Thank you for taking a moment out of your workday to focus on your occupational wellness through the practice of office-friendly yoga and breathing. I believe that making time to destress, return to your intention at work, and remember why you choose to show up for yourself, your family, your employer, and your clients each day lets you live a better-aligned life.
As a personal financial advisor for our nation’s military families, I have the privilege of coaching remarkable people in their pursuit of financial security. Finances are often associated with tension and stress. I’ve found it crucial for my clients to take a moment to let the stress melt away and instead focus on what they truly desire for the future. Keeping these future goals in mind, we can carefully craft a plan to pursue what is important to them.
For military spouses, the list of stressors often extends beyond the scope of work and family obligations to include extended trainings, deployments, and taking on the sole responsibility for day-to-day life at a moment’s notice. We use the term “resilient” often to describe our ability to juggle all that military life throws at us with grit and grace, but it’s also important to care for ourselves to avoid burnout.
I took an intentional approach to carving out space in my life for self-care when my personal and occupational stress was at an all-time high several years ago. I was two years into building my business while geobaching and facing an upcoming deployment—so I enrolled in a 200-hour yoga teacher training program.
Over nine months of study, I learned an array of tools and techniques to help myself find inner calm and peace. These tools also enable my financial clients to discover what goals motivate them, and how they would spend their time if money was not a concern. Discovering their “why,” and incorporating it as a driving factor in their financial plan, has had a substantial impact in the clarity we experience in planning meetings.
Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Determining your trajectory takes time and focus. This is much easier to undertake with less stress weighing you down by taking literal weight off your shoulders using a mid-day yoga break.
EMBRACING YOGA IN THE WORKPLACE
What would your best day at work look or feel like? Would it involve an office dog? My ideal day sure would! Not every office environment is pet-friendly though, so if you’re not lucky enough to work with your pup every day, I invite you to take a moment to bring your Downward Dog to work. A quick, office-friendly sun salutation is sure to melt away stress and restore your sense of calm.
STEP-BY-STEP SUN SALUTATION AND GUIDED MEDITATION
1. First, reach up to greet the sky and bring a soft smile to your face as you allow all worries and deadlines to slip from your mind for the next few minutes.
2. Breathe in deeply and release the tension in your neck that builds up as you slouch forward at a desk or look at screens that are too low.
3. Reach over the top of your head with one hand and place it on your opposite ear, gently drawing your head in the direction of your bent elbow and extending your opposite arm to the side. Reach through your extended arm as you inhale through your nose all the way into your belly. Exhale out through your mouth, releasing tension in your shoulders, neck, and arms. Repeat this movement on the opposite side.
4. Return to center.
5. As you exhale, reach down toward your toes and release the tension in your back and shoulders, which tend to tighten throughout the workday. Tuck your chin and feel the elongation along the back of your neck, gently shaking your head yes, then no. Take a moment to consider what you chose to say yes and no to today.
6. Lift halfway up, reaching through the top of your head, then fold back down toward the floor. Return to a standing position and place your hands on a firm surface (desk, filing cabinet, or even a sturdy chair) in front of you.
7. Transition into High Plank.
8. Then gently bend your elbows and lower down into Chaturanga Dandasana, Low Plank. Perhaps take a moment to smell the coffee brewing.
9. Next, straighten your arms, reach your chest forward, and lift your head up to the ceiling in Upward Facing Dog and gently stretch your chin, releasing the tightness of your jaw. If a smile comes to your face, all the better! You’re about to meet your new office dog. Push your hips back, keeping your spine and neck in alignment to stretch in Downward Facing Office Dog, assisted by your favorite sturdy piece of office furniture. Exhale deeply and take a few breaths as you relax into this pose.
10. When you’re ready, return to standing and thank yourself for taking a moment for your health so you can bring the best version of yourself to the workday.
RELEASE TENSION THROUGHOUT THE DAY
You may gently release the tension in your arms by simply turning the palms facing forward and stretching down through your fingertips, wiggling the fingers, and working out your typing muscles. Then rotate your palms to the back of the room and stretch down through the back of your arms. Return to this last movement throughout the day to relieve the stress that tends to build in a work environment. Namaste.
Own It: The Power of Women at Work by Sallie Krawcheck
Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life Beyond Your Wildest Dreams by Gabrielle Bernstein
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Fearless Leadership: High-Performance Lessons from the Flight Deck by Carey Lohrenz
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Warriors at Ease (A network of yoga teachers and classes with a military/veteran specific focus.)
Guiding Wellness (A network of studios and yoga programs centered on the military lifestyle.)
MyCAA (Run by the Department of Defense, this program offers up to $4,000 to eligible military spouses for career training. I was able to utilize it to obtain my 200-hour YTT certification and a WAE Warriors at Ease certification.)
Katy Stevick joined First Command Financial Services as a Financial Advisor in August 2014, bringing with her three years of industry experience.
A graduate of Baylor University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies and Russian, Katy holds Series 6, 63 and 65 securities licenses plus state life and health insurance licenses.
Katy is committed to helping her clients pursue their financial goals and lifetime dreams by bringing sound financial knowledge and trustworthy advice to a lasting relationship with each individual and family she serves. Her areas of focus include:
· Comprehensive financial planning
· Investment strategies
· Retirement income planning
· Education funding solutions
· Asset allocation and management
· Insurance solutions and risk management
Katy is active in the Fayetteville community and has served as the Chapter Leader for The Milspo Project, which helps military spouse entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, an ambassador for the Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Association of Bragg Spouses. She currently volunteers as an FRG leader for HHC, 407th BSB, 2BCT, 82nd Airborne Division. In her free time, Katy enjoys spending time with her husband Michael and daughter Audrey, traveling, gardening, and practicing yoga.