Thursday, October 27, 2016

OSP Pilots Mindfulness Sessions

Your Outlook calendar is booked (or double-booked) solid, deadlines are looming, and new projects keep rolling in.  You spend your workday bouncing from task to task, putting out fires and struggling to keep up.  How do you maintain your energy, productivity and focus?

Many experts say that the answer to navigating our stressful workdays more healthfully lies in mindfulness, or being fully present in the moment in which we find ourselves.   

Since summer 2016, employees in the Office of Sponsored Programs have been taking part in a six-month pilot program on mindfulness.  Every Thursday, team members can choose to participate in activities meant to provide calm and focus.  These guided activities rotate by week, and include yoga, meditation, mindfulness through art, and tea ceremonies. 

Kristy Hall, Director of Contracts in OSP and a longtime believer in the mind-body connection, says that she saw an opportunity for the practice of mindfulness to make a difference in the high-intensity, deadline driven environment of sponsored programs.   

“Mindfulness is accessible to everyone,” says Hall, “and it has great relevance in the workplace.”

With the full support of Elizabeth Adams, Assistant Vice President for Research Administration, and the help of Patrick Wood, Office Manager of OSP, the program has been a success with OSP staff.

 “We have learned stress management and emotional intelligence techniques that can be used in the workplace to better manage the effect stress has on the body, mind, and work product,” says Tonia Cable, Grants Administrator.

Taylor Hoelscher, an accountant in OSP, agrees that the mindfulness sessions have helped productivity, reducing fatigue of the body and mind:  “Mindfulness teaches that it is okay to take a minute for yourself.”

As a part of the pilot program, Wood tracks employee response after each session, and so far, the results have been very positive.  Participants enjoy the renewal of focus and energy that comes from mindfulness, as well as the opportunity to explore better ways to cope with stress.

“The mindfulness programs show a leadership investment in the OSP staff and their commitment to our well-being, which allows us to better serve the University and the research mission,” says Cable.

For more information on mindfulness in the workplace, check out (or ask a member of OSP to share what they’ve learned!).

How do you refresh and re-focus at work?  Taking a walk, going out for a breath of fresh air, reading an inspirational blog? Comment below -- You might just inspire someone else to improve their focus!

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