how to find your zen at work: living life both on + off the mat

most of you know that i am in the midst of figuring out/discovering a new balance to my life. after returning to a (more or less) 8-5 work schedule, i am really exploring the ways to keep that deeply connected + grounded feeling throughout my day. it’s super easy to do that when you are working on your own time + in charge of when and where and how you spend your time. but, when you have places to be, work to do, and a schedule to follow, it easy to begin to separate life into different categories. home. family. work. life. me time. and suddenly, the only time for experiencing that connected + grounded feeling is only found in that one part of the day set aside for it.

the other day i ran across an article on huffington post, inspired by the ideas of thich that hanh, about finding your zen at work. there was a ton of stuff in it that was good… stuff that i already try to incorporate into my life. but, there were also few things that just didn’t speak to me.

in any case, i thought that i’d share with you the things that inspired me, the things that that reflected amazing ways to attempt to do what i call “living life off the mat”.

one of the things that i have noticed is that when i begin to practice mindfulness and meditation, then i get into a certain groove of connecting and feeling harmony + balance. however, the true mindful life, i believe, is one that is lived both on and off the mat – something that i am working on every day.

but, it’s not just about learning how to live everyday life with the same kind of focus and balance that i find on my yoga mat. it’s also about creating a life that brings meaning and purpose to every single moment of the day, creating an atmosphere and aura of peace and harmony around me, that is felt by anyone who is might be near me. at least, that’s the goal. it’s about getting the most out of what i do, at home and at work; and living life fully in the present moment, no matter where i am or what i am doing.

it’s so easy to just go to work, do what we are supposed to do, and then feel like our real life is everything else that happens away from work and other responsibilities.

but, what if we could feel that we are living one life, instead of having different compartments for our “different lives”?

when we begin to focus on the present moment through mindful living, we can leave behind that feeling of separation and, instead, bring a connected sense of purpose, freedom, and meaning to every single moment of our lives.

here are some tips on how we can start to make that happen:

// start the day with 10 minutes of sitting in meditation. it doesn’t need to be long or complicated. just a few minutes to breathe + be + ground yourself. listen to a podcast or music. pray. practice yoga. whatever connects you with your soul.

// take the time to sit down and enjoy eating breakfast at home. i totally need to do better with this. having that dedicated time to consciously nourish my body is super important. 


// begin each day with an attitude of gratitude, giving thanks for simply being live and focusing on the fact that there are 24 new hours right in front of you. a day to be used for anything you wish. you create your life.

// try not to divide your time into “my time” and “work.” all time can be your own time if you stay in the present moment. every moment of life is your life.

// resist the urge to make calls on your cell phone on your way to and from work, or on your way to appointments. let this be time to just be with yourself, with nature and with the world around you. pay attention and just breathe. soak up everything.

work space

// arrange a breathing area where you work where you can go to slow down, calm down, and take a quick break. make time throughout the day to breathe deeply, allowing yourself to come back to your body and to reconnect with the present moment.

// at lunchtime, or when you have a break, change environments. go for a walk. get a some fresh air. feel the sun or wind on your face. look up at the sky. even if it is just for a minute or two. 


// before going to a meeting or appointment, visualize someone very peaceful, mindful or inspiring being with you. let this person help you stay calm and peaceful.

// if you feel anger or irritation or frustration, try not to say or do anything right away. find your deep breathing for a moment. follow your in- and out-breath until you’ve calmed down. refocus. slow down. reconnect.

// spread the love. express gratitude and appreciation to your colleagues regularly. dot hold back on the compliments and/or support. spill positivity everywhere you go, and it will transform the whole work environment.


// reorganize your desk or work area at the end of the day. rest. relax. and restore yourself before going home or ending your work day. let go of everything that has happened while you have been at work and slowly transition to the next part of your day.

// when you get home, take a few moments to breathe. ease into this next part of your day, fully mindful and aware that you are present in this place now.

how do you try to stay mindful + present during the day?  add to the list by sharing with me your tips below!

xoxo. liz.

2 thoughts on “how to find your zen at work: living life both on + off the mat

  1. Okay, I just commented on the last post about how I needed to be reading this stuff but I really needed to read this. With all the distractions and activities and some other life stuff that I have right now I have found it difficult at times to maintain that connection and mindfulness. Like, I find that I’m struggling to maintain the energy needed to remain calm and thus project that aura as you put it. So even though I don’t actually have a job I totally needed to read this post. Again, thank you for putting all this out there. Sending you as much connection and harmony as I can muster! xoxo

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