7 Essential Tips for Shifting to Remote Work

As the Covid-19 pandemic wears on and employees everywhere continue to work from home, more and more businesses are reconsidering their traditional office arrangements. After all, many businesses have “proven we can operate with effectively no footprint,” as James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley, which has moved about 90 percent of its employees to a remote-work model, put it. Gorman added: “Can I see a future where part of every week, certainly part of every month, a lot of our employees will be at home? Absolutely.”

But making the switch to an effective, productive virtual workforce doesn’t just happen overnight. It requires careful planning and forethought to ensure success. Here are some of our tried-and-true strategies for companies look to shift some (or all) of their workforces to remote work — as well as tips for employees who are new to, or simply need added motivation for, the remote-work experience.

1. Provide the right tools. Thanks to technology, working remotely has never been easier. But where do you start? Evaluate all the tools and apps on the market and determine which are the most effective for your employees, keeping in mind it might vary from department to department. And after you choose the best tools for your teams, don’t forget the training! The shiniest new technology is still useless if your people don’t know how to use it. Provide ample, frequent and detailed training — and make it accessible around the clock, so your employees can log in whenever they have the time, which is particularly important now.

2. Consider project-tracking software. On a related note, if you haven’t before, consider implementing cloud-based project-tracking software to help monitor the progress of remote work. These systems help keep projects visible and allow all the relevant stakeholders to view and track progress anytime, anywhere. These can be used to centrally store files or can be used in conjunction with cloud-based file storage systems so that all the relevant project documents are also universally accessible to remote workers.

3. When in doubt, overcommunicate! It’s imperative that employees still feel like they’re part of a team, and that managers and executives understand what everyone’s doing and where projects stand. Without regular face-to-face meetings, companies need to invest extra time in establishing good communication systems. Check in regularly with everyone, by phone, text, email, Zoom or Skype, and messaging services like WhatsApp or Slack. Ask questions and follow up on previously discussed tasks. Keep in mind that it’s important not to come across as micromanaging in these communications, but rather as a helpful support system.

4. Instill an open-door mentality. Managers should assure employees that they are always available and willing to assist or listen. They can help create that atmosphere by asking for feedback during meetings, following up individually with employees to check in, or sharing something that they themselves are working on to demonstrate that they’re all in this together.

5. Keep regular routines. This goes for both companies and individuals: Set daily, weekly, monthly and/or quarterly meetings and deliverables. This will help to establish a work cadence and keep productivity high. Maintaining normal standards and expectations regarding work output will also help. Individuals may also want to establish their own daily routines to stay motivated. For example, if before the pandemic a particular employee was waking up at 7:30 a.m., showering, and eating breakfast before heading off to work, they may want to do the same thing now even if they’re not going in to a physical office.

6. Be patient. This goes for both companies and individuals. Making the transition to virtual work can be entirely new for some, and old-hat for others. Consider this new normal a work in progress. Be patient with yourselves and others. Everyone is adapting in their own ways.

7. Ask questions! This one is for remote workers especially: Now is not the time to be fuzzy on the details or assume you can follow up later. If anything is unclear, ask about it! And don’t be afraid to request to speak by phone or Zoom — not only is a chat sometimes the best way to clarify information, but the personal connection, even if only virtual, can really help stave off isolation. And remember: Your questions may even uncover important issues that need resolving — a major business win.

What Will Work Look Like?

Since late March, over 60 percent of employed Americans have worked from home, according to Gallup. As the world’s economies, business sectors, and supply chains have been stretched and inverted by global pandemic, employers have had to adapt rapidly to ensure that their employees are able to carry out their work safely and effectively.

“According to McKinsey research, 80 percent of people questioned report that they enjoy working from home. Forty-one percent say that they are more productive than they had been before and 28 percent that they are as productive.”

While no one would wish for the pain, illness, loss, and trauma that Covid-19 has wreaked on the world, we can’t deny that it has forced us to starkly reevaluate and pivot professionally, and in doing so, has revealed the likelihood of a vastly different future than we might have pictured before March 2020—a future that in some ways will make employment more equitable, more efficient and environmentally responsible, and will delocalize opportunity from major regional economic hubs. Here are a few major takeaways shared by McKinsey & Company that will likely carry into our professional/corporate culture indefinitely:

  1. Relocating

Collaboration looks different when we aren’t all in the same physical space. Thankfully, with ample digital tools at our fingertips, shared screens, video conferencing, digital whiteboards, we can still brainstorm, exchange ideas, and develop our businesses. Perhaps the central corporate office will not be the default but rather the exception for the time being, and new platforms, tools, and technologies will be developed to answer the call for even better avenues of virtual collaboration.

