If you are like 86% of the American workforce, you have a sedentary desk job that involves you sitting for a several hours a day. Add your long commute, bad eating habits and stressful all-nighters to the mix, and you could be an easy target for chronic diseases.
There are three millennia of evidence from Ancient India and the Western civilizations that highlight the detrimental effects of physical inactivity. The Ayurvedic texts written by Susruta from 600 BC state that inactivity can lead to accumulation of bad energy in the body that can result in diseases. A quote from Hippocrates rings true - “If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health”. Bringing together the wealth of knowledge from the past with scientific knowledge of the present can help us make informed decisions about our health.
Being mindful of your body and mind during a hectic work day should be made a priority. If your workplace doesn’t offer you benefits like an in-house fitness center and healthy food options, don’t give up hope. There are several ways to incorporate wellness and self-care to your work life.
In 2016, the Former US Surgeon General began promoting the simple idea of “Stepping It Up”. Along with the former American First Lady’s “Keep it Moving” initiative, there has been a growing awareness about movement in our daily lives.
An easy hack to keep yourself active during work could be a casual reminder to walk for 2-5 minutes every hour. Reminders on your phone or even your Fitbit can keep you stepping consistently. This can help you feel less sluggish during the day and get you out of your desk slouch, which can do wonders for your productivity.
The human body was not designed to sit for hours at an end, especially in front of a computer. Bad posture can have several negative effects on your body and mind. Overtime, it can lead to depression, pain, digestive issues and severe headaches. Catching yourself slouch and correcting your posture frequency, as well as adding yoga to your fitness routine can help keep these in check.
Hydration has the scientifically proven benefit of increasing your cognitive function, improving digestion, helping with migraines and headaches, keeping your skin looking moisturized, as well as keeping some chronic diseases at bay.
Use the opportunity to drink water every hour to catch up on your steps or use a large bottle and ensure it gets done by the end of your work day.
The right kind of meal in the middle of your work day is essential to keep up productivity levels. Trying to prepare your work-week lunches in advance can help ensure you’re not eating out every day of the week. If you’re unsure of what to make, there are multiple resources available to you in the form of cooking blogs and videos for quick and easy meals on the go. The same goes for your 4 pm snack.
Apart from eating healthy, it is proven that eating mindfully or paying attention while you eat can help prevent obesity and stress. As you continue to practice mindful eating, your brain gets wired to better interpret signals that it receives from the body. It helps us cultivate healthier eating habits especially when you begin paying attention to where your food is coming from and how your body feels after you consume it.
Concentrating on your breath helps you stay present. Taking a minute or two each hour of the day to focus on your breath, or starting your day with 15 minutes of pranayama can be beneficial in dealing with the stresses of a job. Focusing on your breath regularly can help stabilize your blood pressure, relax your muscles and decrease feelings of anxiety-all of which can help you have a stress-free and productive work day!
In conclusion, following a wellness routine helps wire your brain to stay connected to your body and respond to changes in a more effective and timely manner. It is rightly said that you cannot pour from an empty cup, so take the time to care for yourself first!