Scott Yandle is a Senior Assurance Manager in the DHG Greenville, SC office. He has been with DHG for more than 10 years and avidly meditates to manage stress and work-life balance. During this podcast, Scott shares tips on how to carve out time to be mindful during your day.
Episode 76 Transcript:
AGH: Hello, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of our DHG Podcast Series. I’m Alice Grey Harrison, your host, and I love this venue because we get to hear about the things that matter the most to us: flexibility, careers, and of course, stories about our people. We have some really exciting new offerings related to our wellness plan this year.
We’re getting access to an app called Headspace, which is a meditation app. You may have seen it on the news. It’s been all over, catching on like wildfire. Because meditation has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, and good grief, there’s a lot of that in today’s time. It helps improve sleep and improves focus on an everyday basis.
The problem is, at least for me, sitting still in today’s 24/7 world is just a complete challenge. I probably couldn’t sit still for more than 30 seconds and my brain is running down a thousand different rabbit holes.
I think that apps like Headspace are brilliant because they give us an opportunity to ease into meditation with guided practices that start with a beginner level and then go all the way through becoming a meditation guru.
Speaking of gurus, my friend and colleague, Scott Yandle, is joining me today to talk about meditation. Scott is an audit senior manager here in our Greenville, South Carolina office. Gosh! It was probably what, 3 or 4 years ago, that he and I were on a panel together here talking about flexibility, and I almost fell out of my chair when he started talking about one of his keys to success is meditation. I’m not sure why I was shocked, but anytime I see Scott, he’s always positive. He’s very successful. He’s calm. But he doesn’t look like a meditation type person. When I think of meditation, I think of a monk, and a monk is actually who started Headspace. I was like, “Wow! This is really cool.” I think Scott actually inspired me to go on and try some different meditations.
Anyway, welcome Scott. Let’s hear about your story.
SY: Thanks for having me in. Yes, I do practice mindfulness and meditation, which is wild to say from a little guy from Greer, South Carolina.
AGH: He’s not little.
SY: Yeah, that’s true. Yeah, exactly. Just trying to find every way to help me reduce stress in my life, and I actually found Headspace. Actually, it was the app that I first used through watching the Today Show, and they featured Jenna Bush. She mentioned that her life had become very hectic, and she found this app that changed her life. So I continued to watch the show through the commercial to see what app changed her life because, wow, that sounds pretty amazing, and it was Headspace.
I said, “Well, I have a busy life. I have a lot of stress. I would love to see if this could help me.” I tried it, and much like you said in your opening that I sat 10 seconds and I thought I sat 30 minutes. Actually, the great thing about the app is it walks you through here’s what we’re going to do. Here’s how you’re going to do it, and it guides you step-by-step. So you’re not just sitting there in silence. You’re actually thinking while being silent. I think that’s what really has helped me manage stress. It's saying, yes, we have stress. Recognize that you have stress and how you handle it. That’s what I really found has kept me hooked on doing this.
AGH: That’s great; finding time. I mean, I think that’s really one of the hardest things. It is cliché to say we have time for the things we want to have time for, and it’s so easy to say I just don’t have time for that. How do you find time to meditate with your busy schedule, family demands and work?
SY: Yeah. I was listening to another person speak at a conference, and he was talking about how Teddy Roosevelt used to calendar his day, which I do. I have to put everything on my calendar or I’ll forget. Apparently, he used to take only 10% meetings and then 90% was reflection. That really hit me; I thought, “Man! 99% of my day is doing stuff, and I have basically no time for reflection.”
I have actually put something on my calendar every day an hour after lunch that I just put on my calendar to try to reflect. Now, I don’t get an hour every day, but it makes me think when it comes to my phone or up on my computer, “Hey, take some time for yourself real quick. Meditate. Think. Read a book for a second. Do whatever. Call your kids. Whatever you want to do, but take some time for yourself to just pull out of the fire for a second and then you can plug back in.
AGH: That is true. I mean – It’s so hard to do. So that suggestion of actually putting it in a calendar is really brilliant.
SY: People that I work with say, “Scott is doing his time now.” They all see it on the calendar. I hope that some of them see it and do it themselves because I’ve been doing this now for almost 14 years, and it’s a way that’s kept me sane. You can easily just keep going and going and going, but you have to take some time out for yourself.
