When you're at work and answering to others, often it's hard to find the time to go to the bathroom let alone care for your overall wellness. We are so focused on getting things done that there is not much opportunity to be present in the moment. Given that people in the U.S. spend, on average, 30 percent of their lives working, it's imperative that you find a few minutes a day to focus on your own well being, mind and body. Studies show, the happier you are, the more productive you are.
Here are four basic steps to incorporate into your day to make sure you are putting yourself first even at work.
1. Breathe Deeper
It sounds so simple, right? Everyone knows how to breathe. You're doing it right now so you're clearly pretty good at it. But, the real benefits come when you stop to focus solely on your breath or a simple mantra and everything else starts to melt away. Setting aside time for meditation every day is one of the most effective ways of calming your mind and increasing your effectiveness. Meditation helps to center your thoughts and focus your energy. Some great apps to help bring meditation seamlessly into your life are Buddhify, Mindfulness App, and Take A Break. Tune out and turn in.
2. Channel That Om
For many people, trying to fit a 90-minute yoga class into an already busy schedule is likely to create more stress than it relieves. Working the healing practice around your daily life even on an abridged basis will still provide the energizing and tension releasing effects. Yoga's meditations, postures and breathing techniques can be transformative for even the most inflexible bodies (or minds). Perhaps you can convince your office to subsidize a weekly lunch-hour class, or squeeze in a shortened class at home before or after work. And, if you can't seem to find the time outside of the office, then find your inner yogi in the office.
3. Move Your Body
Of all things, who would have suspected it would be your desk chair that would kill you? She is a tempting vice, but now you know that sitting for more than 8 hours a day can take years off your life. Unless you are one of the select few that can pull off a standing desk, you are likely to be stuck in that chair for a good part of your day. But, you still can rage against the sedentary demands of office work by actively making an effort to stand every half hour or so. It's that easy. Whether you force yourself to always take the stairs, go for a brisk walk every two hours, or practice another one of these deskercises, get yourself moving every day at work.
4. Eat Healthy
It's three o'clock and you're staring down the face of a long to do list before you can head out for the night. Instinctively, you grab a coffee or something sweet to reward yourself for this next push. Except that coffee is going to ruin the chance of a great night's sleep and the sugar rush will be gone in twenty minutes. Do your body and your mind a favor and drink water first. Then, eat nuts, trail mix, or, office mates be damned, some sardines or tuna straight from the can. Think healthy grains, protein, and good fats to carry you through the slump. Keep your brain happy with positive eating habits focusing on the 10 most important nutrients.
Making these small changes will have a huge impact over time on your health and mindset, in and out of the office.
Elana Konstant, author of this article for GoGirl Finance, is a career coach and consultant focusing on professional women in career transition. You can find out more on her website, Konstantchangecoaching.com.