  1. Reconfiguring

Work responsibilities and roles are already being designated by how remotely they can be accomplished. As we figure out what can be done irrespective of location, we can reconsider who we hire for positions, and how we collaborate mostly virtually. This has been a direction hiring’s been moving toward, but Covid’s impact seems to be expediting it. Even when we have a vaccine, we may long-term have to observe more cautious practices of in-person meeting. If we reconfigure our companies and teams to work beyond location, our flexibility makes us more resilient to future possibilities that we’ll need to distance as we have in this time.

  1. Resizing & Redesigning

As we reexamine how much office space we will truly need in the coming months and years, leases may shift to flexible shares, or in some instances, be eliminated entirely. When we phase into sharing physical space again, distancing, mask wearing, and adequate ventilation will require that we redesign our offices to be safe for in-person collaboration. Surely, a risk analysis will be repeatedly necessary to consider whether in-person work’s benefits outweighs its risks.

The past few months have seen unprecedently extensive and rapid shift in the landscape of work life. As we move forward, it’s only wise that as employers and employees, we anticipate that it will be a long time—if ever—that our work week looks how it once did. Perhaps, in some sense, that is better news than we think.

Survey Says: Wahves Rate Benefits and Challenges of Working from Home

With the world’s largest work-from-home experiment well underway, much has been discussed about what the future of remote work will eventually look like. In 2019, 80% of workers wanted to work from home at least some of the time [State of Remote Work 2019, Owl Labs]. Now, according to a recent Gartner press release, 74% of CFOs intend to shift some employees to remote work permanently. Twitter and Square have already informed their employees that they can work from home permanently, and companies like Shopify an Upwork announced that they will become “digital by default”. As the shift to remote work continues, we thought it would be a good time to ask our wahves about the benefits and challenges of working from home.

About the survey

In May 2020, we conducted an online survey with 250 wahves. Of the respondents, 46% work from home 20-30 hours per week, and 36.4% work 30-40 hours per week. We asked each respondent to answer the survey questions as they applied to working from home prior to the pandemic. For more details, you can read the survey results  here.

No commute

Wahves agree that the most important benefit of working from home is no commute. Prior to working from home, 27.6% of wahves spent 41-60 minutes per day commuting to work, and 21.6% spent 61-90 minutes.  Rather than sitting in traffic, they’re now spending these hours of reclaimed time doing many other things they enjoy.

Flexible work schedule, less stress

Wahves rated the following benefits as the next most important:  having a flexible work schedule, no office stress, more time for themselves, and time to spend with family. When it comes to stress, 88.4% of wahves rated their stress level as being lower than when they worked in a traditional office.

Free time

A deeper look into how respondents choose to spend their free time revealed that all respondents are very likely to spend it with family and friends, followed by pursuing interests/hobbies. The next most likely activities are reading and exercising (which tied), followed by traveling. Surprisingly, wahves indicated that they are only “somewhat likely” to volunteer in their free time.

Cost savings

Another clear benefit of working from home is cost savings. Just over 36% of wahves save $5-10 per day on lunch. Wahves also save on clothes (32% save $301-$500 per year) and transportation costs.  The majority (67.6%) are saving anywhere from $51-$250 per month on transportation costs.

Unplugging is still a challenge

While there are many things wahves love about working from home, the survey also revealed what they find most challenging: the inability to separate work time and personal time (54.5%), followed by working across time zones (12.1%).  In fact, when asked to rate how often they encountered common work-from-home struggles, wahves rated “not being able to unplug” as the most common difficulty.

Work from home is the “wahve” of the future

Despite work from home challenges, wahves overwhelmingly agree that work-from-home is the way to go. When asked if they missed being part of a traditional office, 77.6% said no. If given the option to work in a traditional office again, 88.4% said they wouldn’t. And when asked if they’d recommend remote work to others, 95.1% said yes.

What do you most enjoy – or find challenging – about working from home? Share your thoughts with us below.

Empowering People to Work to Their Strengths

“Team productivity might as well be called the “people puzzle” – It’s less about standardizing human behavior to measure output and efficiency, and more about empowering individuals and your team.”

