3 Mindfulness Practices for Your Work Day


Workplace perks are continually increasing to attract talent in a competitive job market, including healthier snack options, on-site yoga classes, the option to work from home, and even gourmet catered lunches. Sadly, however, many of us still have days where we just can’t seem to relax and enjoy our work.

Why? Maybe you didn’t have time to enjoy your cup of coffee in the morning or you snoozed one too many times and had to rush to get out the door which swept you into a frenzy for the remainder of the day. When you have days where you wake up on the wrong side of the bed or nothing seems to go your way, you’re more susceptible to getting triggered at work. Frustration can bubble up in a conversation causing your body temperature to rise. The interruptions from new emails, meetings, phone calls, and deadlines leave you so overwhelmed that your upper back or jaw tighten up! Then, by the time you get home you’re so exhausted the only possible way to unwind is to sit in front of a mindless task and you can’t seem to shake off the dreary draining feelings. It’s a cycle.

The good news is that when you realize you have moments of unsteady discomfort you’ve taken the first step to cope mindfully. Simply put, awareness is the first step to dealing with the ebbs and flows of life and mindfulness is a tool to help snap you out of the funk.

Mindfulness is defined exactly as you might infer, the mind is fully attentive to what’s happening in the present moment, and not over or under reactive. With mindful awareness, we have a moment-by-moment process of actively and openly observing one’s physical, mental and emotional experiences. The challenging part is that we are all humans and our mind races from past, to the present, and to the unknown future and we judge our experiences to be good or bad causing a reaction. That’s totally normal. But that back and forth thought, or living without mindful reactions to our stimuli, makes us anxious or more susceptible to blowing up.   

The solution?

Create a method or a tool to snap you out of mindless days of reacting will be helpful in not only avoiding an emotional spiral but also assist you in proactively tending to your mental health. Below are three tips to start your mindfulness practice at work.

1. Notice and Take a Deep Breath

When we find ourselves in overwhelming, stressful, or even less than ideal situation our breath can become short and rapid. This happens so quickly that we may not even notice that we’re no longer taking full breaths in and out. Our breath is directly linked to our nervous system, when the breath is rapid our nervous system is in fight, flight or freeze mode making it harder for us to make rational decisions at work.

In situations where when we need to run from a dangerous situation, this is not a bad thing, our nervous system is protecting us. However, by making our breath rapid and our body hot, our physical body is prepared for action and blocks out other thinking functions. This is why noticing and changing our breath on our own is so helpful. When the breath is steady paced we are most likely in the rest and digest mode, which allows our brain to make better decisions, learn from past experience, focus, and problem solve more efficiently.

How to: When you notice that you’ve been triggered, flushed, or overwhelmed bring your attention to your breath. From that point, invite a big breath in through your nose counting to the number seven. Then, begin to exhale for a count of seven. Continue to repeat as you draw the breath in again. Take about 2-3 rounds of this style of breathing until you notice your mind is calmly back in the present moment.

2. Practice Active Listening

Disagreements are part of the package when working on a team. It’s one of the key factors in problem-solving, team building, and arriving on an agreement together. But when we’re in the heat of the situation we may speak over each other, or choose to mentally check out in order to get our point across without actively listening to our peers.

Research suggests that we remember only about 25% to 50% of what we hear. In a short 10 minute conversation with your colleagues, that’s less than 5 minutes! This might not be a problem in our everyday conversations but when the conversation has high stakes or is taking a turn toward disagreement at work it can become an issue.  In crucial moments or when you find yourself in a conversation with different viewpoints, practice active listening.

How to: One method of active listening is to take notes. While you hear the other viewpoints, take notes on the message they are relaying without applying your own filters. Be objective in your note-taking.

In addition, actively listen and then summarize to confirm your understanding of what they said. Again try your best to repeat verbatim and afterward ask “Did I get what you meant?” This may ease the tension and increase mindfulness of others in the room as well.

3. Use Your Sense of Smell

All five senses are helpful in practicing mindful living but our sense of smell is our most powerful sense. Have you ever had that moment when you catch a whiff of something and it brings back to childhood or to a dreamy vacation?

Our favorite way to intentionally activate mindful awareness using smell is with delicious aromatherapy blends including lavender and peppermint. The lavender plant is well known for its beautiful floral aroma. While the extraction of its oil has been around for centuries, most recently it's been found to alleviates anxiety, sleep disturbance, and depression providing a good calm mindful reminder upon smelling. Peppermint essential oil, on the other hand, has a sharp and strong scent. Its freshness is known to boost energy and alertness. For these reasons, we love how direct it is in bringing us back to the present moment.  

How to: Enjoy our new Kneadpeace aromatherapy dough by playing, pinching or kneading the dough while taking in the calming smell. You can even get creative making fun little dough animals or practice the exercises to strengthen and stretch your muscles and sense of touch.


In our current fast-paced work environment, stressful or overwhelming moments are unavoidable. Acknowledging that stress will occur and using it as a growth opportunity to practice mindful living. Finding your own personal method that works for you is essential in keeping your mind and energy healthy while still enjoying the rollercoaster of life. Share with us, which mindfulness practice you enjoy using in the comments below and join us this year for our mindfulness challenge. Follow us on Instagram to learn more.

3-Step Guide on Relieving Low Back Pain at Your Desk


It’s Thursday mid-morning, you’re at your desk sipping on a warm cup of coffee as you stare down a tight deadline. After messaging your manager that you’re on track, you can’t help but notice the aching pain in your low-back preventing you from fully concentrating at the task at hand.

At first, you may be hesitant to mention anything to anyone. Aside from this pain, you feel vibrant and full of life but you can’t seem to kick the ache. Fifty percent of all working individuals admit to having back pain symptoms each year. In fact, back pain accounts for more than 264 million lost work days in one year - that’s about two working days for every full-time employee!

Unless you experienced a back injury by lifting something heavy or there was a meaningful event that you can recall your back feeling strained, your back pain may be result of general overuse, underuse of certain muscle groups, poor posture and/or the ergonomics of your desk.

