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3 min read

Practical Application: Mindfulness to Support Balanced Living

Burnout is bad.

Equanimity, mental calmness especially during a difficult situation, is good.

But how do we avoid one and cultivate the other?

A recent study (2023) suggests that employees are struggling with stress, burnout, and loneliness like never before. While flexible work hours and work-from-home options can be positive, it requires hyper self-awareness and discipline for your well-being to keep things in check. Most solutions for creating an ideal work-life balance center around scheduling, like allowing 8 hours a day for work and taking regular 10-minute breaks. Establishing boundaries like this may help if they’re available, but, as our way of working evolves, it’s not always possible to draw this definitive line in the sand

Instead, what if we reframed the ideal work-life balance to be less about the number of hours split between personal and professional duties and more about how fulfilled we feel at the end of each day? Being fully present enhances conversation, relationships, and decision-making.

You can be successful at work while maintaining a calm, zen-like approach to your daily decisions and routines. Meditation and mental exercises like visualization can help you avoid burnout and manage stress. These practices work well for individuals and when integrated into business, everyone benefits!



Here are a few practices that can cultivate present-moment living at work and at home:

Arrival Practice

Before you dive into your next meeting or conversation, take a minute to arrive in your physical space – whether it is a remote location or face-to-face. It takes about 30 seconds.

Take three deep breaths.

  1. Breath One: Focus on the breath
  2. Breath Two: Relax your body.
  3. Breath Three: Ask yourself ‘What is important now’?

A simple mindful breathing practice is accessible all the time and can have a deep impact on your state of mind. It’s one of the most inconspicuous ways to practice mindfulness at work or anywhere. Whenever you start to feel stressed during the workday, take a minute to focus on your inhalation and exhalation, feeling yourself start to relax.

Click here for an example of company arrival practice


Create a Fake Commute

On the days you work from home, weave in some transition time – about as long as it takes you to drive to work before you start working. This could be a walk, reading for pleasure in a room other than your home office, or performing stretching exercises.


Take Regular Breaks

Most people don’t think they can afford the time to take a break, let alone regular breaks. A well-known productivity study found among a group of employees, the 10% who were the most productive had an ideal work rhythm of 52 minutes of work time followed by a 17-minute break. Researchers say that’s because the brain naturally works in high activity for about an hour and then switches to low activity for a short period of time . This is the perfect amount of time for a mindful break.

If you want to start incorporating regular breaks into your day, set a timer on your phone to ring every hour. It could be as short as one minute at your desk or if you can spare the time, do a simple mindfulness practice such as a breathing exercise, a 20-minute meditation, or get outside and take a walk. No matter how you spend them, regular breaks can be particularly effective and rejuvenating after lunch as your mind starts to tire.


Consistency is Key

Just like taking vitamins and eating healthy meals, one dose points us in the right direction. Consistency over time will improve our overall health. Mindfulness for equanimity is a practice, not a destination. We get better at it when we lose focus and come back to our breath. The gaps between presence and distraction will be shorter and less frequent and our sense of well-being at work and home will improve.


You Are Not Alone

Becoming overwhelmed with the demands of life can make us feel inadequate and isolated. As the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation, we want you to know you are not alone. These experiences are part of the human experience. There are resources and personal positive practices like mindfulness available to help. Stress and being overwhelmed are invitations to come back again and again to the present moment.


We invite you to join us this September for our SpeakUp5k! Better known as “Richmond’s biggest celebration for teen mental health,” this is an event where we invite everyone to walk, run, or stroll as we spread awareness for the importance of mental health, especially for teens.

Click here to learn more and register.

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