Some of the clients who come to WAHVE have a defined position they are trying to fill – account manager in a retail agency for example, or a claims coordinator at a carrier. They want to find a candidate who can work within a set of defined parameters. This is what the team needs, therefore this is who they need to hire. There’s nothing wrong with this approach.

However, the insights presented by Claire Karjalainen in The Do’s and Don’ts of Measuring Employee Productivity in the Knowledge Economy are fascinating and worth considering. Instead of measuring everyone by the same yardstick, determine if the yardstick you’re using is the right one to begin with and if each employee should be measured the same way. Sometimes, adjusting the job (i.e. hours, tasks, amount of team interaction, reporting structure, required output, etc.) means you’ll fit the job to the person and not the other way around. What’s more, striking a balance between the candidate and the position might naturally boost overall productivity. This is where some clients who come to WAHVE share an idealized job description with us but acknowledge there’s a fair amount of wiggle room in the exact candidate requirements. For example, if the candidate doesn’t want to be on the phones, the client will engineer the job to omit phone contact.  If the candidate likes to work on any kind of account service work in a retail agency except issuing certificates of insurance, the client will funnel everything but certificate requests to the wahve. What the client ends up with is a candidate who will excel in their position because it is tailored to their best skill set and who is motivated by the work to be done and not demotivated by work they must do, but don’t do well or enjoy.

I encourage you to take the time to digest Ms. Karjalainen’s article. While the piece has been around a while, in the ever-evolving world of work, it is a good reminder about what impacts human productivity and how the work doesn’t suffer when we allow people time and space to perform to their strengths. And, if you’re looking for resources in addition to our WAHVE resources here on working remotely, the Doist.com website is loaded with great information. – Elizabeth Kordek, CPCU Senior Placement Specialist

Create Community Everywhere

Millions of people have suddenly become “wahes” – work at home employees. Thrust into this new reality, workers are doing their best to adapt on the fly, converting kitchen tables into office workspaces and taking conference calls amidst the chaos of kids and barking dogs. For some, working from home during the coronavirus crisis is a positive way to preserve continuity, stay busy and maintain some semblance of routine. Others find working from home lonely, isolating, or full of distraction, especially with spouses sharing the new “home office.” Now, more than ever, it’s important for all of us who work from home to create connection and community. 

In a recent article, Coronavirus Will Change the World Permanently. Here’s How,” 34 big thinkers predicted what’s ahead for the world, and you might be surprised at some of their positive prognostications. Not surprisingly, one prediction centers on the creation of a healthier digital lifestyle. Over the past weeks, you’ve likely seen several inspirational examples of people using tech to do good for others. Singers John Legend, Neil Young, Bono, Chris Martin, Keith Urban, and more have performed virtual concerts from their homes for fans. Cello master Yo-Yo Ma shares daily live concerts. Others have used technology to offer virtual art classes, church services, yoga lessons, book clubs, and exercise sessions. People are using social media to galvanize support for struggling local businesses. Neighborhoods have created coronavirus support groups to help identify community needs and collect names of those able to meet needs. People are holding virtual happy hours with co-workers, texting humorous memes, and offering to pick up groceries for those who can’t – and the examples go on and on.  

“This is breaking open a medium with human generosity and empathy. This is looking within and asking: ‘What can I authentically offer?’”—Sherry Turkle, professor of the social studies of science and technology at MIT

This trend toward using our tech to create community is long overdue. Instead of spending time solely feeding ourselves by scrolling through news feeds, posting our latest selfie to our favorite social channel, binging the latest game, or complaining about someone via text, we’re starting to see widespread glimpses of what it would be like if we used our time with our technology to create and offer community. The virus is forcing us to use the internet in creative, humane and caring ways to help us unite around solutions to personal and local problems.

This virus is devastating, and there’s no sense in minimizing the loss, hardship and financial strain to come. But it’s in human nature to hope that when we look back, we’ll be able to see some silver linings. It’s possible that these positive tech behaviors will be temporary – but isn’t it up to each of us to determine whether or not that will be the case?

Let’s all reinvigorate our efforts to reach out and creatively build community with our co-workers, family and communities during this time. And let’s remember the difference it made in a time when we needed it most.