These types of back pain are generally referred to as "non-specific" (no obvious cause) or "mechanical" (the pain originates from joints, bones or soft tissues around the spine). Additionally, back pain in these categories, or those not associated with a pre-existing conditions can be associated with feelings of stress, burnout, or feeling run down. For these reasons, it’s important to check in with your body.

Structure of the Low-Back and Sitting at a Desk

The most common back pain occurs in the lower back, also known as the lumbar spine. This includes the lower five vertebrae, referred as L1-L5.

Our lumbar spine supports a lot of the weight of the upper body and for this reason we need strong supportive back.

Between each vertebrae, there are round donut shape pads that provide a nice cushion-like support acting as shock absorbers for your bones as your body moves, jumps, twists, and turns. To hold this column in place, bands of tissue known as ligaments hold the vertebrae together. Lastly, the tendons attach the muscle to the spinal column. There are thirty-one pairs of nerves rooted to the spinal cord. These nerves not only control your body movement but also signal to your brain if and when you are feeling pain.

The natural shape of the low back is slightly curled inward. This easily becomes compromised when you lean back in a chair, losing the natural curve and instead round your lower spine (L1-L5). Similarly, while sitting at your desk your shoulders may roll forward and your head may tip as you look down at your computer screen. The human head weighs about 10 pounds so any slight angle forward starts to put strain on the entire back chamber of the body include neck, upper back, and low back causing an imbalance and potential pain.

On average, people spend about 50,000 hours sitting at their desk throughout a lifetime. Because of these prolonged stints of sitting, without stretching or moving, the low-back may begin to experience uncomfortable sensations or aching pain. Try this 3-step guide to alleviate some of the pain right at your desk sending you into your evening with more energy.  

1. Stretch it out with Seated Twist in Your Chair

Photo Credit:  Yoga Journal

Photo Credit: Yoga Journal

Seated twists are great for stretching the quadrates lumborum (QL)  muscles. The QL are deep ab muscles located in your lower back region on either side of your lumbar spine. These muscles tend to cramp up because we use them while sitting, standing, and walking through our day.  

To stretch, position yourself so that you’re more toward the edge of your chair.

As you inhale, elongate your spine, feeling the crown of your head reaching toward the ceiling.

As you begin to exhale, twist to your right side keeping the head and gaze forward to start. Then, begin to rotate slowly starting at the lower back, then mid back, upper back, and finally the neck and head as you gaze towards your back shoulder. The range of motion varies in our spine and for this reason we want to the neck (the cervical spine) which has the most range of motion to be the last to take the twist.  

Grab onto the arm of your chair with both hands or if your chair doesn’t have arm rests, bring the left hand to the right knee, and the right hand behind to grab the back of your chair. Hold for about 3 - 5 breathes (long inhales and exhales). Gentle come back through center and repeat on the other side.

It’s best to practice this simple twist a few times through your working day. You may choose to set reminders every two hours to help keep you on track.

2. Strengthen Your Backside to Prevent Low-Back Pain


While you can stretch and strengthen your QL muscles, they aren’t the only muscle group that creates your low back pain. When your glutes are not working properly, your body compensates or tries to use other muscle groups, causing more of a strain on your low back muscles.

Standing at your desk or during you bathroom break, you can incorporate a few squats and standing leg lifts.

With your feet wider than your hips, lower your hips down to about the height of your knees. As you come back up to stand, push into you heels and engage your glutes. Once in a standing position, shift your weight to balance on one foot and then extend the other leg out to the side, away from the midline, like you're painting a straight horizontal line on with floor with you heel, until you feel your backside engage. Repeat 5 - 10 times on each side.

Head back to your desk or take another set. Make a mental note to yourself that every time you get up for either some water or a bathroom break, you include a few of these reps.

3. Use Heat to Relieve Low-Back Pain


A study conducted on 1,117 individuals who were experiencing low-back pain, found evidence that heat wrap therapy provides a small short-term reduction in pain and disability.

Contrary to what we may think around icing pain, ice or cold packs are for fresh injuries, strain, sprain, swelling or inflammation. Ice is a drugless way to calm down the swelling and dull the pain. Heat, on the other hand, is used for muscle aching and stiffness, chronic pain and stress. The way that heat therapy works is it dilates the blood vessels surrounding the lumbar spine, increasing oxygen to those muscles and damaged tissues. Because heat also stretches the soft tissue, it begins to decrease any stiffness and provide flexibility to the low back.

While you’re at work use a small electric heating pad to rest at your low back. There are many options for different preferences. Below are a few of our favorite:

Simple Function Option: This type typically has a Low, Med, High controller. For this option, set your own timer for about 15 - 20 minutes.

Auto-Shut off Option:  Similarly, some electric heating pads have a built-in timer or auto-shut off if it’s been on for too long.

Adjustable Belt Option: This option is a bit more portable, it has a rechargeable battery and you can adjust it to your waist size, keeping it strapped on to yourself.


To mitigate low-back pain at work incorporate these tips one at a time to see which one works best with your body. After your trial, you may realize that you liked all three! Before and after your quick practice, remember to tune in to your breath. Filling up your belly and rib cage with your breath, to become more present with your body and mind. By simply tuning in to your breath, you release some of the tension from your body. The breath allows your nervous system to relax and feel more at ease throughout your day.

Finally, because pain is subjective to each individual, it’s important to note that while the sensation of pain generally makes it more or less alarming, only you can determine when it’s time to seek professional help. If the pain persist or if everyday tasks and activities are no longer possible, it may be time to speak to your doctor.

3 Facts About The Soda Water You Love to Drink


You just stepped out to grab lunch at your favorite downtown spot. Instead of reaching for a can of soda as you slowly approach the cashier, you lean in to pick up that fizzy, refreshing, bubbly soda water. You pop open the can walking back to your office only to notice that everyone in town seems to be carrying a bottle of sparkling water.

Sipping a soda water is now as common as enjoying a cup of fresh brewed Starbucks coffee. Corporate offices are stocking up their employee fridges and companies like Bevi are making a killing to ensure an easier refill of your fizzy water with the tap of a touch screen.

Perhaps it’s the bubbles that make this type of water so fun to drink. But did you know that before the flavored bubbles, carbonated water was first introduced in pharmacies as medicine when it was invented back in 1767? It wasn’t until the 1900’s that carbonated water started to take the shape of cola, flavors and sugary drinks.

