Leader’s days can all too often be stressful and draining. Long working days, with poor posture (unless you benefit from a standing desk) can leave leader’s bodies suffering. This is especially true when your workload limits means you struggle to find time to exercise.
We are human beings, yes even leaders. We are not disembodied intellects, just there to make the optimal decisions or boldly innovate. Every leader I have known is impacted by their emotions and physical health, although most focus disproportionately on developing their thinking. How could apps help leaders not neglect their bodies & emotions?
So, to continue our focus on apps for leaders, I am pleased to welcome back guest blogger Hanne Sorteberg. In this post, she shared how yoga & mindfulness help her and the apps she uses for both. I hope they help you become a calmer & more effective leader.
Yoga apps: Yoga Studio
Take a moment to sit up straight, lower your shoulders, and take a deep breath. Feel better? I usually get so involved in my work, that I hunch over the keyboard, stare for hours into the screen and almost forget to breathe.
I find that enough sleep, exercise and healthy food establishes a platform for better performance. In addition, have found a couple of hacks that balances out some of the daily work stress – mindfulness and Yoga.
I think it is important to have a skilled instructor to get started with yoga, to make sure poses are done in the right way. This will prevent injuries/overload and make the practice more effective. Following the instructions and videos on an app, motivates longer sessions and reminds me how to do the poses right. I use Yoga Studio:
Yoga Studio: Mind & Body includes a library of 100+ premium ready-made video classes easily organized and sorted into collections such Yoga for Back Pain, Yoga for Runners, Yoga for Mental Health, Hip Hop Yoga and many more!
I find that the app is reasonably priced, and has varied content that is easy to follow. Some classes are suited for a morning/wake-up routine, some for relaxation, strength and flexibility. Different levels and durations makes it easy to find a suitable class that fits into a busy schedule.
I have a yoga mat easily available. Sometimes I just lie down and breathe for a couple of minutes, other times I do a 45 minute class, and I don’t beat myself up if I miss out a day or two.
Yoga apps: Find What Feels Good
Inspired by Hanne’s example, I thought I’d also share the yoga app that works for me.
I first discovered “Yoga with Adriene” via her free videos on her YouTube channel. As a late convert to the benefits of yoga, it’s Adriene’s kind pragmatism that wins me over. During a wide variety of guided sessions, she offers realistic alternatives if you struggle with some of the poses.
Her approach is focussed on not being obsessed with the poses, rather learning to become more aware of your body and what it needs. Very helpful and delivered with a good dose of humour.
I’d recommend giving her app a try as it offers additional guidance, community support and a wider range of tailored videos. It’s a great way to have a wide range of yoga sessions on your phone for wherever you are. Very flexible, excuse the pun!
Access to all of the Find What Feels Good online yoga classes, the Yoga With Adriene video library and exclusive videos only for subscribers.
Mindfulness apps: MBSR apps
Mindfulness is a way to be more aware of yourself and your surroundings. For me, it is an antidote to prevent that I get so caught up in something that I lose good judgement and direction. Letting the mind go blank for a while is for me a great way to regain focus.
Many apps for mindfulness and meditation are available, but I keep going back to the guided meditation session with Jon Kabat-Zinn:
The meditations on the Series 1 app cover the guided meditations used in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). The new version of the app also contains hundreds of quotes from Jon Kabat-Zinn that can be used as mindfulness reminders.
They were developed as a part of his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. I find his voice to be very relaxing and comfortable, and always feel refreshed after a session.
The most important thing is to remember to take a break once in a while. During my workday, I find a quiet corner and use the countdown timer on the phone to take short, peaceful brakes, my breath calms down and my shoulders lower.
Mindfulness apps: Calm
Thanks again, Hanne. Once more, inspired by Hanne’s self disclosure, let me share the mindfulness app that works for me.
I’ve posted before on a couple of books that informed my own journey into mindfulness practice. Over the last 2-3 years, it has been a very welcome improvement to my morning routine. Learning to still the mind, become more present (by focussing on the breath) and practice non-judgemental awareness (every time I’m distracted) are such great life skills.
I originally discovered my recommended mindfulness app, Calm, via a blog review of mindfulness apps. Initially, it appeared the simplest to try for free and intuitive to use. Beautiful imagery and simple design meant I always found it easy to navigate & was not surprised when it won Apple’s 2017 app of the year (for sleep & meditation apps).
Since then the app has developed and extended it’s offering to include sleep stories, meditative music and masterclasses. Well worth the annual subscription fee in my view. Just 10 minutes every morning really has helped me stay calmer and start my day with the a clear head.
What not try it for yourself, the free version will give you access to a couple of short courses for complete beginners:
Live mindfully. Sleep better. Breathe deeper.
Yoga & Mindfulness apps: Do any work for you?
I hope you found this post a useful. If you have any apps that hep you either stay fit as a leader or stay calm – please share them.
Yoga and mindfulness are growing in popularity and social acceptance, both amongst leaders and in workplaces. However, many leaders still do not know where to start. Hopefully the apps that Hanne and I have shared may give you some options.
Do you agree that yoga or mindfulness help you as a Customer Insight Leader? If not, what would you recommend?