Why breathing education, mindfulness and parks are the perfect wellbeing at work combination

Slowing down. The most popular choice of so many people I’ve asked during Sniff Sigh Yawn wellbeing at work sessions in how to start coping better in dealing with stress, improving emotional wellbeing and gaining more resilience.

“The pace of life has become relentless” is another common thread in our workshop conversations. It’s not easy to slow down at work, especially if you operate in a time-sensitive, deadline-driven world like I do, running a multi-sector pr and marketing agency like Wellbeing Ubiquity.

Some of the workshops are park-based. What I inspire people to do in this setting is really think about their daily life and how they go about it.

Some people, from feedback, think about how fast they eat every day. Chewing food quickly has a bad effect on us. It activates the stress response system, releasing adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream. These hormones weaken your immune system over time and also lower your mood. All food we eat raises our breathing rate and processed food does that even more so. This changes how we think, feel and work.

It puts the alarm system in your brain on red alert causing us to be on the lookout for threats. So we are quick to find things to worry about and get irritated with. It gives us less time to think clearly and make good decisions. Operating on fight or flight never gets the best out of anyone at work.

Nature gives us space to spend some time thinking about doing a few things more slowly. Whatever that might be. It might include driving somewhere more slowly than usual in future. It might include walking slower. It may include just reassessing work styles and lifestyles a few layers at a time.

As I hinted at earlier, it’s not always easy at work to resist the pressure from others to do things quickly. We can sometimes find ourselves doing something in a rush owing to someone else’s lack of planning but you have to deal with it. I find the more you indulge in nature, the more balance you bring to the table at work. I know, not rocket science but a message worth driving home until people commit to it.

One of the best things in not rushing around by strolling in parks is mindfulness and being able to appreciate what’s good in the moment. 

This can stop you overthinking into the future with your thoughts. There’s so much to take in via nature if you really place yourself in the present. It’s what grew my interest in photography.

Avoiding overwhelm is a major obstacle for many of us including me these days and it can sometimes be about challenging your inner voice to resist that. Does racing about actually make you happier, or just more stressed and worn out?

Feel free to indulge in these thoughts and enjoy the well-being that comes from going slower in nature.

You’ll look and feel different as a result but don’t take my word for it, go and indulge.

You might like to try and few breathing techniques to take the edge of that cortisol rush and heavy head that won’t switch off.

If so, I recommend the many small breath holds Buteyko (boo-tay-ko) method technique.

Simply pinch your nose for 5 seconds after the exhale, mouth closed and release, relaxing for 10 seconds, keeping mouth closed, breathing gently through the nose, then repeat up to 6 times in performing one set.

You’re basically reducing your breathing and when we breathe less, we push more oxygen, CO2 and nitric oxide into the cells of our brains, muscles and nerves.

This relaxes and reinvigorates us all at the same time. It’s in my own go-to workplace wellness armoury in stressful times and I’d encourage you to use the technique and learn the method to include in yours.

Check out sniff sigh yawn nature photos on Insta www.instagram.com/joeljelen.sniff.sigh.yawn/ and www.instagram.com/joeljelenwellbeingubiquity/

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Why Does Daddy Breathe Funny?

This A-to-Z book includes a glossary of new words for children and short notes about better breathing for parents. Slow down, relax and read this book with your children to find out how you can all breathe better and improve your health.