Last week I went to another event from The Li.st, Burnout, Meditation, and Mindfulness: How to Survive and Thrive in the New Work Reality. It was a great way to start the new year. The evening before the event someone had asked if I was going and I said no….I had too much going on an needed a night off! Then I realized that his was exactly what I needed!
The evening featured a discussion with Dina Kaplan, Bea Arthur, Glynnis MacNicol and David Gelles…a fantastic group to weigh in on the subject:
- David Gelles, New York Timesreporter and author the upcoming book Mindful Work: How Meditation Is Changing Business From The Inside Out;
- Dina Kaplan, founder of new meditation startup The Path
- Bea Arthur, founder of online therapy startup In Your Corner
- Glynnis MacNicol, co-founder of stand author of the viral Elle article What It’s Like to Burn Out, for a discussion and pointers on how to navigate, enjoy, and excel at your work in 2015.
So I walked away excited to read Mindful Work, ready to try meditation, even if it is only 17 seconds a day, and inspired by new ways to think about the new reality!
David’s book Mindful Work, explores how meditation is transforming the workplace. Someone compared meditation today to yoga, which was seen as fringe 30 years ago and now is beyond trendy to tried and true. Now CEOs and leaders from across industries are coming out of the closet, crediting meditation and other mindfulness practices with increased productivity and more.
David details how companies are adopting mediation from the top down or bottom up. So the CEO meditates and makes it part of the company culture. This is what happened at Google with the Search Inside Yourself initiative. In other companies like Intel or General Mills it starts with an employee who shares it with another, eventually turning into lunchtime sessions and more.
A few insights from David:
“Mindfulness = Paying attention, in a particular way, in the present moment, on purpose, non-judgmentally”. —@dgelles
“Taking care of ourselves doesn’t need to take all day.” —@dgelles
He recommends that you find a physical space in your workplace that you make your slow down place. For example every time you take the elevator, you put away the phone and just lose yourself in the sensation of movement. Or maybe it’s a hallway that you always deep breath in.
Which brings me to Bea Arthur, who made a big point about that you have to make it work for you. No amount of people telling you that you should set aside an hour in the morning for yoga is going to work if you are a night person and you can’t sit anywhere for an hour! She shared that you can get a benefit from just 17 seconds of a mindful practice.
An established psychotherapist, Bea started an online coaching and therapy resource to make therapy a more accessible and affordable experience. Her startup was originally called Pretty Padded Room because she wanted a “nice place to go crazy”. She has since changed the name to In a Your Corner as it opened up beyond women (@InYourCornerCo)
Bea also talked about taking preventative measures. Some of her insights:
“Find your thing, and do the shit out of It.” —@BeaArthurLMHC on avoiding burnout.
“Imagine how it feels to get all your stuff done, Think about how good it feels. Linger on those good feelings for at least 17 seconds.” —@BeaArthurLMHC
“Don’t get sucked into the culture of comparison where we grade ourselves against the happy lives we see of others.” —@BeaArthurLMHC
The Li.st co-founder, Glynnis MacNicol also talked about the dangers of comparing your life with the “highlight reel” of not just one person but of all your friends when you go on Facebook or Instagram.
When you see all the posts it’s not just a fear of missing out, it’s a fear of not keeping up…triggering the need to do more and more. She also reminded us that the world is not going to end if you do not respond right away. She advises people just starting a job to set expectations right away about how responsive you will be (e.g. don’t answer every email at all hours if you don’t want to constantly be in that cycle).
She knows of what she speaks. She wrote an impactful essay in Elle Magazine on her own experience with burnout. A must read.
She has since taking great efforts to disengage herself from technology and make self care part of the everyday…because “by the time you’re burnt out, 2 weeks off won’t fix it.”
Some of her insights…
“I am very careful about how she lets other peoples’ lives infiltrate my life – through Instagram, emails, the news cycle.” —@GlynnMacN
“To reduce burnout learn to “say NO like a 2 year old says no to vegetables ” —@GlynnMacN
“Prior to the internet you had to put effort into engaging. Now you have to put effort into disengaging.” —@GlynnMacN
“We need to flip our conception of time off as reward for good behavior. Time off is a requirement for good work.” —@GlynnMacN
And last but not least, I love what Dina Kaplan is doing. Similar to Glynnis she experienced major burnout when she was co-founding Blip and getting highly involved in building the NYC startup community. She wasn’t taking care of herself and ended up with anxiety attacks. Eventually she realized she had to stop and she went to Bali for over a year on what was originally a 2-month trip. She trained and fell in love with meditation. It was the key to a new happiness for her and it shows. She has since started The Path to make meditation more approachable to the NYC community.
For 20 dollars, clients attend an 8 a.m. session on Mondays at a 12th Street studio space. As per the NY Times, “the class tends to be jammed; more than 90 people regularly show up.”
I can relate to this. Recently a good friend urged me to learn transcendental meditation but I was discouraged to learn it takes upward of $1,000.00 to train. I leaned from Dina that there are actually four types of mediation so you can find different ways to access it.
Some other insights from Dina:
“Ask yourself, “What’s the most important thing you can do right now?” It’s probably not answering that random email.” —@dinakaplan
“No screens after 11pm.” —@dinakaplan
“Meditation is an act of self love that makes you so much more productive” —@dinakaplan