Our bodies are composed of roughly 60 percent water, and we need to replenish daily with the doctor’s recommendations of eight cups of water per day. Especially if we’re hitting our favorite yoga class to sweat the stress away.

The fizzing question is, are there any other health effects we should watch out for? Keep reading to find out 3 facts you should know about your new crush on soda water and how it’s really affecting your body.

First, let’s talk about the different types of soda water.

Carbonated water is the umbrella term used to describe all fizzy water. You may hear this term used interchangeably with sparkling water, soda water, and bubble water. Within these broad terms more specifically there’s three types of soda water: seltzer, club soda, and mineral water. Below are the key differences:

  1. Seltzer Water: Seltzer water has been artificially produced by passing pressurized carbon dioxide to water without added ingredients or flavoring.  You may notice that some seltzer water have “flavors” - as long as the drinks are flavored naturally, without dyes, or additives they are considered seltzer water. La Croix falls under seltzer water category.

  2. Club Soda: Similar, club soda has been artificially produced by passing pressurized carbon dioxide but the difference is club soda does have two added ingredients. Club soda contains potassium bicarbonate and potassium sulfate, which give it a slightly saltier taste. For this distinct taste, bartenders tend to favor this version for mixed drinks. On average, club soda has between 50 to 65 milligrams of sodium per 8-ounce serving. Any food or beverage that contains less than 120 milligrams of sodium per serving is considered low in sodium (according to the American Dietetic Association). Therefore, even though it’s low in sodium, it still contains salt so beware of how many servings you consume.

  3. Mineral Water: Mineral water is naturally occurring carbonation and minerals. It’s bottled directly from the natural source. Think Perrier and San Pellegrino- these tend to be pricier because they are naturally occurring and some describe it as a more delicate bubble. Can you taste them on the tip of your tongue now?

Second we’ll answer the most common question, is soda water bad for your teeth?

One of the main concerns sparkling water aficionados have is, does drinking this fancy water impact my teeth?

While research is limited as the fad grows, one study found that sparkling mineral water damaged enamel only slightly more than still water. Scientist explored the pH level and total acidity of a range of beverages to determine the capacity for dental erosion. The study concluded that beverages with more sugar had the strongest potential for enamel erosion, damaging your teeth. Ranking popular beverages in the following order from highest erosion of enamel to lowest: energy drink, sports drink, regular carbonated cola or soda, diet soda, blended coffee drink, and lastly still water.

With that said, while you’re enjoying your fifth, sixth,  or maybe even tenth bubble water of the day, be sure that it’s naturally flavored. Read the label on the back. Confirm no sugar has been added and review the small print! Companies sometimes label their drinks as “sparkling juice” which is not the same. Labels like this most likely have sugar added, even if it’s cane sugar.

Finally, we’ll uncover how fizzy water affects your digestion.

Interestingly enough, sparkling water may improve:

  • Swallowing;

  • Increase the sensation of fullness; and

  • Ease symptoms of indigestion.

Researchers conducted a double-blinded study comparing the effect of carbonated water versus tap water in people who suffered from various gut health problems such as indigestion and constipation. At the end of the two week study, those drinking mineral water (a type of fizzy water) reported that their gut problems improved.

It is no surprise that soda sales have been steadily decreasing for the past 12 years as consumers are more aware of the health drawbacks. Luckily, most soda water contains zero grams of sugar. Be label conscious and avoid more than a handful of servings of club soda. Know that you are staying hydrated, hopefully decreasing your intake of less healthy beverages, and potentially aiding your digestion. So don’t be hesitant to reach for that fourth bottle of bubble water rest assured that your body is benefitting in various ways from your healthy addiction. Cheers to enjoying your soda water in a healthy manner!

Please note we are not medical doctors, scientific researchers, or licensed therapists. We always recommend you speak with your doctor for situations specific to your individual health.

3 Tips to Successfully Define and Keep Your New Year Resolution


If you’ve sung the mantra ‘new year, new you’ before, you’re probably well versed in the slippery slope of broken resolutions. The idea of the clock ticking to 12:01 to provide a fresh start is enticing, especially after all the frosting-covered sugar cookies and fancy holiday cocktails. In reality, over half of the new year’s resolutions set are forgotten by the time January 15th rolls around. We fail for 3 main reasons:

1. Our goals are not intentional,

2. Our resolutions are too vague, and

3. We don’t create an actual plan to succeed!

Below are three easy steps to identify, work towards, and achieve your 2019 new year resolutions helping you thrive through the end of the year.

Success Tip #1: Set resolutions for what YOU actually want to achieve.

Before you start any new task it’s important to consider your why. Take the time to sit down and journal your motivation on paper. Be inquisitive to discover why you want to set a new year’s resolution and ask yourself if it is intrinsically motivated. If not, maybe it’s not the right one for you this year. Creating a resolution that guides your life in the direction you want to go and has a deep meaning for you significantly increases your chance of follow through.

Being healthier is the top American new year‘s resolution, but there are so many other exciting things to do in a year. Below are a few of the most popular new year's resolutions with quick tricks to succeed.

Eating Well: Perhaps you have a food allergy or are noticing you’re feeling lethargic or have low energy. The winter is a great time to learn how to make foods you love at home or in a healthier way for you.

  • Fuel your body intentionally with the food you eat.

  • Stay hydrated.

  • Focus on eating whole instead of processed can/frozen food.

  • Resist the urge to microwave your food because it zaps your nutrients.

  • Monitor your sugar intake.

  • Use an app like MyNetDiary to track your habits.

  • Remember that 70 calories from a cookie and 70 calories from an egg are completely different.

  • Avoid eating out but allow yourself a cheat day.

Getting In Shape: Throw out the scales and find a new way to measure your fitness.

  • Set goals that are not weight-based, like run a mile without stopping, do 100 squats or 10 push-ups in a row, workout x-number of times a week, train for a 5k, 10k or longer run, etc.

  • Use a measuring tape or track your BMI.

  • Track progress weekly instead of daily to avoid driving yourself crazy.

  • Attend the same workout class at the same time every week. Meet new workout buddies and have accountability with your instructor. These people will notice when you’re not there and help keep you motivated to go every week.  

