We all want to relieve stress throughout our work days. We all have some tools to do so, such as taking 10 minutes to meditate, grabbing a coffee with a colleague, actually taking a lunch break that is longer than 5 minutes and away from your computer, going on a brisk walk, etc. However, these tools aren’t always accessible, especially when we’re jumping from meeting to meeting or feel like the to-do list is piling up. Not to mention the roller coaster of emotions we can feel and experience throughout a single work day. I’ll never claim to be a mental health professional (spoiler alert, I’m not one!). However, I do have a background in yoga and meditation that has allowed me to explore, practice and implement various tools that I’ve found successful in alleviating stress throughout my work day. I’d like to introduce you to the micro check-in!
What is a Micro Check-In?
A micro check-in is a 90 second break that can be used throughout the day or between meetings to check-in with yourself. It allows you to get grounded in your body, get re-centered, more present, and hold space to process emotions.
Why 90 seconds?
“According to Harvard brain scientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, ninety seconds is all it takes to identify an emotion and allow it to dissipate while you simply notice it. When you’re stressed, pausing ninety seconds and labeling what you’re feeling (eg., I’m getting angry), tamps down activity in the amygdala. (credit: alysonmstone.com) “According to Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, “When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90-second chemical process that happens; any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.” (credit: psychologytoday.com)
What’s the point of it?
The point of a micro check-in is to reconnect with your body, the present moment, and allow yourself to consciously and physically shift your energy by feeling and processing your emotions. Let’s face it, we don’t have 15 minute blocks to meditate every hour throughout our work day and some days we can’t do all of the self care practices we know help us. A micro check-in allows you to hold space to feel and process what is arising for you in that moment.
When should I integrate this? See 5 examples below:
- Just got off a heated call with a customer and headed to another meeting with your boss? Micro check-in.
- Just had an amazing chat with a colleague and have to deal with an internal meeting you know may be stressful? Micro check-in.
- Just got off a call with your fellow engineers solving a serious problem and need to bounce to another meeting with your product team addressing a completely different issue? Micro check-in.
- Having thoughts spiral out of control that that aren’t work related and needing to recenter? Micro check-in.
- Not knowing what task to accomplish next and feeling like you’re spinning in a million directions? Micro check-in.
Next time you’re feeling stressed throughout your work day, try out the 90 second micro check-in. Practice by integrating 5 time slots where you can do this throughout your day. I challenge you to pay attention and see what happens when you practice this mindfulness technique!