Over the past years, I’ve worked in many office environments: the ever dreaded cubicle ( grey of course ), the shove as many desks in a room as possible, converted broom closet, home office (aka a desk next to my bed), and the now vacant office bc everyone else works from home. Regardless of which of these I may have been in, by Tuesday I would be ready to get up, move around and stretch ..you know, a little office yoga. While some of the previously mentioned spaces allowed for lunch yoga, some where a bit more tricky. So I started looking for ways to experience that yoga release and focus from wherever I was sat. I’m not alone in thinking movement, exercise, and yoga are good for getting through the workday, studies have linked them to a more productive day in the office and lowered health risks too. And the best part, movement is free! Here are some simple ways to incorporate movement and positive energy to your day at the office:
If you work a 9-5 and start standing for 2 hours a day ( which burns around 200-280 extra calories a day), you could potentially drop 15-20lbs in a year. Yes! It also helps fight risks of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and blood clots. There’s a variety of stand-up desks on the market, but I propose less than putting in the order for new office furniture just keep a box handy. Easy-peasy! Depending on the size of your monitor and the extreme power of your typing clacks, your DIY standing desk hack could be anything from an empty cardboard printer box or stack of books, to a plastic milk crate. In a former office, one of the gals took her cardboard box to the max decorating it for all the seasons and adding a bow when she could.
5 Minute Meditations
Meditation has a number of mental, emotional, and physical benefits, so why not call upon it when our day is the most stressful? Meditation increases production of serotonin to improve our mood, decreases tension related pain like headaches, ulcers and insomnia, decreases anxiety, increases our ability to focus, promotes better social connection and above all it reduces stress! All area’s that make a huge impact on a day at the office. Maybe you’ve honed in on your meditation skills well enough to drown out the loud talker next to you or that non-stop phone down the hall, but if not check out a quick guided meditation. All you need for these sweet moments of zen is a set of earplugs and a few quick minutes to close your eyes:
Believe in yourself meditation (under 5 minutes)
Meditation for Stressful Moments (6 1/2 minutes)
Meditation for Patience (5 1/2 minutes)
Roll it out
As we sit our bodies fall into a sedentary state, which can fall into stiffness, aches, and pains over time. Take a few minutes between opening emails to roll out your shoulder, neck and wrists. This small action will also help break up some tension and stress in your body. Though we may work our dominate hand more, try and spend adequate time internally massaging both sides in these rolls. Also note, if you are rolling your shoulders back, don’t forget to then roll them forward.
Engage Your Core
You know it! Sit up straight and engage your core while at your desk. The importance of a strong and flexible core goes far beyond the desire to have a 6-pack, it is the center link that binds our bodies and allows for pain-free movement in our everyday life. Sounds like an opportunity for lotus pose to me.. Lotus increases circulation to the lower back, straighten the spine, nourish abdominal organs, eases menstrual pain, and loosen the hips. Talk about some easy body lovin. Lotus can be a difficult pose when new to it though, you might try starting to sit Indian style in your desk chair first. Maneuvering in and out of the chair from this pose takes a few try’s on its own. I find that extending armrests all the way up helps to add some wiggle room, though a chair without armrests altogether would be best here. And for the love of HR, make sure you’re wearing pants. If sitting with your legs crossed in your seat is just unappealing for you though, check out stability or core balls. Studies have shown stability balls to help increase the attention of kids with ADHD, if that adds some extra appeal for you.