Reducing Your Stress: Take time every day to release stress in a healthy way and rebalance your adrenals.

  • Mindfully enjoy slow deep breaths to promote calm relaxation and more intentional reactions.

  • Download a free meditation app like Insight and use it.

  • Laugh even if you don’t feel like it.

  • Start journaling to identify the root of your stress, plan time for activities you love, determine how and when you self-sabotage, and create strategies to overcome obstacles.

  • Simplify your “to do” list, reframe your problems by looking at the big picture, practice gratitude and set healthy boundaries.

  • Respond with love and compassion not just for others but for yourself.

Relationships: Another top resolution is to spend more time with people that matter most or be more intentional about your time with others.

  • To meet new people, you have to get out of your house. The best places to meet people are at parks, gyms, sporting events, or in activity clubs.

  • If you are nervous to attend an event, visualize a positive outcome. Don’t be afraid to push beyond your comfort zone and step into a new conversation or say no to a gathering you don’t want to attend.

  • Engage in positive self talk and remind yourself of your strengths to ensure confidence.

  • Be inquisitive to get to know people. Focus on the person you’re talking to and be approachable by emanating a smile, making eye contact, and standing up straight to show others you are happy to converse.

Change Your Habits: Too much time spent on social media, watching tv, smoking or drinking? Would you like to pick up a skill in the new year?

  • If it’s hard to quit doing an activity you want to stop doing, replace it with a hobby you’d like to try. Refocus your time and energy on a skill you’ve been excited to try.

  • Create time limits for your evening television shows and set a timer for how long you can be on Instagram.

  • Delete or unsubscribe to apps, newsletters and social media personalities that are not adding value to your life.

  • Avoid catching the news.

  • Explore what interests you. Find a book category you like, borrow more books than you can read, and read more than one book at a time to fit your mood. There are plenty of resources that can enable you to learn things on your own these days. The hard part it taking the time to do so. Set reminders or designated times you’ll dedicate to your resolution.

Success Tip #2: Set specific goals.

Once you know your motivation and potential goals, you need to get specific. For example, if you want to learn a new language, what language do you want to learn? Do you want to be fluent, able to read or just converse? What are your checkpoints along the way and how will you know you are on-track? By creating specific measurable goals you enable yourself to track your progress and hold yourself accountable to your intentions.

Success Tip #3: Evaluate your progress.

There is no quicker way to defeat than setting a big goal that’s only to be evaluated once a year. The further you get from your intention setting date the easier it is to forget.

Instead, stay strong with Monday resolution check-ins. Fitness class attendance and “healthy” searches are 30% higher on Monday and Tuesday then Wednesday through Sunday proving we start off strong but often taper off throughout the week. If you allow Monday to be a consistent reset you will be much more likely to stay focused on accomplishing your goals for the year.

Next, set mini-goals to create a healthy sense of accomplishment and track your progress. Want to pick up a new hobby? Set a mini-goal to determine three different hobbies you will try this month to get a feel for what else is out there. When you feel positive and accomplished you are more likely to make more positive choices triggering the snowball effect in a good way!

If you’re sick of watching your resolutions slowly fade away in your rearview mirror, 2019 is your year. Don’t wait to making the changes you want to make next week, next month, or next year. Take the time to uncover the internal reason why you want to set a resolution. Set a goal that aligns with your why. Detail your plan of attack with your first Monday mini-goal to keep you on track. Then, each week, allow space for self-evaluation. Ask yourself how you’re doing and what needs to change? This year is your year to stick to new year resolutions and make 2019 your best year ever!

6 Best Practices for Enjoying the Holiday Feast


‘Tis the season for friends, family, festivity, and food. Lots of mouth-watering can’t stop eating, just one more bite, comfort food. If you’re like us, you’re getting hungry just thinking about the delicious desserts and savory sides that accompany the holiday season. But we aren’t rookies. While buttery mashed potatoes, juicy turkey smothered in gravy and pumpkin pie with a side of eggnog might make us feel warm and fuzzy inside, the holiday menu can also bring with it other less desirable gifts we’d prefer to avoid during the “happiest time of the year”.

Thankfully, Americans on average only gain about one to two pounds during the holidays. While this doesn’t sound dramatic, research shows it adds up over the years. Therefore, mindful eating habits are key before we move into the holidays to ensure a joyous season leading us guilt-free into the New Year. Whether your more likely to eat out with friends and family or enjoy one too many five course meals at home, we’ve got six quick tips to help decrease guilt and increase your energy through this holiday season.

1. Listen to your parents and eat those fruits and vegetables!

Vegetables tend to be high in nutrients and fiber creating the one-two punch for healthy eating. Place them on your plate first to fill up on the good stuff that will keep your body running smoothly. If you’re attending a holiday party, consider bringing your favorite dish of non-starchy veggies to feast on.

But wait! Don’t forget about the gorgeous seasonal fruits like pomegranates, mandarin oranges, and red grapefruit. Not only are they at peak season for premium quality and flavor, but they are also packed with nutrients to support your mind and body during the holidays.

2. Heck yes or heck no.

Just because it’s a special treat doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Garlic mashed potatoes and creamy macaroni and cheese will still be around in January, we promise. Be picky with what you put on your plate. If some dishes on the table are not foods you absolutely love (heck yes!) then skip them this round. Just because they’re on the table doesn’t mean you need to indulge. Side of guilt, no thank you!

Remember, it takes 20 minutes for your brain to get the signal that you’ve had enough food. Put down your fork in between bites and enjoy the food you love to allow for more time to pass and your mind to get the message.

3. Don’t let your food touch.

A silly but good reminder. While small plates are a popular portion control technique, you can also avoid the mound of food on your plate by keeping space between the different dishes. Then, pop a sugar-free mint in your mouth to curb overeating! The minty fresh taste will shift your taste buds and focus to the conversation (hopefully good) at the table allowing you to move on from the meal.

4. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Enjoy healthy snacks like raw veggies, nuts, and fruit throughout the day to avoid a full-blown gorgefest. Hunger causes a drop in blood sugar and increased cortisol levels leading to cravings for fatty, salty, and sugary foods. Curb the cravings by eating regular meals throughout the day focused on fiber-rich treats (fruit, vegetables, and nuts) that will satisfy your belly with a lower calorie count.

