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Well-being Practices

Incorporating well-being practices throughout the workday and at meetings can help to support wellness, productivity, connectedness to self and others and boost morale. Lead a practice at meetings you facilitate or attend regularly or engage in a well-being practice on your own.  Some practices can be done in the moment, while others require a small amount of preparation.

The following well-being areas are defined as:

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Group Walk

  • Organize a short team walk or coffee break to encourage conversation and camaraderie among team members who may not interact regularly with each other.
  • Extend an invitation to leadership too.
  • Consider hosting the walk quarterly or monthly during warm weather quarters.


Practice Types: movement, social-connectedness

Format Types: group

Team Playlist

  • Select a theme: favorite song, song that makes you happy or dance, is nostalgic, etc.
  • Ask participants to share one song based on the selected theme and note responses.
  • Create an online playlist (via Spotify, SoundCloud, Apple Music, etc.) based on responses and share with group within one week.
  • Consider creating one playlist a quarter.


Practice Types: social-connectedness

Format Types: group

One Word Closing

  • End a meeting by asking participants to share one word that describes how they’re feeling in that moment.
  • If virtual or hybrid: encourage participants to put response in chat.
  • Consider noting responses and displaying them somewhere visible within the office or include electronically with follow-up materials, if applicable.


Practice Types: mindfulness, social-connectedness

Format Types: group

Northwestern Minute

  • This practice can be used to open or end a meeting.
  • Provide 1 minute for each person to share something they’re proud of.
    • Can be a professional or personal accomplishment.
  • Be mindful of the size of your audience and time available for the practice.
  • Sharing is optional; allow participants the option to pass.


Practice Types: social-connectedness

Format Types: group

Doodling

  • This practice can range from 1-5 minutes (select the length).
  • Materials: paper and pen or pencil.
  • Doodling prompts:
    • Doodle something you see in your environment.
    • Pick a word that embodies a value and doodle what that looks like.
    • Doodle without lifting up your pen/pencil; doodle with one continuous line.
  • Alternative practice: Coloring
    • For groups: requires pre-meeting preparation by informing your audience so they can have additional materials available: coloring page, markers, etc.
  • Consider playing a song or ambient music in the background.


Practice Types: mindfulness, movement, social-connectedness

Format Types: individual, group

Five Senses

  • Take a moment to engage each of your five senses, one at a time, for this mindfulness practice.
  • Take your time and notice:
    • Five things you can see.
    • Four things you can hear.
    • Three things you can touch.
    • Two things you can smell.
    • One thing you can taste.
  • If being done virtually as a group, allow attendees to turn off camera.


Practice Types: mindfulness

Format Types: individual, group

Tech Break

  • Choose a designated amount of time to turn off screens and physically step away.
  • While away, do not engage with surrounding technology.
  • Break ideas:
    • Get a glass of water or snack.
    • Step outside and get some fresh air.
    • Gaze out of window and see what you notice.
    •  Stretch.
  • As a best practice, take a tech break daily on an individual basis and/or add as a permanent agenda item.


Practice Types: mindfulness

Format Types: individual, group

What’s Your Weather Report?

  • Ask team members to describe how they are feeling at that moment in terms of the weather.
  • Are they sunny? Stormy? Partly cloudy? They can use more than one word to capture their internal weather.
    • If someone is having a gloomy or cloudy day, ask them to write down one well-being practice they can do today to help improve their weather report. Sharing is optional.
  • This exercise helps people become aware of and describe their emotions at any one point in time and is a less personal manner to assess mood.


Practice Types: mindfulness

Format Types: group

Stretch Break: Chair Yoga


Practice Types: movement

Format Types: individual, group

Mood Meter Quadrants

  • This practice can help assess a team or group's mood to begin or end a meeting, or as related to team news, updates or projects.
  • Use red, yellow, blue and green squares to make a single square (example below), and draw and label the axes with unpleasant and pleasant and high energy and low energy:
    • Red: Unpleasant and high energy emotions (i.e. anger, anxiety)
    • Yellow: Pleasant and high energy emotions (i.e. excitement, joy)
    • Blue: Unpleasant and low energy emotions (i.e. boredom, sadness)
    • Green: Pleasant and low energy (i.e. serenity and satisfaction)
  • As a team, add relevant emotion words to each quadrant as related to how you’re feeling at the moment.
  • Ask each person to plot their feelings on the mood meter quadrants. Allow the capability to plot anonymously.
  • Review plotted points and take note of the team’s overall mood. Discuss as needed.

 four squares depicting the mood meter quadrants


Practice Types: social-connectedness

Format Types: group

Stretch Break

  • Select stretches (link to below picture), determine the amount of time you will hold each stretch and set a timer, if needed.
  • For groups: Decide if you will lead stretches or engage in independent stretching.
    • For led stretching: demonstrate selected stretches and keep track of time.
    • For independent stretching: participants will select and hold stretches of choice. The facilitator will keep track of time and announce when time has elapsed.
    • If done virtually, allow participants to turn camera off.
    • If done in-person, allow participants to spread out in order to have enough space.

Remind participants to a take deep breath with each stretch.

 Variety of stretches


Practice Types: movement

Format Types: individual, group

60 Second Arrival or Dismissal: Deep Breathing Practice

  • This practice can help you reset before starting a task or meeting, or when ending a meeting.
  • Get comfortable: close your eyes (optional), sit in a supported position and place both feet flat on the ground to help you feel grounded.
  • Set a timer for 60 seconds.
  • Begin by taking regular breaths and proceed to taking larger and deeper breaths.
  • Focus on your breath as it travels through your body.
  • If any thoughts or mind chatter occurs: acknowledge them, envision them “floating” away and return your focus to your breath.
  • When you exhale try relaxing the muscles in your body, perhaps in your shoulders, jaw and/or face.
  • After 60 seconds have passed, return your focus to the room or meeting.


Practice Types: mindfulness

Format Types: individual