Sitting all day at work can be deadening – literally. Sitting for long periods on a daily basis is linked to a cluster of health problems including overweight, increased risk of heart disease, and elevated blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. What’s more, the lack of movement can drain your energy and leave you susceptible to routine stressors.
Here are three tips for staying energized and stress-free at work:
1. Stand and/or walk whenever you can. Stand while talking on the phone. Schedule a walking meeting with colleagues. Notice how much more enlivened and creative you feel.
2. Take a 5-minute mindful breathing break. Close your eyes, sit tall, rest hands in your lap, and bring your awareness to the inflow and outflow of air at your nostrils. Breathe out for one count longer than you breathe in. For example, if you breathe in for a count of 3, breathe out for a count of 4. This breathing technique activates the parasympathetic nervous system and can calm you.
3. Practice yoga. Yes, in your work clothes at your desk! Here are 5 of my favorite chair poses:
Sit on a chair with the spine long and both feet planted flat on the floor. As you inhale, look up, arch your back and slide shoulder blades down your back for cow. On the exhale, take your gaze to your belly and round your back for cat. Continue moving between cow and cat for 5-10 breaths.
b. Forward fold
Sweep your arms overhead as you inhale. Allow your shoulder blades to slide down your back as you reach upwards with your fingertips. On the exhale, come into a forward bend over the legs.
Let your head hang heavy. On an inhalation, raise the arms back up over the head. Repeat several times, moving with the breath.
Sit sideways on the chair, facing to the left. Lengthen and twist your torso toward the left, holding onto the back of the chair. Lengthen your spine on each inhale and twist on each exhale for five breaths. Move your legs around to the right side of the chair and repeat the twist on the right side.
Cross your right thigh over your left thigh. If you can, wrap the right foot all the way around the left calf. Cross your right arm under the left arm at the elbow. Lift the elbows to shoulder height while dropping the shoulders away from the ears and bring your palms to touch. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Bring your right ankle to rest on your left knee, keeping your right knee and ankle in line as much as possible. Hold three to five breaths. Fold forward to intensify the stretch. Repeat with the left leg up.
Commit to these tips for one week. I promise you will notice a difference in your energy and the amount of stress you feel.
Be well and Namaste!
This article is for informational and educational purposes only and does not substitute for medical advice. Consult with your personal health care provider before beginning an exercise or nutritional program.