5. Dilute your drinks.

Do you really like eggnog or the other holiday drinks? Just because it’s limited doesn’t mean you have to have it. If it’s not a heck yes, say no thank you (see tip #2 above).

If you enjoy alcohol with your festivities, alternate between water and alcohol to avoid the not-so-happy holiday hangover. Soda water makes a great mixer to reduce calories. For added detoxification, try adding ginger or lemon! Make sure you're staying hydrated by drink half your body weight in water. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, aim for 80 ounces (or 10 8 oz. glasses) of water over the course of the day.

6. Stay active.

There are a bunch of studies that say taking a brisk 15-20 minute walk after a meal can help ease digestion and stabilize blood sugar levels. Not to mention, doing so can make up for eating more than usual while reducing any unwanted holiday stress.

Can’t get out after the meal? Before you allow yourself a splurge, do something healthy, like eating a piece of fruit, walking around your home for five minutes, or climbing the stairs a few times. Tell yourself that all the running around you’re doing (cleaning for house guests, dashing through a million stores to find the perfect gift) can help keep your weight in check. In a Harvard study, people who were simply told that they did enough in their daily lives to meet the surgeon general’s recommendations lost weight and body fat without consciously changing a thing. Why? Positive thinking works.  

The idea of healthy holiday eating can make people anxious so try not to get too worked up. This season should be a time of celebration and relaxation. File it under sad-but-true: You can gain weight while eating healthy. Therefore, make sure you're not eating something based solely on its healthy attraction and keep a keen eye on your portion sizes.

Leave your elastic waistbands and loose clothing that encourage overeating in the closet. Sit next to a fellow healthy eater for strength in numbers or saddle up next to your friend who eats slowly. If you do happen to eat more than you planned during this holiday season, don't beat yourself up. Abandon those negative voices in your head, give yourself permission to enjoy the indulgence guilt-free, and then remember to get back on track with your normal routine the next day to prevent your slip from ending in a fall.

4 Tricks to Thrive While Working from Home


Over the past decade, technological advances have shattered the ball and chain restricting where and how we work. The traditional workstation that included a computer, monitor, plug in mouse, and filing cabinets is close to extinction. Laptops are extremely common if not the only way people work and the majority of our information is stored in the cloud making paper records obsolete. We now have the ability to work from home, on vacation, or at the beach if you can maneuver your screen against the sun’s glare. Social tools keep us connected to our teams and working outside the office is the new perk many companies jump to provide employees.

Working remotely has it perks including skipping the dreadful commute, home cooked meals, and decreased distractions from coworkers. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Waking up without anyone to physically report to can lead to four or five snoozes - sometimes more than our body needs. When you finally pull yourself out of bed, guilt envelops you. To placate, you flip open your computer to get started only to find the rush of morning emails has overtaken your inbox. Before you know it, the clock reads 11:30 am and you’re still in your pj’s, haven’t eaten breakfast or even brushed your teeth for the day.

Of course, a day here and there that starts like this isn’t necessarily a problem. However, to be successful working from home, whether it’s every day or once a week, there are certainly best practices that make it easier. Check out these four quick tips to thrive while working from home.

1. Get ready for the day even if it’s just for your dog.

Pajamas are great! However, if you find yourself in your pajamas still at 3:00 pm there’s often disappointment looming about your day. Take the time to shower, have breakfast, brush your teeth and get dress for the day. Doing so can make you feel more confident... Plus, if a friend texts you to grab lunch, you’ll be ready to go!

2. Sit down to plan out your day.  

Pick a start and a definitive end time each day. One of the great things about working from home is the flexibility in your schedule. If you are morning person, start your day early. If you are more of a night owl, don’t set an alarm and plan to work late into the evening. Once you set a schedule, stick with it.

Make a list of your most important tasks before you complete less urgent business to structure your working hours for maximum efficiency. If you’re most focused in the morning, plan to check off your more demanding tasks first thing and resist the urge to check your email. 

3. Take breaks and get away from your workstation for lunch.

Pay attention to the signals your body gives you. When your focus starts to wane or your back aches, it’s a great time to get up, stretch, unload the dishwasher or start your laundry. Schedule time for lunch. If fitness is important to you, a midday workout could be just the thing you need to reinvigorate you for a productive afternoon.

4. Find the right work setting and stay connected.

Some days working from bed (not recommended for your back) sounds just right. Other days coffee shops and libraries simulate the energy of an office to help you stay productive. Find a few places in and outside of your home that you enjoy working from and determine what tasks are best done in each of those spots.

Plug into social channels like Slack to keep conversations with coworkers going while you are not physically at the office. If you are working on intellectually intensive work, communicate to your team that you will not be responding to emails to dial into the task at hand.

Studies have shown employees are often more productive when working from home. With this research and our advanced technology it looks like working from home is here to stay. Take advantage of the perk and set yourself up for success. Stay connected, enjoy the flexibility and schedule the breaks you need to succeed while working out of the office. Remember, learning to power up and shutdown on time enforces your work/life boundaries and most importantly don’t forget to dress for the day!

4 Tips to Identify & Mitigate Common Pains


Pinpointing the origin of many of your aches and pains is no easy task. Whether it be the crick on the side of your neck that just won't go away or the mild tension on your outer hip that annoys you while seated in your chair at work, the reason for these discomforts can’t be easily identified. Many pains that start off as minor discomforts can snowball into full-blown-it’s-time-to-do-something-about-this-right-now-excruciating pain. The source, in many of these circumstances, unveils itself sneakily in the unconscious ways you move or don’t move your bodies throughout the day.

Let’s take a moment to think back on the last 24 hours of your life. How long have you spent seated in a chair, on the couch or even reclined in bed? How was your posture during these periods? Do you cross your ankles throwing off the weight in your hips while seated? Do you lay on one side applying more pressure to one shoulder? How about the shape of your spine? If someone took a picture of you without your awareness, what would you look like typing on your phone/computer or even driving? Add up these minutes and hours. How much time per day do you spend in these precarious shapes?

