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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The holidays are a time of family, friends, fun, laughter, and... stress, am I right? While we're busy shopping, eating homemade cookies and rushing around to all the parties, we can deplete ourselves physically and mentally. Here are 5 ways to focus your energy and enjoy yourself through the holiday season.