If you are experiencing more aches and pains lately, you are not alone. If your energy tank is at zero at the end of your day, you feel more irritable or you find yourself having intense debates with your pet over recent current events, you are not alone. Increased COVID-related stress paired with working from home may be taking a physical toll on your body and wreaking havoc on your emotions. Your once balanced daily routine may have suddenly turned sedentary since most of the world has gone online, eliminating simple walks down the hall to your co-worker’s office or daily walks to and from the parking lot.
In addition to working from home, you may also be adding “screen time” in the evenings and weekends in an attempt to maintain extended family time and friendships through virtual gatherings. All of this can add up to “Zoom gloom”, “tech neck” and a permanent indentation on your dining room chair (which has become your office). So, what’s a pandemic survivor to do? The answer is simple. Move more. Sit less. Tune in to your body’s warning messages as it will tell you when you need to get moving. Below are some tips and tricks from Rachel Aure to sneak activity into your day.
- Practice the 30:30 rule: Every 30 minutes, take 30 seconds to change your position. Try standing instead of sitting. Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair. If possible, even change your work environment by taking your laptop to another room. Set a timer so time doesn’t get away from you.
- Drink more water: Not only is water good for you on its own, but you will have to get up more often to refill your glass or water bottle.
- Move while you microwave: If you heat your meal or snack, spend your waiting time moving, march in place, do countertop push-ups, or practice yoga.
- Take an active lunch break: Plan and prep your healthy lunch the day before to save time. Balance your lunch break with activity. Find a yoga video. Download a workout app. Take the dog for a walk.
- Sit to stand and repeat: Move from sitting to standing and repeat 5-10 times, this will get your blood flowing and your heart pumping.
- Move while you’re talking or listening: Listening to a webinar? Participating in a team meeting? Stand up and stretch, walk it out on a treadmill, or even pace around your workspace to get your blood flowing.
- Check your posture: Start work – then stop and notice how you’re sitting. Hunched forward, neck sticking out, shoulders scrunched up? You may just need to relax or slightly adjust your workstation. Do these posture checks throughout the day.
- Get outside: Have a few minutes before your next meeting? Need to take a 15-minute break? Step outside. Take a walk around the block or just even around the perimeter of your house. Fresh air can help clear your mind and allow for a more productive workday.
- Dance, dance, dance: Put on your favorite music and dance. Better yet, partake in your child’s next TikTok video.
You’ll be surprised how five minutes, five times a day can make a difference in your wellbeing. Keep it simple. Keep it fun. I challenge you to try it for a week and see if it makes a difference. It should result in a more relaxed body and enhanced overall mood. The only downfall? Your pet may need to find another conversational outlet.