The reality is most of us sit, stand, and move throughout our days like we are some sort of contortionist, twisted into pretzels without the delightful cinnamon topping, setting ourselves up for a lifetime of pain and injuries. So what can we do about it? By being aware of your posture and integrating mindful habits you can discover the root for your pain and retrain your body to move with you instead of against you. Check out these 4 quick tips to realign your daily movement and identify the culprit of your pain!  

1. Start By Identifying Your Problem Areas

Stand facing a floor length mirror without thinking about your posture. What shapes reflect back to you? Now, turn to the side. What shape does your spine make from the top of your neck to your tailbone? What you are looking for is an “S” curve. The concave curve of your neck matches your low back. The convex curve of your upper back matches the tiny convex curve of your sacrum and tailbone. This natural shape helps shock absorb when walking or moving and also helps the spine hold up your head.

We all have misalignments and much of our pain comes from the misshape of our spines. Some things may be obvious, others less so. Pick one area of your body that you notice a discomfort and visual misalignment. Below you will read a few realignments cues that can help with common aches and pains.

2. Shoulder Maintenance: Aligning the Upper Part of Your S Curve

Neck, shoulder, elbow or wrist pain? All of these may stem from poor posture in your shoulders from years of hunching over a computer.

The muscles between your shoulder blades are supposed to help with posture. The rhomboids and trapezius are responsible for pulling the shoulder blades together which naturally opens the chest. However, most of us round our shoulders and stretch the trapezius and rhomboids instead of strengthening them. If you strengthen your upper back, your chest will naturally open.  

Follow these steps to find your proper shoulder alignment:

  1. Lengthen your side bodies. Your upper arm bones may lift to the same height as your collarbone. The upper arm bones are now firmly rooted into the shoulder socket.

  2. Hug your upper arm bones back and squeeze the muscles between your shoulder blades (rhomboids).

  3. Move your shoulder blades closer to your hips.

  4. If you feel crunchy in your low back, breathe a little puff of space into your back ribs.

Walk around a little with your shoulders engaged in this way. You may notice it is difficult to maintain the squeeze between shoulder blades. If this is you, that’s your signal that this is an area to keep building strength.

There are many ways you can get stronger rhomboids and trapezius muscles. Practice squeezing your shoulder blades together when you’re sitting or walking for the bus or carrying groceries, do pull-ups, exercise with a rowing machine or a lat pull-down machine at the gym, or practice rowing at home without any machinery.

3. Low Back Strength: Align the Lower Part of Your S Curve

Low back pain? We’re talking to you. Our abdominal and low back muscles stabilize and control a significant amount of our daily movement. While leaning over the table, putting a heavy bowl down, and twisting in your chair to respond to your coworker who sits behind you, we need core strength. It’s important to build low back strength, front and side abdominals, so your body has 360 degrees of core strength.

Follow these steps to strengthen your low back:

Stand with your feet hip width apart or wider. Wrap an imaginary gym towel around your neck and hold each imaginary end with your hands at armpit level. Bend your knees, shift weight into your heels, and sit your hips so far back you almost fall backwards. Without moving your legs, lift and lower your chest 10 times, while only hinging at your hips. Your low back is most likely burning with effort. This is an excellent way to build low back strength and retrain your lumbar curve into a healthy shape.

In addition, missing the arch through your low back is pretty common. To retrain, practice core strengthening exercises or purchase lumbar support for your chairs to implement change in your daily posture. Even sliding a block or pillow behind your low back while seated in a chair can be a great reminder.

Standing? Visualize the lumbar curve or pretend there’s a yoga block between your upper thighs and you’re trying to squeeze it backwards.

4. Set Your Sight Straight Ahead

Look forward. It’s really that simple but as you can see in the picture above, many of us unconsciously look down at our phones. Bring your chin level to the earth and take note of how often your chin drops down or creeps up or out. You might notice your chin lowering most while texting, playing a game on your phone, or if your computer screen is on a desk that lower than eye level. Fix this by placing your computer strategically on a stack of books and use your upper back muscles to lift your phone to eye level.


It’s the little things that matter. Bad sitting habits—from slouching, crossing your legs, to looking down at your phone—can lead to serious injuries and chronic pain. The good news is, healthy postural habits can lead to longevity and less physical pain. Start small and pick one best practice to start implementing today. Then, ask a buddy to help keep you accountable. Chances are they could work on something too!

For specific questions, please email info@nwcorporateyoga.com. Please note we are not doctors or licensed therapists. If your pain persists or is unbearable we recommend you speak with your doctor today.

4 Best Practices for Creating a Fall Routine


With only four months left in 2018, the fall season presents the perfect time to hunker down and refocus on those slightly forgotten, and perhaps dusty, 2018 New Year resolutions and goals. Now that schools are back in session, the weather starts to turn crispier in the morning, and summer vacations are only a memory of the past, this season couldn’t be a better time to set your mind on finishing this year strong.

As fall brings less daylight, our inclination to sleep in, watch a little more television, and rest through the weekend starts to grow. Knowing this, however, we can be strategic in how we spend our waking hours during the fall season. A rainy Saturday every now and then might be a good opportunity to catch up on your favorite TV series,  but eight or ten Saturdays spent catching up might leave you feeling a sense of regret or disappointment come December 31st. So what can you do to make the most of this time of year?

Well, before the hectic holiday season starts, you can prepare yourself for a strong finish in 2018 by developing a healthy fall routine now. So grab your planner, find a comfortable spot, kick up your heels and check out these four awesome tips for setting your routine.

1.    First things first, set your year-end goals.

It’s hard to know where you’re going when you don’t have directions and a final destination. With your planner in hand, take time to sit down and write out anywhere from one to three goals for your mental, physical and emotional health this season. Be sure to set your goal completion dates when you’re planning. Your completion dates don’t all have to be December 31, 2018. In fact, we encourage you to sprinkle goals throughout the rest of the year to make them more manageable.

Need an extra best practice for writing goals? Make your goals measurable so you know when you’ve reach them. For example, if you're looking to shed a few pounds, set a goal weight instead of simply saying “I want to lose weight.” When you’re done with your goals, share them with a trusted friend who will hold you accountable and encourage you to hit them.