Embracing Optimism

Now more than ever seems both a challenging and imperative time to embrace optimism. Not in spite of reality, but because of it. That’s not to say we should take up living in denial of the unknowns, worries, and stressors of life during global pandemic. Instead, it’s to say that we stand to gain richly from focusing not just on the cracks in the foundations of our lives wreaked by Covid-19, but the light that shines through them. Sometimes, it’s the scariest, most upturning moments in life that are the richest opportunities for reminding us who we are, what we are capable of, and what we value most.

This is where optimism plays its vital role. As a recently published article in the New York Times reports, longitudinal studies demonstrate a strong correlation between optimism in the face of all life’s challenges—from trauma to loss to aging to life’s natural changes—and positive health outcomes, including greater longevity and reduced cardiovascular distress. While pessimists “bathe their bodies in damaging stress hormones like cortisol and norepinephrine all day long,” which increases “inflammation in the body and fosters metabolic abnormalities,” optimists “reframe challenging circumstances and react to them in less stressful ways.” By curtailing their stress responses, optimists decrease their fight-or-flight stress hormones, lower inflammation, and tax their cardiovascular system less. And that’s just the biological benefit of optimism.

But what about our mentality? Our emotions? What does optimism mean and how does it benefit us in those ways? In the words of social researcher Brené Brown, optimism is not so much chasing “extraordinary moments to find happiness,” but rather recognizing what’s “right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” In other words, optimism isn’t denying what’s hard or frail about life, but it’s seeing possibility, hope, beauty, and significance, even in the vulnerable moments.

Gratitude for all that is good even in times of hardship is the gateway to optimism. It’s soaking up sunshine and reminding ourselves that though we’ve gone days without brightness as clouds darkened the sky, light has always come back. It’s holding hands with those share space with, talking on the phone, Skyping, and recalling happy memories while making plans for new ones when the future allows. It’s practicing presence to today, instead of worrying about tomorrow; going for that socially-distanced walk, reading a delightful book, laughing and daydreaming, helping ourselves live into the positive belief that though not everything is in our control, there is so much we can take charge of—our mindset, our openheartedness, our optimism.

Cyber Attacks Are on the Rise – Are You Protected?

As states start to ease social-distancing measures, an increased number of employees (and students) will still continue to work from home. And with this sustained rise in working from home comes increased cyber-threats. After all, cybercriminals are at home too – and they’ve been busy coming up with new scams and exposing security vulnerabilities. Many of you wahves are already work-from-home pros, but it can’t hurt to make sure you’re following these best practices, especially now:

  1. Continue to be suspicious of phishing emails or texts that try to capitalize on fears related to the coronavirus. A few of the most common coronavirus scams include websites that pretend to help you work remotely, products that claim to prevent the disease, and investments that are said to be “guaranteed.” Don’t click on links or open any attachments unless they are from a known, trusted source.
  2. If you’re using Zoom for videoconferencing, you’ve probably heard by now that the service’s meteoric surge in users (10 million daily users in December rose to 200 million daily users recently) exposed several security vulnerabilities. Zoom has fixed many of these, but it goes without saying that you still need to be careful. For starters, keep your installation of Zoom up to date to ensure you have the most recent version with the most recent security fixes. Use passwords to protect your meetings, and never post your Zoom meeting ID online (ie: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). For more Zoom security tips, check out this recent Forbes article.
  3. Stay current on software updates, which help to patch security flaws and can also help protect your data.
  4. Use strong passphrases that you can remember, such as “I-Detest-Pandemics!!” instead of overused and easy-to-guess passwords like “abc123” or “password.” The passphrase should include numbers, special characters and upper and lowercase letters. This may seem like old advice, but according to this survey, 83% of Americans are still using weak passwords and 53% use the same password for multiple accounts.
  5. Make sure your home Wi-Fi is also secured with a strong passphrase. Additionally, access to the settings on your home router should be passphrase-protected. If an attacker connects to you Wi-Fi or gets inside your router, they can intercept anything you send or do online. In fact, if you’ve never changed the login or password required to enter your router settings, do it now. The default passwords that come with routers out of the box are usually weak and publicized across the Internet.

Last but not least, be continuously vigilant. Scammers often try to prey on people when they are at their most vulnerable, so now is a good time to stay aware and be smart.

Remote Workers: Time to Lead

By now, we’re accustomed to hearing that these are unprecedented — not to mention unnerving — times. The rapid and extensive spread of COVID-19 has upended businesses, economies, and lives. With mounting numbers of cities adopting shelter-in-place or similar mandates, more and more employees are working from home and at risk for being disconnected from their colleagues, friends and families.

