Ayurveda in the Workplace
“How was your day?” — words that we often hear from friends or loved ones at the end of the work day. Our jobs can bring experience, fulfillment, fortune, gratitude, and sometimes stress, anger, or worry into our lives. So, how do we create a “day-to-day” for ourselves where we can truly thrive — not just at home and on the weekends, but each and every workday?
Check out these simple ayurvedic tips, suitable for even the busiest of us, to help keep balance throughout our workday:
1. Start Your Day Right
Your “Today was a good day!” starts the night before…
Allow yourself to gently unwind by eating a warm, well-cooked dinner at least three hours before bed; consider easier-to-digest meals at this time. Dim the lights in your home about an hour before you plan to lie down (this allows your body to align its sleep rhythms with the sunset); add some Slumber Time Aroma Oil to your diffuser. Turn off your TV, and put away your computer and cell phone. These intentional practices create a soothing environment which can aid falling asleep. Read more about The Evening Routine to Unwind and Recharge.
After feeling rested from your great night of sleep, it’s time to start the day, the right way! Ayurveda offers so many tips for us to wake up on the right side of the bed every day: abhyanga, yoga, Transcendental Meditation®, and a digestion-stimulating ayurvedic breakfast, just to name a few. When we take the time to start our mornings in a healthy, balanced way, we are investing in the tone of the entire day ahead. Read all the details about The Morning Routine to Kick-start Your Day!
2. Aromatherapy in the Office
Therapeutic aromas can have a calming, stress-relieving effect for us (and for those around us — bonus!). Invest in a diffuser for your office and stock up on your favorite essential oil blends. The Aroma Oils we love are: Worry Free or Calming Vata for stress relief, Blissful Heart for the Type A personalities, and Sniffle Free to keep our breathing clear, even when the latest bug goes around the office. Use the aroma that smells the best to you at the time. Let your body be your guide. Don’t be surprised when your co-workers come and ask why your office smells so good! If you are in an open office environment, you might leave the aroma oils at home — as what smells great to us and is soothing, may have a very different effect for our nearby co-workers.
3. Fuel Up with Lunch
Our digestive fire is the strongest from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. (Pitta time). At this time, the sun is its strongest, and it is a great time for lunch. Ayurveda recommends that this is the time when we eat our largest meal of the day. Refuel and nourish yourself at the height of your day with prana-filled foods. Fresh, pure (not processed), cooked foods full of prana, or life force, are easier for our body to digest and assimilate. When possible, avoid eating lunch on the go, especially “fast” food. This may require planning ahead and packing a lunch the night before, or in the morning before work. Try our 10 Minute Ayurvedic Lunch: Thermos Kitchari for an easy, fresh, take-your-lunch-to-work option!
Often, our lunch hours are filled with more than just eating, and we meet, stand, watch, work or drive our way through our meals. To digest and absorb nutrients from the food we eat, our bodies do better with a settled environment where we can taste each bite, honor the chef and the food, and bring our awareness to the taste and source of our meal.
4. Stimulate Digestion
If you experience an after-lunch slump or have weak digestion, try steeping an organic ginger tea bag to help fire up your digestion and pick you up out of your after-lunch crash. Eating the main meal at lunch and a lighter dinner can also help alleviate the post-lunch drowsiness.
Ditch the ice-cold and refrigerated drinks, and favor warm water throughout the day. Warm water supports our digestive fire, instead of extinguishing it as cold drinks do. If you don’t bring a thermos of hot water to work, reach for the water bottles that are room-temperature, or mix hot and cold water from the office water dispenser in your favorite water bottle.
5. Have a Drink (… no, not that kind!)
Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee to get you through your day, try gradually substituting herbal coffee: Raja's Cup. You can brew up a pot of Raja’s Cup in your home or office coffeemaker, just like you would coffee — you may not even taste the difference!
6. Stress-Relieving Herbals
Worry Free is one of our top-selling herbals, for good reason! It brings natural relief for everyday tension and works to soothe away feelings of anxiety or worry. Keep a stash of Worry Free in your desk for the day when you’re slammed with a deadline and feeling worried or anxious.
Stress Free Emotions — We call this our “anger management” herb! Headed into an intense meeting or feeling emotionally charged after an interaction with a co-worker? Stress Free Emotions can provide the emotional balance that you need to get through just about anything!
While all parts of our daily routine are important, Transcendental Meditation (TM) is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress. Just 20 minutes twice a day has the potential to create a sense of calm and reduce stress and feelings of anxiety. You may find that after a regular daily TM practice, your knee-jerk reactions are not as frequent, or you can deal with stressful work situations without losing your stuff.
To learn more about Transcendental Meditation, visit TM.org. (At vpk® by Maharishi Ayurveda we talk about TM, because our founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, brought Transcendental Meditation to the world. TM is the tradition we are familiar with, and is the one many of us choose to practice.)
More and more, we hear of businesses implementing TM group programs. This provides time to collectively support consciousness and connection with one another, as a staff. In our modern information age, many businesses see the benefit of offering meditation or yoga programs to their employees. If your office doesn’t currently have these benefits, try reaching out to the decision makers, and letting them know that these practices are not only synergistic for the team, but also go a long way towards stress relief for everyone.
8. Be Intentional
Allow intention to be a part of each step of your day, whether this means eating good foods; being clear in what you hope to accomplish with a project or in what you are asking of your boss or those close to you; or how you speak to your co-workers. Intentions allow us to point ourselves in the direction of our true nature, keep us grounded and give a sense of self to all we do. Breathe deeply, listen compassionately and stay open to new ideas.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.