Once you've identified your goals, pick the first one or two you want to complete and dedicate your time and energy to finish it early in these last few months!

2.    Plan your work week on Sunday.

From food to social outings, setting a schedule allows you to be more strategic throughout a busy work week. We all know what it feels like to have an entire week, even month, go by in what seems as quick as a blink of an eye. As such, if you aren’t strategic and intentional about what you’re doing, before you know it, January 2019 will be at your doorsteps.

Take the time weekly to sit down and plan out what you’d like to accomplish each week. You can start by reflecting on the past week. What did you do well? What where your areas of improvement? Then, create space in your schedule for exercise plans, social outings, spiritual growth, work goals, housekeeping, and/or financial targets for the week. This planning shouldn’t take longer than ten minutes, and at the end of it, you'll have a roadmap to help you get through the work week.  

3.    Re-discover balance in this season of your life.  

Balance. It’s a real buzz word in today’s society. Yet we all know that sometimes “balance” isn’t really possible. Balance is an ever-changing equation based on not only the calendar season but the season of life you are in personally. Starting a new job? Welcoming a baby? Buying a home? Searching for work? Life brings various different opportunities for our balance equations to shift.

As you evaluate what’s ahead this fall, get real about what balance looks like for you through the end of the year. Where will you be focusing your energy? Where can you give a little? To help, set clear expectations for those around you in order to communicate what’s going on in your life and where you are.  Communication and an analysis of the season you are in or moving into will help as you commit yourself to what’s ahead and fine-tune your balancing act.

4.    Embrace unexpected changes to your plan.

While many of us like think we are in control of our lives, every now and then, something happens in life that clearly shows we’re not in as much control as we think whatsoever. Sometimes, life just happens, and the variables capable of throwing wrenches into our plans are endless. Rather than letting speed bumps throw us off, we can use them as opportunities to slow down, reflect in the moment, and grow from it. When the hiccups occur, we can re-evaluate our balance equation, and see what’s important at that time and how we can move forward.

Planning is great, but be careful about becoming so focused on getting things done. The unexpected interruptions can easily sour your mood, even if distractions are pleasant. Prepare by being realistic and accepting that not many things go as planned. Embrace the new paths that are forged as your life progresses and re-balance your equation.


Routines are a great way to create a consistent level of motivation in the areas in which you would like to grow. Those routines can be for work, health + fitness, family life or other areas you find important. By setting goals, planning your weeks, re-balancing life's commitments and embracing unexpected change, you can develop your own routine for finishing 2018 strong and hitting your goals.


5 Quick Exercises to Fix Bad Posture at Work

5 Quick Exercises to Fix Bad Posture at Work

Let’s face it, maintaining good posture within the office setting is a constant struggle. Statistically speaking, eight out of ten Americans will suffer from back pain over the course of their lifetime. With so many people, places and things fighting for our attention every second we’re awake, finding time to be mindful about our body position while going about our work day can be exceptionally difficult. Hours spent commuting, working at our desks, checking our phones, and sitting through meeting roll right into eight plus hours a day. All of this toiling silently takes a toll on our bodies. It’s only when the pain begins that we finally stop and listen to our bodies. Fortunately, there are several exercises to help reduce your risk of pain in the office, and I’m going to share them with you.

7 Natural Ways to Boost Your Energy at Work


The season of sunshine, long days, cool nights, BBQ’s, vacations, and outdoor activities is upon us - finally! With the additional sunshine providing more of that glorious daylight for summertime activities, sleeping in and naps have lost all their shiny luster and allure.

Not only are the summer months filled with more outdoor activities, they also have other naturally occurring phenomena that make sleep more difficult. Take, for example, the light that hits your bedroom in mid-December versus early July. For many of us, this provides a stark difference in sleeping in arrangements. While a quick pillow over your face can help some, the natural light works to awaken your body’s clock, which makes sleeping in a battle set for defeat. Let’s not forget the additional heat a well-lit room provides, fighting the warmth can make you sleepier and you might as well rise with the chickens to embrace the change.

In addition to the physical differentiations in our sleep settings during the summer months, the increase in temperature during this period encourages the consumption of cold beverages, many of which can be loaded with sugar or alcohol, increasing your risk of dehydration while disrupting your natural sleep patterns.

Being mindful of these natural shifts that occur in the summer months can make the transition to the warmer season more manageable. The extra sunshine can help provide a natural boost of energy, unfortunately many of us can’t reap the benefits of hours of vitamin D while working at a desk all day long. Early morning meetings run into working lunches moving us straight into afternoon hours where we need to be productive. How do we fight off the sleepy 3:00 PM hour, especially when we aren’t able to get a good night of sleep?

Rather than reaching for that extra cup of joe, which can make falling asleep in the evening harder, opt for a natural boost of energy. Check out below 7 quick tips to give your mind and body a surge of energy that will propel you through the end of your workday and clear into the evening hours.

1.    Take a moment to laugh

You read that correctly. Laugh. Laughing produces many incredible benefits, such as increasing your mood and decreasing stress. Fortunately, the benefits it doesn’t stop there! Laughing also works as a natural energy shot! Stress and anxiety are energy zapping emotions. When we laugh, we flood our bloodstreams with oxygen and help flip any negatives emotions to more positive and energizing emotions. Laughing also fights burnout by giving you back your energy!

Take a short break from your work to laugh. Watch a few clips on YouTube (work appropriate) or read a joke of the day. If you can, involve a co-worker! Studies show that we laugh more when we’re laughing with others.

2.    Break out the aromatherapy

Essential oils anyone? The aromatic molecular compounds in essential oils can pass through the blood/brain barrier, directly affecting the areas in your brain that control feelings of stress, anxiety, and mental fatigue. Benefits of aromatherapy:

  • increase productivity and positive mindset,
  • help refocus and increase concentration, and
  • alleviate fatigue and stress responses.

When you are struggling with low energy, simply apply essential oils topically or inhale gently to re-energize your mind and body. Specifically, look for scents including orange, peppermint, and lemon to boost your energy. Once you locate your favorite sent, twist off the cap and take a few moments to close your eyes and breathe in that sweet scent. You can also use a spray to spritz your desk. Of course, check with your officemates before you share your bouquet with the rest of the office.

