Learn how to battle more than just those winter blues.
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We’ve all heard that sitting at a desk all day takes a toll on both the body and the brain. Long hours of stationary screen time can affect our eyes, shoulders, back—even our hips. Lack of energy impacts our mental health, leading to decreased productivity, creativity, and motivation.
So, how do you take care of yourself and keep killing it at work? Whether you’re remote or in the office from 9 to 5, these healthy hustle habits can help you avoid burnout, lower stress, and boost your work mood every day.
Work wellness begins before you pour that first cup of coffee. Resist the urge to check your phone while still in bed. Reading emails and notifications first thing in the morning puts you on autopilot, and creates the perceived pressure of needing to respond right away. Instead, turn on a ten-minute guided meditation or stretch to wake up slowly.
I’ve noticed that on days when I treat my morning routine as “me time”—reading a book over breakfast and listening to a podcast during my commute—I feel calmer and more prepared when I arrive at the office. Since I can’t actually make progress on important tasks until I get to my computer, flagging emails on my phone duplicates my workload and adds unnecessary stress.
Take a page from The Little Book of Hygge. While typically associated with being cozy at home, happiness expert Meik Weiking argues that the Danish concept of hygge is just as relevant for your office or cubicle. Try decorating your space with a candle, a few potted plants, postcards, an art print you’re obsessed with, or even a mini aromatherapy diffuser. Too much clutter or disorganization can be distracting though, so keep it simple with just a few favorite things.
Fostering relationships with coworkers is the most important element to enjoying your workspace (and the work you do). Organize a monthly potluck lunch, book club, a windowsill garden, or other activity that promotes sharing and collaboration.
Keep healthy snacks in your desk or fridge to fight fatigue and *hangry* moments. When cravings strike, but you’re short on time, you’ll be more likely to reach for something you already have rather than hit the vending machine or the fast food place around the corner. I like to use my Monday lunch break to go to the grocery store near the office and bring back apples, bananas, a jar of peanut or almond butter, yogurt, oatmeal, KIND bars, dried fruit and nuts, cut veggies, and hummus. Little snacks keep my blood sugar stable during the day, which allows me to think clearly, prioritize tasks better and make level-headed decisions.
Equally important is staying hydrated throughout the day. Keep a large mason jar or a water bottle on your desk and refill it frequently. For extra motivation, try a smart bottle that lights up to remind you to drink, or an infuser bottle to create your own flavored water.
An adjustable standing desk is worth the investment (and some companies may cover the cost!) so that you can alternate between sitting and standing.
Pro tip: a thick foam floor pad makes standing easier on your feet, knees, and hips.
If a standing desk isn’t an option for you, mimic the variety by standing up and taking a short walk every 15-20 minutes, even just around the office. If your coworkers are game, schedule walking meetings instead of sitting in a conference room.
If your workspace has other seating, such as couches, chairs, or conference tables, take your laptop or notebook and sit somewhere else for half an hour for a change of scenery. Sitting on an exercise ball can also help with posture and balance, and keeps you engaged and energized.
Working on a laptop with a touchpad or with a small mouse causes me to experience pain in my fingers, palm, wrist, and lower arm. To combat the constant scrolling, an ergonomic mouse creates a more stable, neutral position for your hand.
Minimize eye strain by looking away from the screen often—look out the window or into the middle distance for a few minutes to combat staring up-close at your monitor.
Want to clear the brain fog and re-energize your mind? Get some much-needed fresh air. Be sure to get outside at least once a day, but preferably more. Don’t just go pick up a takeout lunch and come back. Walk around the block, eat on a park bench if it’s nice out, take the long way back to the office. Take deep breaths. Look at trees or flowers or water. Even in cold or rainy weather, a few minutes outdoors can make a big difference in your mindset when you sit back down.
When your energy lags, get your blood flowing with jumping jacks, lunges, or even sprints. Ease tension on your neck, shoulders, back, and hips—after work, try doing stretches or a yoga sequence that targets these areas. Poses with twists and backbends, gentle shoulder stands, upward dog, happy baby, and forward folds can help release tense muscles.
