Apparently, we now sit at a desk for about 7.7 hours a day – depressing right?
It's downright impossible sometimes though to squeeze in a stretch or walk around the block when you're faced against looming deadlines and overbearing bosses. However, medical associations keep encouraging us to move around more in the workspace, like the British Medical Association who publish studies to help promote this idea time and time over (1). Still, the epidemic os sitting still and confined rises.
For those who find themselves chained to their desk, completely stressed out and snacking wildly, there are a few practical things you can do help perk you up, feel better and have more energy that don't require 30 cups of coffee.
How to reduce stress and feel energised at work
1. Hydrate... with water
Have you had tons of caffeine today and are still yawning? In general, staying seated for a long time, especially in a warm environment like an office, can naturally leave you feeling tired and demotivated. An easy way to combat this is by hydrating your body – so reach for a full bottle in the morning and sip away to help beat exhaustion during the day.
2. Stare out the window for a few minutes every hour
Another technique that works for resetting yourself is to rest your eyes for a few minutes every hour. Stare out the window and look around – this changes your vision from short to long focus and gives your eyes time to recover the moisturizing film that dries out when staring at a computer screen. It gives you a little stretch, walk and break from your brain too!
3. Bring your own snacks
Ah, the 4pm slump – when your brain promptly chooses to indulge in the sugary store-bought cake bought for your colleague's birthday. Refined sugar really does play with our bodies though – it raises your energy levels a little, then BOOM! They come crashing down and can feel like you need to be airlifted home.
To help you understand and avoid your unhealthy sugar cravings, question whether you are actually hungry or are you just bored or thirsty. It's important to give your stomach and spleen time to digest your last meal before adding more food to your system, so overwhelming it with sugar isn't going to make you feel that great.
If you are genuinely hungry, snack on more natural sources of energy like nuts, berries or fruit. Seaweed thins are also great for keeping your iodine levels up, which helps your thyroid regulate metabolism.
When all else fails, try this simple breathing exercise to boost energy levels
Using a quick mindfulness exercise to ground you can do wonders for the brain and energy levels. It can refresh your mind while bringing in more oxygen to the system so you feel more awake and alive. A simple step by step breathing exercise you can do at work in under 3 minutes goes as follows (*and you can sneak into the bathroom if you don't have a spare area):
• Put your feet on the floor, sit comfortably, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths
• Then, sit still for a few moments
• Once you are focused on your breathing, count 10 breaths on the 'in' and 'out' sensation of your abdomen
• After this, take your attention to the sounds around you – being aware of them with no judgment
• Sit for a few breath counts like this
• Slowly bring your awareness back to your breath and body and open your eyes.
Use these tips and tricks to combat fatigue in the office, beat stress and fend off sugar cravings to make a healthier and happier you!