3.    Listen to uplifting music

Have you ever turned on a song only to be immediately driven to a moment years ago? The gift of a happy melody has the ability to transform any moment from stress to joy. In fact, studies have found that short bursts of music increase the blood flow to the left hemisphere of the brain, giving you a burst of energy.

Take time to search for, or build your own, playlist of songs that uplifts your mood. Then, when you start to feel yourself slouching back in your chair, put your headphones in, turn up that song – and jam!  

4.    Sit up straight

It seems only natural that when your energy starts to wane you sink back into your chair as if you can slowly make your way to a horizontal rest. We have a tendency to sit or stand with our shoulders, neck, and head is shifted slightly forward. This affects your arteries that carry blood to your brain. When your arteries are bent out of shape, you restrict the blood flow to the brain, which, in turn, causes fatigue.

In order to decrease the energy wasted through blood flow constriction, simply sit up straight. Lengthen the crown of your head to the ceiling, invite a little arch to your low back, then roll your shoulder to sit over your hips and bring your chin parallel to the floor. Give it a try right now.

Feeling better already? Maybe even add a smile to your face.

5.    Breathe deeply

Just saying breathe deeply helps bring awareness to your unconscious breathing patterns. Shallow breathing prevents your body from getting the necessary oxygen it needs to function properly. Are you noticing a theme here? Research shows that when you mindfully control your breathing, you can increase your brain size in the areas associated with attention and processing of sensory input. Strengthen your mind by exercising your breath.

Let’s do this one together. Take a deep breath in [pause] and then exhale all your breath out. For best results, repeat this exercise for 4 or 5 rounds before moving back into your task at hand.

6.    Chew a piece of gum

Sugar free of course! Chewing gum increases your heart rate, which in turn stimulates your blood flow to your brain. Researchers from Cardiff University in Wales found “[chewing gum] stimulates the autonomic nervous system, which can increase alertness.”

Want an extra kick? Pick a mint-flavored pack to stimulate your nerve fibers. Mint helps to invigorate your taste buds, which can  produce an effect that is similar to splashing cold water on your face.

7.    Massage your ears.

This one’s a little silly, but trust us. When you’re dragging during the day, and looking for energy boosting ideas, you’ll be all ears! All of your body’s acupressure meridians, i.e., your energy pathways, pass through your outer ears. By massaging the outer ear, you can unite the meridians and move energy through your entire body.

Apply pressure to the outer rim by simply pinching the rim of each ear between your thumbs and pointer fingers. Then, rub up and down for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat again as needed.

So, the next time you feel yourself start to drag resist the urge to hit brew on your fancy coffee machine. After all, caffeine loses its power as you build up a tolerance within your system. Instead, opt for a natural energy supplement to pump more oxygen through your body and carry you through the long summer days. Laugh often, enjoy invigorating essential oils, turn up the music, sit up straight, breathe deeply, pop in a piece of gum, and last, but not least, massage your ears and enjoy your new found energy!


How to Prevent Neck Pain at Work

How to Prevent Neck Pain at Work

Do you ever think about the fact that your neck holds the weight of a bowling ball (8-10 lbs.) all day long at work?  So it may not be a surprise to you as to why you might find yourself with sore or tight neck muscles at the end of the workday. Those symptoms might be related to the stress placed on your neck and spine through common, everyday work-related activities, such as working at a desk. To help you stay safe and productive at work, here are 7 quick tips for preventing neck pain in the office.

5 Quick Tips to Avoid Unhealthy Snacking at Work

5 Quick Tips to Avoid Unhealthy Snacking at Work

Do you find yourself sabotaging your desire to eat healthy at work?

Let’s be honest, it's easy to indulge when break rooms are notorious for providing sugary, salty snacks, birthday cakes, pizza parties, and treats sent from clients. Even the anti-snackers can find themselves susceptible to office snacking temptations.

When we consume too many carbohydrates or minimal healthy fats and proteins, our blood sugar levels spike and crash quickly. When this happens, your body starts to crave the fastest fuel it can consume - refined grains and simple sugars - resulting in unhealthy snacking habits.

So how do you avoid the never-ending flow of unhealthy snacks and make healthier choices to maintain high energy levels through your day? Click below to find out.

How To Declutter Your Desk Like Monica Geller

How To Declutter Your Desk Like Monica Geller

Do you ever find yourself playing defense at work? A memo thrown at you here. A proposal tossed over there. A report on this corner. A sticky-note on that corner. It seems that no matter how hard you try to defend your desk, more and more information finds a way to land on whatever clear spots are available.

“There’s only so much space,” you plead, but unfortunately, that doesn’t stop the onslaught. Eventually, you grow weary from the defense and temporarily let down your guard. It’s at that moment when the clutter pile seed gets planted and begins to grow.

Clutter can be everywhere you look, but when clutter comes to your work desk, however, the piles of folders, projects and office swag can do more than create an eyesore for your office’s resident Monica. The clutter can also impact the way you work and how you think.   Fortunately, clutter can be controlled, and when it is, you’ll get to enjoy the amazing benefits of having a completely decluttered desk I’m going to share with you. As a bonus, I’ll also share 6 easy steps for decluttering your desk.

How to Make a Delicious Salad for Your Office Lunch in 6 Steps

How to Make a Delicious Salad for Your Office Lunch in 6 Steps

Contrary to popular belief, salads can be delicious without bacon bits, cheese and ranch dressing. As crazy as this may sound, there are other ingredients out there that can be just as, if not more, tasty. So, if those three ingredients aren't invited to the party, what else could possibly make lettuce palatable? Well fret not, my friend, I'm going to share with you my secret process for building unbelievably delicious salads and give you some hints on extra tasty ingredients that’ll make you forget about bacon.

3 Quick Tips for Keeping Your Wrists Healthy at Work

3 Quick Tips for Keeping Your Wrists Healthy at Work

There's no surprise that computers are here to stay.

Not only do many us live on computers throughout the work day, but even when we're home, we find it difficult to get off our devices.  While keyboarding and mousing may not be considered a strenuous activity, when done improperly, they can cause damage to the wrists over time, resulting in painful and sometimes permanent damage.