If you have the option to commute by foot or by bike, do this as often as you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the far end of the parking lot. Get off a subway stop early to lengthen your walk.
Whether it’s a Monday morning or Thursday lunch break, try adding some of these wellness tips into your daily routine for a much-needed energy boost while working!
That’s something I never expected to hear. Think about it: we join gyms and studios because of their equipment, instructors, space, community (and AC, of course). But who’s to say we can’t get all that—or at least most of it—with virtual and online classes, too? In this new wave of wellness, we’re all switching up our fitness routines as we switch up our everyday schedules and habits. It’s not just in-studio or at-home anymore. It’s in-studio, at-home, at the park, beach, parking lot, rooftop...virtual, hybrid, Instagram Live, online, on-demand, and so much more. As we’re adapting, adjusting, finding our groove, etc., online gym memberships enter the fray. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
There are tons of benefits to an online gym membership, especially right now.
Let’s break this down:
1. Scheduling convenience
A virtual/online gym fitness membership is a monthly subscription that gives you access to tons of live stream fitness classes you can take anywhere, from studios across the globe. These fitness studios offer tons of at-home workouts, group exercise, and one-on-one training sessions to choose from, no matter your exercise program or fitness level. With so many options, it’s easy to find one that fits your schedule. Whether you want to fit in a morning flow before work, combat that afternoon slump with some cardio, squeeze in some strength training before dinner, or wind down with an evening barre class, you can pick and choose classes to fit your fitness routine.
2. Minimizing exposure to COVID-19
And because they’re online, you can take these classes from the comfort of your home (or wherever you are), thus minimizing your exposure to COVID-19 and eliminating your commute to the gym or studio. By now, many of us have our designated “workout spot,” whether it’s an actual weight room, a quick scooch of the coffee table, or a grassy area in the backyard. Maybe you’re comfortable here... maybe you’ve even learned to love it.
With an online gym membership, you can stay in your safe space/comfy workout spot. Or, you can go somewhere new (local park, beach spot, a different area of the house, you know). You can access these virtual, live stream fitness classes from any device, so you can prop up your phone, laptop, or tablet wherever you want to go, or roll out your mat in front of the big screen TV in your living room.
We all have our favorite, go-to workouts. But sometimes, it feels good to switch it up (especially right now). Working from home all day, many of us are craving some variety and excitement, and an online gym membership can definitely help with that. According to our recent poll about COVID’s effect on our fitness routines, 64% of you have tried new online workouts since the start of the pandemic—I know I have. Maybe it’s because trying new things is easier in the comfort of our homes, maybe we’re finally able to try some classes we normally can’t find locally, or maybe we’re all just bored out of our minds...I don’t know. But I’m excited about it.
With an online gym membership, you can get that spice you’re looking for easily. Start out your Monday by hitting some HIIT, ease your sore muscles with some Restorative Yoga, and end the week with some dance cardio to pretend you’re at the club. The world is yours.
4. Working out without a commute
My favorite part? No commute. There are literally no more excuses when it comes to skipping workouts. No traffic, no schedule conflicts, no fear of returning to the studio. You don’t even have to worry about packing a gym bag with a change of clothes and shower supplies or prepping a snack or protein shake to bring to work. Just shut your computer, throw on some leggings, and get to work.
Community—the element of online fitness memberships we don’t often think of. When we go into studios, we understand the beauty of a fitness community. We’re greeted by our instructors, we chat with others in the class, and we all sweat together and encourage each other throughout. But working out at home is different... or is it?
We can do workouts on our own at home all we want, but we’re definitely going to miss out on the community aspect we all know and love. But, with live stream classes, we can create a different kind of community. The beauty of it? It’s not just your neighbors anymore. Anyone with an online fitness membership can join these classes, regardless of where they’re located in relation to the studio, so you can be working out alongside people from all over the world—now that’s something I can get behind.