we have routines for nearly everything -- our route to work, our physical fitness regimen, and our weekday schedule -- it's amazing how many people forget to create a routine for meeting their spiritual needs. We run around in an attempt to be at our many appointments on time and meet our many obligations. In our efforts to be as productive as possible, however, our spiritual needs tend to take a backseat. After all, taking care of our spiritual needs doesn't directly pay the bills or tone our abdominal muscles. We may even wonder who has time to meditate or write in their journal when there are more pressing matters to see to. The truth is that nurturing ourselves spiritually is what gives us the energy and grounding that we need to make sure that our lives stay on track. How you choose to nurture yourself spiritually is a personal choice. For some people, meditating once a day may be what they need to stay centered. While spending 10-20 minutes with your eyes closed and your brain devoid of thought may seem like a lot of time doing nothing, this state of nothingness actually allows you to stay calm and focused so you can be as productive as possible. Writing in your journal everyday lets you stay in touch with yourself so that you are always tuned in to your feelings. Repeating affirmations for success, happiness, and well-being on a regular basis can help you live with optimism and enthusiasm and create what you want in life. Having a routine for nurturing your spirit that you do each day lets you feed energy to your soul and can serve you well if your life suddenly takes an unexpected turn into a difficult period. This kind of routine grounds your spirit in your body so that you stay anchored in yourself as you move through each day. Nurturing yourself spiritually allows you to not only stay on track in your life, but it allows for your life to stay on track with what your spirit wants. Based on text by Madisyn Taylor
The longer we are able to hold a positive thought, the stronger that energy around us becomes. When we make no effort at all, our thoughts usually scatter in a vast array of directions. They start and stop and move in surprising ways from one second to the next. When we follow our thoughts without controlling them, we will be amazed at how truly inconsistent they are. And when we apply our minds to a specific task, especially one that interests us, they gather together and allow us to focus our attention, creating great power and energy. This is what is known as pure thought, because it is undistracted. The law of attraction -- like attracts like -- influences all energy, including our thoughts, and this is what makes pure thought so potent. Our undistracted thoughts create a powerful magnet that draws similar energy into our vibrational field. As a result, the longer we are able to hold positive thoughts in our minds, the more powerful the positive energy around us becomes. We don't need to focus on action and controlling so much when we are surrounded by energy that draws what we want toward us. We can simply respond to the opportunities that naturally come our way. When this is the essence of our experience, we can go with the flow, knowing that we will be okay. If pure thought is a body, it is our emotions that supply the heart that can really bring it to life. Our thoughts and feelings exist in relation to one another, and they form a feedback loop through which they communicate and empower each other. When we hold a thought in our mind without being distracted, we have achieved pure thought. When we have a positive emotional response to that thought, we enable it to dance and move and breathe itself into existence. Based on text by Madisyn Taylor
The 7Cs, as described by Elaine Patterson in her book “Our Humanity@Work” Working with the 7Cs, are our innate human capacities for care, courage, curiosity, compassion, connection, creativity and contemplation. They enable us to be mindful of how we bring our humanity into work and into leadership; they help those of us who may be naturally focused on driving for results, on efficiency and on process to ensure that we do this through our relationships with people and people-centred behaviours. At a time when there is uncertainty as organisations transition to hybrid working, face into restructures and redefine themselves to meet changing consumer demands as a result of the Covid era, your team members need a style of leadership that pairs care and compassion with courage and creativity. To bring these more to the fore in your leadership and management, start by looking back:
Reflecting on 2021
Take 10 minutes to consider your responses to the following questions:
|Care||What have I truly cared about at work this year?In hindsight, were these the right things?|
|Courage||Where have I needed to show courage this year?On a scale of 1-10, how courageous was I?|
|Curiosity||How have I been curious this year?How did that curiosity add value (or not?)|
|Compassion||Where have I extended compassion to others this year?Where have I shown myself compassion?|
|Connection||When have I felt a deep connection with someone or something at work this year?What effect did that have on me, them or on an outcome?|
|Creativity||Where did I bring creativity into my work this year?|
|Contemplation||Where have I invested time to take stock in my work this year?How have I checked in with myself or others this year and acted on what I have learned?|
Sparking ideas for 2022
Take 10 minutes to consider the following to help you set yourself up for a good 2022 at work:
|Care||How will showing care be important to me in 2022?Where do I need to show care and to whom?|
|Courage||If I was truly courageous in 2022 what could I achieve?Where will it be most important for me to show courage?|
|Curiosity||What am I already curious about in 2022?How do I need to continue to be curious?|
|Compassion||How can I extend my compassion to others in 2022?Where do I currently feel I will most likely need to show myself compassion in 2022?|
|Connection||What connections will bring me joy and/or fulfilment in 2022?What steps can I take now to ensure those connections happen?|
|Creativity||If I am at my most creative in 2022, what is possible for me?What excites me about these possibilities?|
|Contemplation||How might I need to make time for reflection and contemplation in 2022?What do I see as the value of doing so?|
I’ve found the time taken on these questions to be a great investment in enabling my learning as well as giving me motivation and excitement about what is possible in 2022.
