With the often hectic pace of life and the amount of time many of us spend working, it’s natural that we crave less stress and more peace when in work mode! While often work + health are not thought to be synonymous, by making a few simple tweaks to your workspace, you can create a healing, rejuvenating refuge to create more balance! The following tips can help to calm your nerves, improve your concentration, boost your energy, and increase your happiness—all sans a pricey trip to a luxe health resort in an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff type burnout scenario!
Play Music with a Chilled-Out Vibe
Listening to music with a calm tempo can help ease nervous tension and create a pleasant, chilled-out vibe in the office or at your home desk (a.k.a.dining room table for many of us these days!) If you feel your blood pressure creeping up as the emails come streaming in, perhaps try tuning into some Mozart or Bach, as research suggests that specifically listening to classical music can help to mitigate the stress response. Plan some Spotify playlists for different work situations to ensure you are geared up with the right music to suit your workday agenda, goals, and mood. Maybe leave Metallica or the like until the drive home, as faster, more intense beats can increase your heart rate, which may negate the lowering-stress goals!
Bring in an Element of Water
It’s kind of hard to be stressed when you’re near the beach or a lapping lake, right? Well, we may not be able to bring the beach to the office or your doorstep, but we can bring in a little of that relaxing vibe that being waterside induces. Water is extremely meditative and calming. Maybe throw in a suggestion to the HR department of your company and ask them to consider a water feature or fun fish tank somewhere in the office space, or keep it simple and just add a little H20 love around your own desk. Tabletop fountains are even available for a reasonable price from good ol’ Bunnings! If you like to keep your desk clear, channel those water vibes aurally. You can actually download whole music playlists dedicated to the gentle sounds of water. Waves, waterfalls, raindrops… Bliss! Even a framed picture or screensaver of you and your loved ones on a favourite laid-back beach holiday could do the trick…and motivate you to keep working hard towards that next break!
Welcome Fresh Air
Opening office windows can energise your environment while also reducing the number of toxins floating about. Where possible, opening office/house windows for just 10 minutes every day can significantly reduce the number of toxins in the space and leave everyone feeling refreshed in the process.
Detoxify with Plants
A comprehensive NASA study found that specific common indoor plants can greatly reduce the amount of toxins in the air. Plants that are especially clever at cleaning and absorbing toxins in the air are; Peace Lily, Gerbera Daisy Areca Palms, Boston Fern, Spider Plants, Chrysanthemums and Philodendron.
Have Healthy Snacks on Hand
Is anyone else guilty of reaching for snacks when work inspiration or motivation gets a little low? Surely that additional cuppa or biscuit is going to help provide the answers or energy needed to get the job done, right? First off, tuning into when we are emotionally hungry (ie. stressed or procrastinating!) versus physically hungry is important. If you are peckish or feeling flat and need a little boost, having healthy snacks on hand is crucial to make sure you fuel yourself with brain-enhancing, sustained-energy-giving goodness. Some grab-and-go ideas include; bliss balls, tamari almonds, fruit, a couple of pieces of dark chocolate, and roasted cashews. Some quick-to-prepare options include; rice crackers and hummus, boiled egg with sea salt, miso soup, chopped apple with almond butter spread on top, and Greek yoghurt with chia seeds sprinkled on top or these protein-rich chocolate chunk cookies (link to https://www.familyhealthdiary.co.nz/chewy-gluten-dairy-free-chocolate-chunk-cookies/)
Learn a Few Yoga Desk Stretches
While working in an ergonomically correct position is something most of us are aware is important for our overall posture and health, in the thick of concentration, we aren’t always aware we have stooped over or have awkwardly perched on the edge of the seat, perhaps with one foot up in an odd way on the chair as we hunch towards the screen. Oops! A few simple yoga stretches at our desk can remind us of the importance of good posture whilst also giving us space to remember to tune into our breath and stay calm. All will be OK, the deadline will get done with the right mindset… just take some time to focus on the breath, stretch out those stressed shoulders, and get back to work with a newfound energy and realigned posture. Perhaps set a reminder every few hours on your phone to dedicate 3 – 5 minutes to stretching, or if you’re working from home, get the yoga mat out and do some downwards dogs or whatever feels intuitively right for your body on any given day. Maybe it is just some neck and shoulder shrugs and rolls. You can find a lot of free, quick “Office Yoga” “Desk Stretches” or “5-Minute Break” yoga sessions on YouTube.
Surrender yourself to the little healing haven that you can create in your own office or workspace. It’s well worth it for productivity and work sanity and serenity. Om Shanti. Namaste.