We all want to be healthy and happy. But while we take care of our health and wellness at home, we can’t neglect those hours spend at work.
In this article, I’ll share a few of my favorite “quick and easy” ways to take care of yourself on the job.
I’ve also included one new tab Chrome extension for wellness and inspiration. It’s so simple and you’ll be amazed what a difference it makes!
Ditch the coffee
Many people equate drinking coffee with getting stuff done, but how true is this?
A daily cup of coffee is no problem, but relying on it to get your work buzz going is not a good idea.
I’m sure most of us have experienced this. The jitters, energy peaks and crashes, increasing tolerance, headaches when we don’t get our “fix” – sounds familiar?
Not to mention that while black coffee has its health benefits, most people take theirs with milk, sugar, hazelnut syrup or whatever else.
Why not try a healthy, caffeine-free alternative when you need a pick-me-up?
- Yerba mate: This beloved South American drink offers a clean energy boost, and it’s loaded with vital nutrients. The taste is similar to a strong green tea.
- Cacao: (I’m not talking about Hershey’s.) Real cacao, whether brewed or in a chocolate bar that’s at least 80% cacao, is will open your heart and get your mind running at the same time. It’s also full of iron, calcium and antioxidants.
- Maca: Mix a few tablespoons of maca powder, a Peruvian superfood with a nutty flavor and amazing effects on your body, into hot water or almond milk, and sweeten to taste. It will give you a gentle energy boost that lasts for longer than coffee.
- Peppermint tea: Sipping a cup – or smelling some peppermint essential oil – is a great way to dispel sleepiness and sharpen your attention.
Put care on your plate
While you’re watching what you drink, take a look at what you eat too.
Whatever we put in our bodies directly affects our minds, not to mention our energy and long-term health.
It’s tempting to eat our feeling at work. Stress might make you want to reach for salty snacks or a sugary treat, but that’s just going to make it harder for you to be at your best.
Put some extra care into what you eat during the day. Some basic guidelines are simple and common sense.
- Eat more: Fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and legumes. Food should be prepared as soon before eating as possible. Drink plenty of water and herbal tea.
- Avoid: Processed and packaged foods, fried food, meat, white flour, sugar, excessive salt, artificial flavors or colors, leftovers (especially from more than 24 hours).
A healthy diet will make you feel light, energetic, and clear-headed throughout the day.
How you eat is just as important as what you eat.
No matter how much pressure you feel, take the time to eat properly. Sit away from your desk to eat. Give attention to your food, eating slowly and chewing fully.
Make your lunchtime (or snack break) a time to settle down, rest and take care of yourself.
If possible, I recommend preparing your own lunch instead of buying out. More than saving a few bucks, this allows you to connect with your food. I can promise you’ll enjoy it more and feel more nourished by it.
You might think you don’t have time to prepare food and eat mindfully like this. But when you take the time, you’ll find that you’re so much more relaxed and focused afterwards, you can get much more done with less effort.
Take mindful breaks
Instead of spending your breaks on Facebook, use the time to recharge your body and mind. With some care, even five minutes can turn your day around.
Meditation has incredible, proven benefits. Turning inwards is extremely restful for the mind (and soul). It reduces stress while increasing focus, creativity and more. There’s a reason many companies are bringing it into their workplaces!
Probably the most common excuse people give for not meditating is that they don’t have time.
There’s a Zen saying: if you don’t have time for half an hour of meditation every day, meditate for one hour every day instead.
The more you meditate, the more energy and concentration you’ll have to accomplish everything. Plus, after a while you’ll need less sleep. It’s actually adding time to your day!
That said, many of the benefits of meditation are attainable even by practicing in short sessions.
Try replacing your coffee break with meditation. You don’t have to sit in perfect lotus pose. Just close your eyes and become aware of your breath. When your mind wanders, bring it back without judgment or frustration.
If you’re having a hard day, try loving-kindness meditation. From your heart, send love, peace and joy to everyone around you – including yourself! You can visualize light coming out of your chest and washing over the other people.
A great mindfulness practice, and one that no-one can say they’re too busy for, is to set a mindfulness bell.
This is a bell, chime, or some sound that reminds you to come back to yourself. There are tons of apps for this, for both phones and computers. Set it to go off every half hour or however often you like.
Whenever you hear it, close your eyes and breathe into your heart. Feel your own presence, your center, your awareness. It only has to take ten seconds.
Practicing this consistently can make an incredible difference in your work – and your entire life! For more ideas about meditation and yoga in an office environment, check out this article.
Get some green
Humans evolved looking at green stuff. Leaves and grass featured pretty big in our ancestors’ lives.
So it’s no surprise that our minds work better when we’re in our “natural environment.”
The good news is, just looking at images of nature is enough to boost focus, morale and efficiency.
One recent study found that seeing pictures of greenery for less than one minute can have these benefits and reduce workplace stress!
Even better is to have your own plant on your desk. It’s always there to improve your mood, and taking care of it makes for a pleasant, natural break from your tasks.
Plus, they clean the air.
Some easy office plants that anyone can keep thriving:
- Spider plants
- African violets
- Lemon balm
- Air plants
- Cactuses and succulents
- Peace lily
Download Limestone new tab chrome extension
Limestone, a clever new tab dashboard app, is one of my favorite tricks for instant motivation.
With this app, whenever you open a new tab, you get a beautifully personalized dashboard complete with a gorgeous background image, inspiring quotes, your to-do list, top links and several other useful tools.
You can use it to search on the major search engines and set it to send you Gmail notifications.
It takes less than a minute to download, and it can really boost your mood while working on any project.