The last six months have challenged all of us in unprecedented (and sometimes unbearable) ways.
With work, school and life all happening under one roof, these blurred boundaries mean there's not often an opportunity to find balance.
Our team here at studio BE has been working remotely since mid-March. As a business that provides companies with mindfulness training for their employees, we've been "practicing what we preach."
But let's be honest: just because you're a longtime mindfulness practitioner doesn't mean you don't sometimes feel burned out, exhausted, or overwhelmed.
With the overnight shift to remote work, informal opportunities to connect with colleagues have disappeared, creating a sense of loss and grief as colleagues miss out on opportunities to connect: from water cooler and break room conversations to impromptu brainstorming and more.
Integration, empathy and awareness are key to staying sane. But these skills take time to develop.
So what does it look like to put our practices into play?
Here at studio BE, we begin each day with a “stand up,” a brief opportunity for team members to report on their daily work and to seek assistance in overcoming obstacles.
We also hold longer bi-weekly retros to encourage, inspire, brainstorm and vent — not just about work, but about issues we're all confronting in today’s complicated world. These virtual meetings create an opportunity for teammates to share openly about personal and professional challenges. The retro has evolved into a powerful gathering where we hold a safe, wholehearted space for our colleagues to voice concerns, vent, seek feedback and mostly, garner support.
Sometimes even a few seconds can make a big difference, though, too.
As a transition between activities — for example, after leading an hour-long ZOOM training and before a team meeting, studio BE Vice President and Lead Mindfulness Trainer Dr. Christine E. Kiesinger recommends taking what she calls “the 3 essential breaths:”
I pause, and focus on my breath. During the first breath, I think about someone I really love and care about, and I focus on those warm feelings of adoration. During the second breath, I think about someone or something for which I am grateful. In that moment, I bask in the healing nature of gratitude. During the third breath, I say to myself: “All is well, all is well, all is well.”
This breath shifts my mindset from worry to hope and optimism. The “essential 3-breath practice” takes less than two minutes. I use this practice every time I am about to shift from one activity to the next. This often means that I am utilizing this practice several times per day.
We've also curated weekly meditation sits. Team members are invited to gather once weekly for a 20-30 minute meditation. Individual volunteers lead these sessions, as we take turns holding space for one another. This is a quiet virtual refuge designed to help our team members restore, reconnect, and rejuvenate.
Our twice-monthly interview series, Meet Your Center, began as a response to the COVID crisis. We invite guests from the worlds of finance, science, medicine, the arts, and entertainment to share their expertise with the studio BE community and our clients during this stressful time. Highlighting the experiences of professionals from diverse backgrounds, locations, and perspectives invigorates the team and keeps us connected to our mission.
Finally, the studio BE portal, which includes mindfulness meditation and movement classes and workshops, is available to our team around the clock. Our mindfulness instructors and staff members alike have found themselves to be calmer, more productive, and more focused after taking one of our meditation or yoga classes.
It's not always easy to find solid ground in the midst of a global pandemic and a chaotic political season. When the world feels upside-down, and the boundaries between work and life begin to blur, turn to these simple practices to bring yourself back to center.
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary 14-day trial of our gorgeous new virtual studio for yoga, mindfulness and more.
We can’t wait to welcome you home.
Jennifer Ciarimboli is studio BE’s founder and CEO.
Jennifer began her career in corporate sales in 1999 in the telecommunications industry. After nearly a decade of success in that industry she suffered from burnout, trained to be a yoga teacher and transformed her life.
Jennifer embraced her entrepreneurial spirit in December 2008 when she opened NE Pennsylvania’s premier yoga studio, Balance Yoga & Wellness. During her six years of owning, instructing, and managing Balance, Jennifer continued to advance her training, global network, and inner growth. In 2014 she enrolled in the Insight Yoga Institute.
Wanting to spend more time on deep studies in yoga, the teachings of the Buddha, spiritual inquiry, and mindfulness meditation, Jennifer sold Balance in 2015. Reflecting on her long career in corporate sales, she recognized that if she had learned some of the methods and techniques of mindfulness meditation years ago, she might have been better able to manage her stress in a healthier way.
From this insight, studio BE was born.
Feature photo by SeventyFour/Adobe Stock