Simple things you can do in the workplace right now, to improve your wellbeing:
1) Move Your Desk
A 2014 study compared American office workers who had access to natural light with those who had no windows visible from their workspaces. Spending your time near a window tends to lead to more sleep and better quality sleep.
“There is increasing evidence that exposure to light, during the day — particularly in the morning — is beneficial to your health via its effects on mood, alertness and metabolism.”
Better sleep also means you’ll be in a better mood, which will affect choices around lifestyle and food.
2) Take a Stretch Break
Long-term sedentary behaviour has been linked with a shorter life-span and a wide range of physical and mental illnesses in studies performed all around the globe that relied on survey data. Recently it was also shown that pedometer scores are associated with longevity in a large-scale study.
It’s not just physical health problems, either. Too much sitting might even be damaging your brain.
Adding more exercise into your day can be as simple as standing up and walking around for 30 seconds, every 30 minutes. We suggest also scheduling some breathing exercises.
3) Set a Reasonable Schedule
Creating an 8-hour to-do list and pushing yourself to finish it can mean that the slightest little hiccup will ruin your plans for the day. Feeling overwhelmed is not conducive to making a sustainable effort, but unfortunately it is a daily reality for many of us. Time for stretch breaks and lunch also need to be considered.
Since things can always get messy, prioritise the urgent items in your list. When new tasks arrive while you’re already busy, consider whether it’s possible to say no. We often take on responsibilities out of a fear of not pleasing others, and it’s not always necessary.
If it is necessary to take on the new work, it’s important to speak with your manager or colleagues about your workload, as you can only physically do one thing at one time. Talking about it can really help minimise acute stress, if you explain your feelings and seek to clarify which of your jobs you should be doing first.
4) Take a Walk in the Park at Lunch
Recently, tech company Dropbox gave the media a look inside their Sydney office, which includes plenty of indoor plants.
This approach to office design is backed by research that shows that trees and greenery improve our concentration, focus and overall mood. In one study, children surrounded by a green space displayed better memory.
And that’s just one half of the equation. Walking puts your brain in a meditation-like state, and exercise also stimulates hormones that relieve stress, which is why walking is a great treatment for depression.
Don’t eat lunch at your desk – rather take a quick walk to a nearby park or any nice, relaxing place.
5) See Life from a New Perspective
Positive psychology has been proven to be a factor in recovering from illness or injury, due to the inherent interconnectedness of mental and physical health. Nowhere has this been better studied than with the placebo effect, where people in clinical trials have consistently shown amazing improvements when a reputable doctor explained that a new, high-tech treatment was available and then gave them sugar pills. This effect of mentality on physiology might even impact your level of fitness.
Our perceptions are partially determined by our preconceptions, so if your working life is getting you down, remember that you do have a modicum of control over what judgments you put into your mind, which may be influencing the automatic thoughts you’re getting back out of it.
“Instead of seeing busyness and potential stress as a negative, I resolved to see it as enhancing, invigorating and essential towards drive and performance. So from now on, as we hit the middle of the year, I’m focusing on my mindset and accepting that, yes, I can be busy and still move towards my goals.”
HSG exists to bring greater wellbeing to the office. If your organisation is looking for an infusion of health, host a HSG Health Expo at your workplace. The Expo can be customised to reflect your wellness goals and feature the services that fit best with your schedule and venue, including workshops, one-to-one consultations, classes and stalls. Give us a call on 1300 889 073 to learn more.