How and When to Meditate at Work


Newsflash: You don’t need the perfect space or time to meditate. I have found that the belief that you need the perfect conditions creates another barrier to starting and keeping a practice. And though there are many approaches to meditation, a totally acceptable way to meditate is weaving your practice into small bite-size pieces throughout your workday. Because let’s face it, on some days, it can feel virtually impossible to sit quietly first thing in the morning. Our mind is running and we’re honestly excited about the day and ready to dive into work. On these days don’t force yourself to meditate! Find a way that works for you. You don’t have to be the perfect, enlightened yogi, but a mindful human trying to do good work in the world. So if you can’t meditate in big chunks, meditate in small ones. Here are three kinds of bite-size meditations to pepper throughout the day:

Phone booth or conference room meditation

Sure, it’s not sexy. And perhaps you’d rather meditate on a beach somewhere, but again, this is better than nothing. So go ahead, book that conference room for 10-15 minutes. Sneak into a booth, and breathe for 5 minutes, or 2 minutes, or 1 minute. If you don’t have a timer, how about 20 deep breaths? It’ll help you reset and dive back into the day.

Coffee or tea break meditation

Here’s the challenge: all you do is drink your beverage. You don’t look at your phone, or read your kindle, or talk to the cute barista. It’s a quiet moment to sit down and fully sip on your coffee or tea. Engage all your senses. Smell the aroma, admire the color, feel the temperature, the taste, feel the warm liquid cascade down into your belly. Be 100% mindful on your break. Slow down. You can do it. The world will not crumble, I promise.

Commuter meditation

What I like about the commuter meditation is that commuting happens twice a day, so if you anchor your practice to this behavior, you’ll meditate twice a day. It’s a great alternative to a podcast (or you can listen to your podcast after you meditate), as it will help you become more aware instead of simply taking in information and stimulating your mind (as the goal with meditation is to de-stimulate your mind). The most ideal situation is if you’re on a bus, subway, or a passenger in a car. Even if you’re driving, you can do a driving meditation, where you simply pay attention to your breathing and the sounds around you. Same goes with walking or biking.

The point is this: something is better than nothing. Instead of expecting the perfect meditation where you sit down on your cushion in front of a Buddha pond, imagine meditation as a thread you can weave into your workday in small, realistic ways.

In all three cases, reach for guided meditations, especially if you are new to meditation. My favorite tools and top apps have consistently been HeadSpace, SimpleHabit, and YogaGlo.

What do you think? Any other ways you like to meditate throughout your day? Shower meditation, anyone?