Our bodies are living, breathing expressions of our consciousness and we may opt to treat it (us) as such. We can leverage gentle moves and breathing, to tap into the powerhouse of our bodies, and live in them (not despite of them).
Striking the right balance between our physical and spiritual aspects is one of the most challenging aspects of existence. We are dual beings by nature, spiritual entities bound to earth by physical bodies. In our lifetimes, we are charged with the duty of nurturing and tending both with equal devotion and love. Yet while both aspects of the self are deserving of honor and respect, there is a tendency for people who are more spiritually focused to ignore, avoid, or dismiss their bodies. Similarly, many individuals are entirely ensconced in the carnal realm and pay no attention to the needs of the soul. In both cases, an adjustment is in order.
We are whole only to the degree that we embrace both sides of our beings.
If the soul is the inward manifestation of our consciousness, the body is the living, breathing expression of that consciousness. The physical self provides the home in which the spiritual self takes root and flourishes. Just as we must tend to the seed of the soul to ensure that it grows strong, so, too, must we care for the protective shell that is the body to make certain it is capable of playing its role in our development. Though there will no doubt be times in our lives when we feel more comfortable focusing on the spiritual self or the physical self, denying the fundamental importance of one or the other can lead to ill health, emotional distress, and a sense of incompleteness. Both facets of the human experience play a vital role in our well-being.
The body and the soul are the yin and yang of our current reality. They are, at this point of human evolution, irreparably bound together, and many spiritual teachers agree that the body is one of the greatest vehicles through which to access the soul. In fact, many believe that our spirit has chosen to be embodied as an essential part of our spiritual development.
It is each of us responsibility (and honor!) to forge a marriage between the two, so that these diverse and distinct aspects bring out the best in each other, creating a vibrant, dynamic, and enjoyable whole.
Based on text by Madisyn Taylor.
There are times in our lives when all the signs seem to be pointing us in a particular direction.
Our thoughts and dreams are echoed in the songs and stories we hear and the media we see. Maybe the message we are getting from the universe doesn’t even make sense in the “real” world, but somewhere inside, these urges feel right. Maybe you feel you are being told to move to a new city although your life where you are is just fine. Or maybe you feel the desire to pursue a new direction in your career when it never really interested you before.
When we spend time getting in touch with our higher selves, our intuition sends us directives to lead us to become our best and most fulfilled selves. And when we are open and listening, the next step is to take action and go for it. Once we make the decision to pursue our inner urgings, the universe sets into motion the means for all sorts of details to fall into place.
A sense of peace will come over us, because we know that any questions will no longer make us wonder if our dreams are possible, but how to make them happen. Instead of deterring us from our goal, these questions only serve to clarify our focus to move us forward.
The positive shift in our energy affects everything around us. Like a rush of water, it goes ahead to clear debris from our path so that we can go forward. Our new attitude also attracts likeminded people. Sometimes even the most unlikely angels arrive to help us along our way with the information and support we need. Wherever your dreams are pointing you today, take a step.
Take action and manifest your inner urges and soul whisperings.
Based on text by Madisyn Taylor.