How to Incorporate Wellness into Your Workweek Schedule
February 13, 2018
The modern workplace can be tough. If you're like many employees, a normal 9-to-5 includes back-to-back meetings, constant deadlines and rushed working lunches at your desk. Over time, this burden can cause problems ranging from fatigue to burnout. When you're feeling exhausted or overwhelmed, that's a sign it's time to step up your self-care. By adding mental breaks and bursts of healthy activity to your workweek, you can increase concentration and start each task feeling clear-headed and in control.
Fuel Productivity with the Best Snacks for Work
Many offices have vending machines that offer convenient snacks for employees. This usually means your options are limited to salty chips and calorie-laden candy bars, neither of which provide much nutrition or lasting energy to get you through the day. If you find yourself feeling foggy and exhausted mid-morning or mid-afternoon, healthy snacks can be a good solution. Ideal snacks for work include a blend of carbs and protein to keep you satiated. You can pair a complex carbohydrate, such as whole-grain crackers, with a protein source, such as cheese slices or deli meats. Other alternatives can include yogurt and a piece of fruit, peanut butter on whole-grain toast or a bowl of breakfast cereal with fruit.
Take Regular Breaks for Mental and Physical Well-Being
When deadlines loom, it's all too easy to stay hunkered down at your desk. Prolonged sitting can lead to a variety of physical issues, these can include tight hips to an increased risk of herniated lumbar disks. What's more, trying to focus on too many projects at once can leave you feeling overwhelmed, foggy and struggling to concentrate.
Do your mind and body a favor by taking regular breaks. You can get up from your desk and walk around the office to loosen up your legs and lower back. Consider clasping your hands behind your back, and push them away from your body to stretch out your chest after hours of hunching over a computer. As you move, you can resist the temptation to look at your phone; instead, try to rest your brain, and give your eyes a break.
If you often forget to take a break from work, try the Pomodoro Technique: Choose something to work on, and set a timer for 25 minutes. When the timer rings, take a five-minute break before moving to the next task. After you complete four 25-minute sessions, take a longer break of 15 to 20 minutes. If you're trying to figure out a concentration strategy that helps increase focus, this technique is effective. By focusing on a single task for a short time, you can avoid inefficient multi-tasking that saps your mental energy. Since the timer reminds you to stop working and move, your body ends up feeling fresher.
Reduce Stress with Quick Exercises
Workplace stress can be cumulative. Fortunately, you can take action to release stress before it leads to burnout by engaging in physical activity. Even if you can't squeeze in a lunchtime run and a shower, you can try adding small bursts of exercise throughout your day.
You can start by purchasing compact exercise equipment that slips under your desk or in a corner. Some options are power stands, free weights and exercise balls. Each time you're ready for a break, you can perform a single set of an exercise. Consider 15 bicep curls on each arm, 25 sit-ups on a stability ball or use power stands to do 10 push-ups. If you're looking to boost mindfulness, consider investing in a yoga mat, and spend three minutes doing a sun salutation.
Although these tiny workouts don't seem like much in the moment, they can add up to serious results over time. Plus, short sets may not make you sweaty; just try to keep a water bottle on hand to stay hydrated.
For professionals who want a long, happy career, wellness must be a top priority. If you struggle to find the time to build healthy habits, consider adding exercise and mental breaks into your calendar. A comprehensive, targeted work schedule holds you accountable to your new lifestyle. As an extra benefit, keeping a detailed calendar can help you stay organized at work, lowering stress for even more workplace balance.
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and are based on scientific and technical research noted above. The information does not constitute a medical consultation and cannot replace medical advice. Any information should never be used as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other health care provider. Before you start working out, you should get a medical checkup or otherwise be fit for this type of activity. It is important that you warm up and stretch before each workout, and that you use common sense while exercising: do not go over the top when exercising! If you experience any pain, feel weak, dizzy or exhausted or become short of breath, immediately stop your workout.
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