It’s made me think about how full- or part-time remote workers, as they are accustomed to working from home and the challenges that can come with it, are in a prime position to share their tips for remaining healthy and connected with newly homebound neighbors and friends. A few thoughts that popped to mind were:

  1. Keep your routine. If you’re used to getting up at 7:30 a.m. to take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and commute to work, continue with that schedule. You may not have an office to go into or colleagues to see, but keeping your routine can help maintain your productivity and boost your mood.
  2. Maintain boundaries. Just because you can be connected to work 24/7 thanks to email and online resources, doesn’t mean you should Just like when you were regularly heading into an office, be sure to make time for both work and your personal life. Take regular breaks. Power down your computer at the end of your standard working hours. And don’t forget to eat real, nutritious meals!
  3. Connect with colleagues and loved ones. It can be isolating to work remotely. Consider scheduling extra check-ins via video chat or Zoom meetings with your colleagues to stay connected and on track — at least weekly, but ideally more frequently. And don’t forget to do the same with your loved ones. Not being able to get together in person can cause depression and anxiety, particularly among seniors; there are many tools that can help! Seeing and interacting with loved ones through videos and on social media can help keep us feeling connected and part of our communities.

Now is the time for experienced remote workers to take the lead and help others during this tumultuous time. What are your tips?

Staying Inside? Stay Active.

While we’re home and barely venturing out—if at all—it can be tempting to become more sedentary than before. No coffee meet-ups, dinner dates, working out with a friend, or getting those laps in at the pool. And while dealing with the initial shock, emotional processing, and grief for our “old” way of life is healthy and necessary, it’s important for it not to weigh us down from activity that energizes us, boosts our mood, and helps us stay fit in a time when our body’s well-being is more important than ever.

Thankfully, “the latest science suggests that being fit boosts our immune systems, and that even a single workout can amplify and improve our ability to fight off germs,” according to journalist Gretchen Reynolds. Writing on exercise’s impact on our immunity, Reynolds highlights that while pursuing fitness in historically germy spaces (like public pools and gyms) is a no-go right now, gentle, steady exercise proves beneficial for our wellness and preparedness to fight illness.

Furthermore, Reynolds interviews researchers who’ve discredited the concern that increased activity or taking up exercise makes us vulnerable to germs and viruses. While researchers concede that if you have not historically exercised regularly, taking up frequent, high-intensity workouts will cause a brief stress response in your body, this only applies to truly high-strain activity. Researchers have even gone so far as to find that in an extensive study, mice who’d conditioned for thirty-minutes of activity three days a week faced the influenza virus better than non-trained animals. The benefit of getting shape was a clear increased strength to fend off sickness.

So what are some safe, non-high-stress, home-friendly forms of exercise that you can do? Here are some options, though it is always wise to check in with a phone call to your doctor if you aren’t sure a certain type of exercise is safe for you.

  1. Yoga. Search Amazon, Netflix, or YouTube being sure to include any particularities for your body or needs.
  2. Walk at home workouts. There are many out there, but Leslie Sansone is a popular and well-known fitness instructor who pioneered walking workouts that kick up your heart rate, help you sweat, and get you moving. She works out in groups of all ages and body types, always has a smile, and is a genuinely positive presence.
  3. Resistance and light-weight training workouts. As with yoga, you’ll easily find workouts that only require household items like chairs, canned goods, and even simply your own body weight to help you warm up, get moving, and keep your heart active and healthy.

Staying fit while self-isolating and social distancing might feel daunting at first, but like any new activity, with some trial and error and finding what works for you, you can discover health and immune-boosting ways to stay active, energized, and positive, all while staying safe at home.

Peace In Difficult Times

Daily life presents regular stressors, but as we navigate as a nation and global community the impact of an acute strain on our medical reality, daily stress may feel like it has significantly increased. How do we cope with augmented worry, anxiety, and stress? How do we take care of ourselves mentally and emotionally in a season of such uncertainty? Below are some gentle, effective tools for cultivating calm in a stressful season.

Part I. Name That Feeling.

What’s the difference between anxiety, worry, and stress? Quite a bit actually, and we can approach each one with a unique tactic for relief. Emma Pattee researched these approaches in her article for The New York Times, finding that there are indeed particular tools for addressing each of these uncomfortable feelings.

