Monday blues, alarm clock snooze…!
Why Be Blue? This sounds like a tune that too many of us will find to be all too familiar. Time and time again we drag our bodies into the routine that is daily work without reflecting on the fact that the practices that we engage in throughout the day maybe the causative factors for our working woes. How we sit at work can have profound effects on our day to day stress and mental health.
Recent studies have found that extended periods of sitting have now been fundamentally linked to degradation in mental health. Cardiovascular issues such as heart attacks, heart disease and the risk of hypertension are also suggested to be increased with prolonged sitting. Sitting for extended periods of time may even lead to a reduction in life expectancy.
Regularly, patients mention that they counter-act their sedentary lifestyle through morning or evening jogs or exercise sessions however, evidence is pointing towards a distinct difference between sitting and exercise. This might mean that while we are aware that exercise is vitally important to maintain a lifestyle of health, we need to stop sitting for extended periods of time. (Br J Sports Med February 18, 2014, Psychology Today March 20, 2014, American Journal of Preventive Medicine September 2013)
Slouching and Slumping
Something as easy to overlook as degraded posture at your workstation – slouching at the desk or craning your neck over your social media vices on your smartphone screen can have serious negative health effects. Poor posture can lead to reduced circulation, issues with digestion, depleted energy levels, and increased stress. These affects on ones day to day comfort level can also lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Over time – poor posture can even result in spinal deformities through repeated weakening and stress on muscles and ligaments that weren’t meant to take the strain. (Ann Behav Med. April 2012, Mental Health and Physical Activity June 2013 )
Missing that Breeze?
As the work crunch increases and we find ourselves spending more and more time indoors glued to our (in some cases – multiple) screens, we lose out on one of the most critical elements for a healthy body and mind: fresh air and sunlight. Not getting enough fresh air can lead to low energy and feelings of mental and physical sluggishness. It’s well known that our body needs oxygen to fuel our cells, that includes those mental fibres working hard in our brains. Missing out on sunlight leads to a lack of vitamin D, which over extended periods of time can increases our risk of developing osteoporosis and may be connected to risk factors for multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease. (Psy Journal May 30, 2015, Ther Clin Risk Manag. August, 2008)
Why Be Blue – What can we do to make a change today?
Nothing changes without effort, depending on how willing you are – will affect the results.
Take a break! For every 30 minutes of sitting, spend at least one minute standing up. Every time you head to the washroom, take an extra minute to re-engage your muscles with a stretch.
Considering a coffee to get those eyes open in the morning? Why not really invigorate your body and mind, put down the coffee and go for 15-20 Star-jumps instead, the re-oxygenation kick will have your body ready to go faster than your can say double – skim – decaffeinated – soy – latte…
Need to get to another office or another floor? Take the stairs instead of the elevator, not only will you be promoting a healthy lifestyle for yourself – you might even encourage your colleagues to follow you!
Sick of sitting in-front of that screen? a hot desk or even a standing desk will change that environment and really help you to realise how much superfluous time is spent in front of that monitor.
Need to talk to a colleague? why not go for a walking meeting rather than sitting down in their office, significant benefits and better outcomes can be achieved simply by removing yourself from the office environment.
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