Taking on an internship is one of the most exciting, challenging, and rewarding tasks on a college student's to do before graduation list. Interns are on the cusp of what they’ve dreamt of yet feared since they got their first taste of independence – adulthood.
Trust me, I know. Soon-to-be college graduate and current studio BE intern here!
This baby step into adulthood can go one of two ways depending on how a company supports its intern. In the ideal scenario, the company prioritizes its intern’s well-being as much as it would any other employee. On the other hand, a company might be tempted to throw its intern head-first into an overwhelming to-do list without offering resources for mindfulness, movement breaks, or meditation practices.
Workplace culture is changing. Employees are looking for companies that prioritize their mental, physical, emotional, and relational support now more than ever. Interns are no exception.
I know what you’re thinking. Interns can’t possibly need as much support as long-term employees. You might want to reframe your thought process here.
Interns can provide quality assistance with routine tasks that often distract from larger projects and obligations. Those tasks add up when you’ve never worked for a company before. What can you offer interns in return? A quality experience! Make sure your interns feel seen, supported, and like they’re a part of the team – because they are.
Wondering how studio BE lives up to this standard of quality care for interns? From day one, I was given access to and encouraged to participate in our recorded and live classes so I had the opportunity to practice mindfulness exercises, pause for quick stretch breaks, and get a taste of what our clients experience every day. I always come back from these classes feeling more energized and creative. You know what that means? My work as an intern is full of more energy and creativity!
Now that you know why a company should support interns, let’s talk about how mindfulness can be applied in the workplace. Mindfulness can benefit physical, mental, and emotional health, but the benefit I love most is the improvement in relational well-being.
Good news: this relational benefit is the secret to having happy, healthy interns.
Something as simple as inviting interns to team bonding experiences can mean so much. Think about it: you’re starting a job in a new environment with people you’ve probably never met before. You don’t know the group’s flow yet, and you don’t know how to insert yourself into the dynamic without overstepping your bounds. Being invited to join your new team on a hike or a company picnic is the perfect opportunity to let your true and best self shine. You might even make new friends along the way, and who doesn’t like making new friends?
Speaking of friends, practicing meditation with a partner or group often makes the experience less intimidating for newcomers. Chances are, your interns haven’t had much exposure to mindful workplaces yet, which means you get to be their FIRST experience with a company that genuinely cares about their well-being and makes time for them to cultivate this essential aspect of a work-life balance.
Give your team access to live group meditation practices to foster this communal growth. You’d be surprised how much of a difference 15-minute practices can make in the focus, efficiency, and motivation of interns and full-time employees. Each practice gives them a chance to rest and recharge their minds by reminding them to take a few deep breaths, relax their shoulders, and care for their bodies. Quick stretch breaks can accomplish all three!
Interns are often tasked with taking notes, researching industry information, or creating content for the company, which can restrict the body’s ability to move and gently exercise throughout the day. Sorry to say, but typing 70 words per minute isn’t exactly the exercise I’m talking about.
Make time for your interns to leave their desks and take a walk around the office for 10 minutes every few hours. Moving their bodies periodically will allow their brains to exercise too, improving their work-flow in the process. Here at studio BE, we offer a “Work Day Break,” a movement, breath work, and/or meditation practice that’s based on whatever areas the class attendees need the most support with, which I believe is much more fun and engaging than taking that stroll around the office. So, tell your interns to break out those sweat bands and get moving!
When it comes to putting these small practices into place, a little goes a long way. Any intern would appreciate their first working-world experience being one that prioritizes their well-being and holistic health; however, it’s important to note that this unexpected gift may take some getting used to.
Interns entering the workforce have probably heard that getting as much work done as possible should be the goal of each day no matter how much of a personal toll productivity may take. Adjusting to this culture of care and compassion is likely going to be a bit of a culture shock for these young adults learning how to be leaders, entrepreneurs, content creators, and professionals… all while also learning who they are as individuals.
The good news?
They’re learning how to be all of these things from the stellar people—that would be you—who are working with them.
Make sure you set a good and mindful example.
Now that I’ve shared the secret to mindfully supporting your interns, would you mind passing along a message to them?
To my fellow interns:
As you prepare to hop back into another semester – make time to cultivate mindfulness during the school year, too. Mindful work doesn’t have to stop at the office door. If you find yourself panicking before your first day at a new internship—or if you’re preparing for your last first day of school like I am—take a full and deep breath, stretch from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, and focus on the present moment.
What emotions are you feeling? How can you respond to each one without judgment? Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, you’ve practiced mindfulness! How easy was that?
Remember this practice when overwhelming feelings seem too heavy to carry on your own. Your mind will be on your side if you give it permission to be.
You’ve got this, but on the days that you don’t, take a break. It will make all the difference.
Guest post by soon-to-be college graduate and current studio BE intern, Kyra Krzywicki
Kyra is an intern at studio BE and a Senior at the University of Scranton. She is a self-proclaimed daydreamer who is fascinated by the art of communication, the study of theology, and the speed at which her dogs can run zoomies around the yard without falling over.