Awake at Intel: Learning mindfulness for a better self at work and beyond

This blog was guest written by Sarah Vedas, content marketing manager at Intel Corporation. She manages Intel’s employer brand creative strategy to build employer brand awareness and drive the company’s global hiring needs and diversity initiatives. She is proud mom to an awesome daughter, and strongly believes in the potential of girls to change the world.

 

Between work and home, my days are jam packed. That’s why I was drawn to Awake@Intel, a program that supports employee mental well-being. I jumped at the chance to sign up for this 10-week mindfulness and mediation course when it came to Chandler. It was the best investment I’ve made in a long time and one that paid dividends beyond Intel.

Mindfulness is a scientifically proven tool. It not only helps to manage stress, but also to develop laser-like focus for efficiency and productivity inside and outside of the company. Balance in body and mind is key. The class is focused on this concept, with the goal of being better equipped to work through critical problem solving. Once you have the tools to minimize daily stress (like the flight-or-fight reaction to an urgent deadline), you can more thoughtfully digest information and think through interactions with your peers.

 

I spent an hour and a half each week learning mediation and other work-life balance practices. We also learned how to be truly present. One of the more interesting lessons involved fruit leather. We were instructed to close our eyes and focus on every aspect of eating the treat, from opening the package to smelling the sweet tang of fruit to the taste and texture as we ate it. I felt a little silly initially. Who has 10 minutes to eat fruit leather? Usually I just cram down lunch in three minutes at my desk, but the experience taught me to slow down and appreciate even small, everyday things.

Intel invested in me by first offering the course and then giving me the time to take it. Now I use that weekly time to give back and volunteer at a local hospice. There’s no multitasking in that work. I must be fully present with my patients. Sitting with them, listening to their stories, and really connecting with one another reminds me of the importance of being in the moment and appreciating every day.

The lessons I learned during Awake@Intel have helped me better serve those in my community. My time with my hospice patients continues to be one of the most moving and powerful experiences of my life. I’m thankful to be fully present for it, and them.

Intel offers a wide variety of professional and personal development courses to its employees. Learn more about these and other benefits: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/jobs/benefits.html 

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