Summer’s here and the livin’ is easy. Right? Oh, you still have to go to work and make it through the day? Do you push through with that 3rd, 4th, 5th or (like my old boss) 10th cup of coffee? Perhaps there’s a better (and healthier) way to make it through your work day with energy left for a dip in the lake at quittin’ time. Below are four new ideas (and one old one) you can try starting tomorrow.
On the rebound
Jumping up and down, or ‘rebounding’ as the experts call it, apparently offers immense benefits such as increased mental clarity and endorphin levels, improved posture, and activating the body’s lymphatic system in order to remove toxins. I can remember one of my doctor’s mentioning that he rebounds every day for about 10 minutes which he claims increases longevity. It’s even quoted by NASA as ‘the most efficient and effective exercise yet devised by man.’
Too bold of claims? Have you tried it? Here’s an idea: Grab a mini trampoline for your office (about $40 for a basic model) or keep one in a common area where anyone at work can use it. You could gain some energy but most definitely more friends.
Hit the pavement
We’ve all been told to get outside at least a couple times during the workday for some fresh air, so be efficient about it and combine it with your calendar. If your day is full of meetings, find one that doesn’t require you to be in front of your computer, and take it on the road. Walking meetings are all the rage now, combining the health benefits of exercise with an increase of clarity and a decrease of interruptions and multi-tasking. These can add up to huge gains in energy and productivity and you may even improve relationships with your coworkers.
Take it further and make it fun by purchasing a Fitbit activity tracker. Set a goal each day (recommendation is 10,000 steps for cardiovascular health) and meet it by combining exercise and meetings. See if you don’t feel awesome in a few weeks!
Ditch the chair
Consider getting rid of that fancy ergonomic office chair and stand up instead! Standing desks are becoming increasingly popular and for good reason. Sitting for long periods of time isn’t good for your back.
According to one website I researched, ‘sitting – even with good posture – puts more pressure on your back than standing. Sitting for long periods of time can also decrease blood flow to the muscles that are trying to hold us upright. Without good blood flow, our muscles can get tired. Having tired muscles makes us more likely to slouch or sit with poor posture. This poor posture further decreases blood flow, making muscles even more tired and increasing the strain on our back.’
Phew! If you can’t procure a standing desk in the near future, look for a surface that’s elbow height. Try it for a portion of your day and see if you don’t notice an increase in your energy and productivity.
Clear the air
Did you know that air quality can have a direct impact on your energy and productivity? Consider the amount of toxins in your office such as the formaldehyde in particle board, paper, and carpets, benzene in glue and paint, and trichloroethylene in paint stripper and spot remover. So what can be done? Try bringing some houseplants!
Several studies show that plants in the workplace go beyond aesthetics, adding oxygen to the air and removing numerous toxins. Plants also help boost indoor humidity slightly, which is beneficial in dry, climate-controlled buildings. Some interesting studies have been done in other parts of the world where the simple act of adding houseplants improved concentration and reduced fatigue.
Try adding a couple houseplants to your desk this week. Sometimes the smallest changes can reap the biggest benefits.
Have another…and another
I used to work with a man who kept a gallon of water on his desk each day, and I thought he was crazy. Now, I’m pretty sure he was onto something. It’s nothing new to say that you need to drink more water, but I doubt that you are. If you aren’t, you’re cheating your body out of precious energy. In fact, slight dehydration between 3 to 5% can cause energy to drop more than 25%.
So if you’re feeling a little sleepy, headachy, or even hungry, try drinking water first. And then drink some more. Do what that crazy guy did and keep a gallon jug of water on your desk along with a glass. See if you can finish it before you leave. Once your body gets used to your new intake, trips to the bathroom will decrease but watch your energy soar.
I wish you a fabulous summer full of productivity and energy. I, for one, just added a mini-trampoline and houseplants to my shopping list.