  • Worry, Patte says, is “when your mind dwells on negative thoughts, uncertain outcomes or things that could go wrong.” It’s the mental/cognitive aspect of anxiety. While worry has its place in helping us as a species to survive, ongoing worry does not serve our wellbeing. Here are a few tactics for reducing worry:
    • Set a worry budget. Give yourself a set amount of time to worry and process, then it’s time to redirect your thoughts. Pick up a book, listen to music, bake something. Distract yourself.
    • Translate into action. Worried? Repeatedly thinking about something? Decide on an action to take that is concrete and relieving. Even if it’s small, setting up a plan and addressing it with action, being proactive about a goal or necessity you anticipate, can help you feel less worried and more in control.
    • Put pen to paper. Journal, scribble, open up the laptop and let it all out. Process through writing, and like your worry budget for your thoughts, set a word count or time limit, then it’s time to redirect your thinking.
  • Stress, Patte explains, is our physiological response to a stressor (a jarring external event). Stress has a long legacy with human survival instinct and is a deeply ingrained response. But, as with worry, there are concrete tools for working through a stress response that is hurting rather than helping you.
    • Get real. Accept how you’re feeling. It’s okay to be stressed. It’s okay for your stress response to be different from someone else’s. No one has to feel how you do for your feelings to be valid, and their response isn’t invalid because yours is different.
    • Get honest. Be frank with yourself about what you can and cannot control. Surrender can feel terrifying initially but ultimately it often inspires a sense of calm. When we release ourselves from a false sense of control, we can direct our energies to what is within our capacity to change, modify, and control, which can further mitigate that feeling of helplessness that we often associate with stress.
    • Get active. If you need to stay indoors, hop on the treadmill, put on some music and dance to it while you cook, play an instrument, do a yoga routine, lift your weights, ride the stationary bike. If you can get outside, stretch your legs, unplug from technology and the news; simply connect with the sky above you, the earth beneath you, and let nature soothe your senses.
  • Anxiety is when we feel both worry and stress, Pattee explains. It is important to note that situational anxiety is differentiated from anxiety disorder which often requires medication and ongoing medical care. This article addresses situational anxiety.
    • Distract yourself. If you’re having an anxiety episode, redirect your thoughts and sensory experience because often talking oneself out of it is quite difficult. Turn on music, hold or touch something comforting, take a warm shower or bath with aromatherapies, move your body in any way that’s soothing.
    • Check in with your body. Focus on a part of your body that doesn’t feel tight such as your hands or feet or knees (for instance, often you’ll feel a constriction or weight in your chest and throat). Wiggle those loose parts of your body and drive your awareness to them. Swing your arms, bounce your knees, count and flex your toes. It grounds you to your body while helping your focus redirect to a more peaceful sensation, thus reducing your anxiety experience.
    • Minimize stimulants. Drink less coffee. Cut back on the sweets, alcoholic drinks, and soda pop. When you’re anxious, your sensory system is already elevated and on high alert. Caffeine, alcohol, and sugar will only exacerbate that aggravated feeling and can worsen your experience of anxiety.

Part II. Be Mindful.

As another article for The New York Times wellness blog writes, “It might seem crazy to want to be more conscious of illness and discomfort. Yet mindfulness — moment to moment, nonjudgmental awareness — may be exactly what your body most needs when you are run down and under the weather.” If you feel run down, whether with a cold or more severe sickness, take a moment to first acknowledge your feelings about your state of being—offer gentleness and acceptance for feelings of frustration, fear, and discomfort. Next, focus on a comfortable part of your body—if you can breathe easily, focus on slow, measured, deep breaths that can steady your heartrate and promote a sense of calm; if your breathing is more difficult, focus on something else like your hands, your feet, your arms, and feel their touch to the surface you’re resting on, experiencing their weight and comfort. Mindfulness is about lowering our stress response to any situation—offering acceptance and decreased resistance to discomfort or adversity. When we practice mindfulness, we welcome our bodies as they are, offer ourselves compassion for our unease, and in doing so, actually promote greater calm and peace, which can alleviate the more acute discomfort of feeling unwell or anxious.

Serenity is not an environmental guarantee, but as we face external stressors and unknowns, we have proven practices that minimize our discomfort, embrace our experience, and help us discover peace within ourselves, even in difficult times.