29 May Keeping on the move during your working day
Working from home is something many of us have got used to during this pandemic and it looks as if some employers may wish to continue this arrangement even after the lockdown is eased and businesses get back to some kind of normality.
Even if you have your work space set up and matters such as working hours have been agreed, you need to think about what your work routine will look like and consider new habits to form.
One thing you must factor into your day are breaks, exercise and keeping hydrated.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to factor breaks into your day. You need to walk away from your desk for both physical and mental wellbeing.
There are two things you can factor into your day to ensure you keep on the move and that is taking complete breaks away from your work and simple stretches you can do at the computer.
There are varying opinions on how often you should get up and walk around, some say every 20 minutes, 30 minutes, every hour. Do what works for you but make sure you form a habit of doing it.
I think it is easier working at home for you to forget about taking breaks. In the workplace, there is probably some sort of structure to your day when you would naturally feel like taking a break and perhaps make a drink in the kitchen or get some water from the water cooler and spend a short while away from your desk.
At home make sure you still take a break even if it is only 10 minutes or so in the mornings and the afternoons but then a proper break at lunchtime. You need to spend time away from your work to switch off, give your brain a rest and have some food and a drink. Have a walk around the house or if you have a garden go for a walk around the garden. Get moving and some downtime.
It is also important to take some time to just be quiet so if you can also form a habit every day to find somewhere to sit for a while and close your eyes and relax you’ll be surprised at how better you feel and often it gives your brain time to reflect and process thoughts leading to clarity as to what you need to do next when you get back to your work.
Another way of incorporating movement into your day is to do some simple stretches at your computer. It doesn’t have to take long but an idea is to set a timer to activate at certain intervals when you stop what you are doing and do some simple stretches just for a few minutes. So, for example, these could be some simple neck stretches, shoulder rolls, wrist rotations, stretching your arms and your legs, moving your feet, nothing too strenuous!
I wish I could take credit for this saying, but I heard on a massage course I was attending that ‘motion is lotion’ and how true that is. We are made to keep on the move and if you do keep moving even if it is just small movements you keep your muscles and joints lubricated.
Again, make it a habit, so write some stretches on notes to keep by your computer. Stretches and exercise help to get the blood circulating more efficiently, it’s getting you moving your limbs and if you combine it with some deep breathing it’s getting fresh air into your lungs.
And don’t forget to drink some water during the day. I am the world’s worst for drinking too much tea in the day and it is so easy to forget about having water too. Keeping hydrated is really important as it will help with brain function, you are less likely to feel fatigued or to get headaches and will help you to feel full so you don’t start picking at less healthy sugary foods!
Get into a routine and make these breaks and stretches a regular part of your working day:
- Take proper breaks during the day and walk away from your workstation to have a walk, do some exercise, meditation, whatever works for you.
- Regular stretching at your computer to keep your body on the move
- Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated
For some simple stretches to do at your computer please see our blog: