Corporate Yogi: An Approach to Not Losing Yourself in a Corporate World

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The last thing I want to experience on a Monday morning is a sweep into the grind. Rather, I prefer a transition – a buffer – some sense of ownership over what is happening as I move from writing and planting to business architecture and thinking about rental car technology.

In order to secure said transition, I do a couple of things:

Do Not Set an Alarm

Exception here is if there is an early morning meeting or if I go to bed super late. Otherwise, I let my body get the sleep it needs on a Sunday night. I wash my sheets on Sunday, I do one final round of puttering around; tidying things up. And then I try to be in bed, reading by 8:30p or 9p so that I can fall asleep and get the full amount of sleep cycles I need to wake up naturally.

If I do have to set an alarm, I based it on my sleep cycle (3.5 hours for me). I highly recommend knowing your sleep cycle and waking based on when you complete a cycle. There are a plethora of apps to help you find this. The one I use is appropriately titled “Sleep Cycle”, :)

Enjoy Your Morning 

I have the luxury of working from home, but not necessarily all the time. Regardless though, I make sure I have time in the morning to enjoy it. I resist the rush. Things that make a difference are:

  • Electric tea kettle by the bed, filled with water at night so you can turn it on – snooze – and have a cup of hot water or tea before you even get out of bed. (I have tea in my nightstand and a really pretty tea cup I keep by my bed.)
  • Candles in the bathroom, always
  • Programmable coffee maker and good coffee. Just drink good coffee, people.
  • Some outdoor time. I walk my dog in my softest cotton clothes and a ball cap.
  • Some prayer time or meditation. I have a 6am prayer line I join where I pray with other people. Sometimes I skip and pray on my own or write a little bit.
  • Eat something. Cook yourself sweet potato fries and an egg. Have a greek yogurt smoothie. Wipe down your counters.

Ground Yourself

I have turned my bathroom into a complete sanctuary. It has stones from various places I have traveled. It is a gorgeous yellow. It has a framed picture of a Ojai garden. And. No. Clutter. I put any shower supplies in a basket under my sink. I have the minimal makeup that I have tucked to the side. And I take my time in my own skin feeling whole, fresh. Sometimes just holding time to connect to these other places and to my creative self. I keep Deepak’s book in the room and just read a little each day. I take a couple deep breaths and I don’t leave my bathroom until I feel like I have come fully present.

Dress Personally 

I do not wear clothing that makes me feel muted, lazy, conformed or uncomfortable. Invest in a couple good suits (J. Crew, you really can’t go wrong – you will wear the blazer forever). If I go to our IT Campuses, I wear my favorite jeans, a tee and a blazer. For corporate, I’ll wear one of three shift dresses or a suit and a fun top. I have weeded out everything from my closet that I don’t love. I want to feel creative and vibrant. The people I respect most are the ones who look happy and awake. The way you dress is either intentional or its not, no matter what degree of casual or professional dress.

Come up with something signature that makes you feel like your creative or yogic self. My friends and family have given me jewelry. I love wearing these gifts – especially this particular vishuddha bracelet (throat chakra, connected communication) and these gorgeous mystic topaz earrings. Part of what I believe makes a person not feel disjointed between work life and home life is when you blend using small subtle ways. For me, it’s feeling the support of family. Or writing personal notes the night before and dropping them in the corporate outgoing mail. Just little things to help blend.

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Call People You Love

Twice a week, I drive out to our IT Campus in Weldon Springs. I use this time to go through a call list of people that I like to check in with on a regular basis. OR I listen to one of Joyce Meyer’s YouTube videos. If I need to get pumped up, I have a playlist I love. But, I try to maximize the time in the car. I also try to keep my car neat. It doesn’t work. (CUPS!) But having wipes in the compartment helps just keep things fresh so you don’t start your day off feeling behind because your car is messy. If I do have a heap of cups or mugs, I just clear them from the car at the start of my week for sure.

Pick Your Hat

A couple years back, I wore myself out “switching hats”. So, I took the time to list out the things I do for my job and connect them to the spiritual or intentional parts of my life, my motivations. I thanked God for these abilities and was able to see how they connected with traits I show when hiking, helping others or cooking spaghetti. (Here’s my favorite post on that.)

From there, I started to find myself wearing ONE hat, to all places. I felt I grew in integrity. My decisions started to feel less disconnected and more cohesive. I didn’t feel at the mercy of a schedule or a to do list. The schedule was MINE. The list was MINE.

And if you study spiritual text (like this book below on the Yamas and Niyamas), this stuff flows over to your work life. I still have a lot of growing up to do in my professional life – I am sensitive and get frustrated. But I am certainly evolving and a lot of it comes down to having principles that define who you are.

Regardless of if you have flexibility in your schedule or not, I believe the key to feeling connected is to take the time to understand what it is about you that makes you good at what you do and then support yourself. Whether with the right food and time in the morning or the right rest and discipline at night, the trick is creating space in your life so you can be fully present and vibrant.

Yes, it does suck sometimes to spend the ten minutes putting the dishes away so you can have a clear sink and counter in the morning. Yes, it is so much easier to just say you’ll eat out tomorrow rather than put the salad together that you got the stuff for. But the discipline of these things will eventually set in. And, what I experienced, is you kind of “grow into yourself”. And people start to know you for who you are and what you do. The expectations that people have of you are organic to who you have revealed yourself to be, not you constantly trying to strive towards the changeable expectations of your environment.

My favorite thing about my work is that people know my personality and I can be a little bit of a hippie or edgy, a little weird and creative. The bottom line is my performance is consistent because I am consistently myself by allowing the time, the space and the breath to be fully present.

What are some of the ways you balance your life? Comment below! I would love to hear your tricks!

Till next time.

Man. I need a better sign off!

– erin

Thoughts?

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