AGH: Right. That’s so true. Now that we’re offering this app, they’re not going to laugh at you anymore, because everybody is going to be doing it.
SY: They should be doing it. You basically can put aside 10 minutes to do this. What’s great about Headspace is they have 5 minute, they have 10 minute, and they have 30 minute.
AGH: They have 3.
SY: Yeah, they have a ton of different ones. There’s different things that you can focus on: stress, work, love, kids, food. Whatever it is, it just a really good thing that most people can use.
AGH: Yeah, that’s great. What are some of the benefits that you’ve noticed for yourself?
SY: I definitely have been able to ratchet down the stress. Stress builds and builds and builds until it –
SY: Yeah, you just can’t do anything about it.
AGH: Or inflate.
SY: That’s right. You’re right. If you can unplug for a second, the stress stops building and it actually goes down because you can take yourself out of a stressful situation and then think for a second, “All right, how do I get myself out of it?” Or I understand and here’s how I’m going to deal with it. It just gives you some time to unplug. I found that’s really helped me be more positive, and it’s just not as crazy. It really has helped with the stress level for me.
AGH: That’s great. If you don’t have time to do it every day, you may have it on your calendar, and you just said, maybe some days are crazier than others. Can you still get benefits even if you don’t do it every day?
SY: Absolutely and I don’t do it every day. I’m not able to find time to do it every day. I wish that I could. Sometimes it’s just remembering that you need to do it. I’ll find myself doing it before I exercise in the morning or before I go to bed at night. It’s a great way to fall asleep. I actually have done it and then fallen asleep, which they say, “Oh! Don’t get so relaxed that you fall asleep.” But it’s been great as someone that may struggle to go to sleep, preparing yourself to go to sleep. That’s been another thing, another benefit. But you do not have to do this every day. With the app, it keeps track of how many times you do it. It actually plugs into your Apple watch or your smartwatch that you can use to remind you to be mindful today. So there’s a lot of really cool ways to stay connected with it and remind yourself to do it.
AGH: Yeah. I don’t want to sugarcoat it, because it’s not easy getting started.
SY: It is not.
AGH: They say you have to do something for 30 days for it to become a habit. I know that for our wellness program, we’re going to have some different competitions along the way throughout the year and some good reminders. We’re all headed into the busiest time of year. Well, let me say, our client-facing professionals are heading into their busiest time of year and taking just 5 minutes or 3 minutes of your in-between client sites, you could sit in your car and do it for 3 minutes if that’s what you needed to do.
SY: That’s exactly right. In a stressful situation, you are taking yourself out of it for a second; however, if it’s walking outside just for a second, you don’t have to close your eyes and sit in an Indian style on the floor. You can just do it anywhere, which I love. I even have put it on the car before not closing my eyes, obviously, but putting it on in the car and let it guide me through thinking.
AGH: Just thinking.
SY: Yeah, and just being aware of what’s going on, which I really like.
AGH: That’s super. Well, hopefully, we’re inspiring people to get started. What tips do you have?
SY: Stick with it. The first time, the first few times, it’s going to be uncomfortable. You’re going to say, “Gosh! I’m may be getting bored with this. But, okay fine, refocus.” It will tell you to refocus again and again. But then you’ll start getting into it a little bit and then once you start seeing the benefits of it, you’ll be hooked. I did, like I said on that panel a couple of years ago. I try to tell everybody that’s starting, new people who are starting or even people that have been working here a long time, try it out, because it’s just one of those things you have to have some help to get it going in my opinion. It’s very hard to sit somewhere quietly without some instructions.
AGH: Right. Your mind is going down the rabbit hole.
SY: That’s right.
AGH: Another tip that I find helpful for anything when I’m starting something new is to find a buddy. To find a work buddy and hold each other accountable. That’s also really great, a great tip for getting started.
AGH: All right. Well, thanks for joining me.
SY: Yes, thanks. Thank you for having me.
AGH: And thank you all for listening to Life at DHG, our premier podcast series. If you like what you just heard, we hope you’ll tell your friends and colleagues. Be sure to check out our DHG blog for more great stories about our Life Beyond Numbers. Of course, check out the compass to learn more about Headspace. Join us next time for another edition of the Life at DHG.