joanna jacobs

How is 2017 settling for you so far? It’s common to hit the new year and move into doing mode - being busy with meetings, projects and sales.

I’ve noticed that when I’m particularly busy, every minute of my time is scheduled. This year I’ve been determined to be kinder to myself and have been fortunate to experience two opportunities to pause: a spa day where the heated stone benches soothed my soul and my muscles; and a three-day unconventional coaching retreat on a working farm. From the space these opportunities created came clarity, energy and creativity. The more I slow down and pause, the more I crave chances to do this.

But it isn’t practical or economical to always have these big-ticket events in our calendars. So find small, micro ways of pausing throughout the day. These can give your mind the rest it requires to help you be your best at work.

Start by reviewing what you eat and drink. I’ve noticed the positive impact cutting caffeine, sugar and wheat from my diet has had - a clearer mind, for starters. Hydrate! Our minds can trick us into thinking we are stressed when actually our brains are dehydrated, causing us to feel sluggish and reach for the caffeine.

Next, review your diary. Where are the regular commitments that don’t serve you or the work you are here to do? Be bold, politely decline them, and instead schedule planned downtime for you, just to be still. Notice how the mind starts to calm and settle during this time.

Find space for an exercise to strengthen body and mind. Swimming, yoga or running are great examples. I often find new ideas are dreamed, problems are solved and connections are made subconsciously when I’m on my yoga mat.

Immerse yourself in nature wherever possible. Can you conduct any meetings while walking outside your store or office? Eat lunch outside, even on a cold day! Spring is a perfect time to observe the new life that is emerging. A chance to consider new beginnings, ideas and approaches.

Finally, in times of overwhelm, take 20 circular breaths: imagine breathing in for 10 to form the top of a circle, then exhaling for 10 to complete it. You’ll feel more grounded and able to respond.

I’d love to hear how creating space among the busy-ness of retail life helps you.